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Tuesday, February 16, 2016

More Medical Musings--or at least, What I Remember!

Jim's solution to my repetitive questioning
Saturday afternoon and evening I experienced several hours of disorientation, confusion, and memory loss. Jim brought me to St Joseph Medical Center where I was evaluated in the emergency room and then admitted to the hospital.  I remember almost none of this.  For him, a sign of crisis was when I asked why there was candy on the kitchen counter--and I had helped him buy it for me at CVS for Valentine's Day a few hours earlier.

It's now Tuesday morning and I am home--and have voluntarily given up driving until I see my family doctor on Thursday.  I couldn't find anyone to give me a ride to Bible Study at church.  I am used to my freedom to come and go but for today, this is OK.

I am quite fine except a little weepy this morning. My granola supply was low so I thought I would make more. When I pulled out one of the many ingredients, I had a thought that maybe this seemed familiar.  Sure enough.  There were two trays of granola in the oven where they had been sitting since Saturday.  Now I am remembering that I may have asked Jim if he turned the oven off as we were on our way to the hospital. I wonder if bits of memory will return in that fashion.
The view from the 6th floor

I do not have a diagnosis.  I do know that all tests given to me--CAT scan, MRI, ultrasounds, blood work, occupational and physical therapy checks--came back negative.  I am immensely grateful for that.  I can't see the neurologist until March 2.  That's my own fault because I could have seen him in the hospital last evening but I was so eager to celebrate Jim's 70th birthday at home.

After the first day in the hospital, I felt fine but had no desire to blog.  Today I do--and that is probably a good sign.  But what I want to remember most are the many kind and interesting people who took care of me.

Jemima- the RN the first night. She was very pleasant but my memory of her is still vague. I know she looked far too young to have children almost the age of mine.  I know she was going to church before she slept and I felt sad when she left.  Shift changes can be difficult in a hospital when you get used to those who have cared for you for 12 hours.

The phlebotomist in the middle of the night--12:15 am.  He  kept saying "I'm sorry" every time he had to poke me.  He was the only staff person to take a piece of my Whitman Sampler when offered.  (Others didn't like dark chocolate or had given up candy for Lent or the time was too early in the day.)  He had immigrated from Ghana 1 1/2 years ago to Berrien Springs. I'd like to have heard more of his story.

Lou--Sunday's RN.  There was an African lilt to her voice; she was very spiritual and very kind.  She talked to me about how God cares for the sparrow and the lilies of the field when I was concerned while waiting for the results of the MRI.  When the results were very delayed, she pursued tracking them down and let me know they were negative.  Besides all that, when she complimented me on the color of my hair, she asked if people told me that all the time!  When I thanked her for being so wonderful, she produced a brochure in which I could nominate her for an award!  Good for her.

Dave--Sunday's PCP.  She asked if she could call me "Miss Mary" which as always rang familiar because that is what my African-American GED students often called me--not at my request.  However, Dave was 70 years old so later I said if I were Miss Mary, she needed to be Miss Dave.  I'm not sure how she reacted to that!  She was probably a bit more abrupt and told me to relax and try to lower my blood pressure.  Easier said than done!  I learned later that she had worked at SJMC for 50 years--and still was working 12 hour shifts.  She said she loved it and wouldn't want to retire.

Johnathan--the transporter to the MRI.  He was a young white man, father of four very little children, whose wife was in nursing school and who was taking online courses to get his own college degree.  He worked part-time and just eight hour shifts--always walking with wheel chairs.  He said he could never last 12 hour shifts.  I refrained from telling him about 70 year old Miss Dave!

Karen--Monday's RN--one of the few white staff who cared for me.  When we were not hearing from the neurologist, she persistantly tracked him down and arranged for an appointment with him instead of my waiting to see him in the hospital and thus having to spend another night.  She was quite forthright about my need to communicate with him and to press him if I didn't understand what he was telling me.  I am fore-warned and will be ready.  She wanted my recipe for the sherry cake I said I was making for Jim's birthday party--now postponed.  I would have enjoyed talking more with her about her work and almost adult children.

Dr. Amusin--the hospitalist who saw me both Sunday and Monday  She was a very attractive young woman who also spoke with a lilting African accent.  Someone told me she was just back from maternity leave, and when I mentioned that to her, she looked down at her belly and pulled her coat tighter.  I laughed and said I had not looked at her mid-section; she was the one who did!  She was very good about asking if I had questions and more questions but also firm about following protocal in releasing me.  I told her about Laura's blog and writing--she definitely would have been the target audience.

Logan--the PCP both nights I was there.  She was a light-skinned African American with a very natural attractivenss who would try to sneak in and out of the room to check on me.  I heard her some of the time, but once a lovely glass of ice water appeared as if by magic.   She asked me to do a survey on patient care for her and I was happy to do it.  When she turned me over to the Mimi, the day PCP, they read the chart in my presence.  What a good thing to do--to incorporate me into my own care and story.  She said I was "sweet" and at that point, I said I was not feeling so sweet any more--but feisty!

Mimi--the PCP on Monday.  She also was African-American and very lively.  She called me Honey Bun but I think she called Jim that too!  She was happy to take a piece of Jim's ice cream cake brought by friends from church.

Karen Francis--a chaplain on duty Sunday evening.  We know Karen well from church so she couldn't record or count her visits with us.  But we can count them and they were lovely.  She deals with a chronic condition herself and for a few years, I had made meals for her and her husband.  How wonderful for her to be able to give to us at this point.

There were so many others--food providers, OT and PT evalutators, MRI, CAT, and Echogram technicians--but those were  briefer encounters.  Everyone really seemed to make patient service a priority.  There was naturally enough, plenty of stress in this experience, but I will treausre the interactions with so many good, hard-working people and that's why I wanted to record them.

1 comment:

  1. I really enjoyed this post because 1. You are back home & tests found no issues. 2. I think your interest in the people who took care of you was very reflective of who you are. You are an example to all of us to live out our faith each day in our interactions with others.