Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Another Day Older and Deeper In...

The doc said I couldn’t bring my husband home today I broke down crying.  Maybe tomorrow.  They did take out his catheter about 5:30 AM. But 8 hours later he couldn’t urinate. He couldn’t even feel full, and he had built up a liter of urine.  So they put the catheter back in.  We requested a consultation with urology.  By the time I left in the evening, nobody from urology had come by.


Then, a nurse came in to hook up a new IV line.  At first I thought his old one had worn out.  They seem to do that pretty often. His arms are scabbed worse than a drug addict’s showing where his old IV line have been.  But the nurse didn’t take out the old one.  She hooked up bags of electrolytes to both lines. One in each arm.  I asked if his electrolytes had become low? I know the take blood and check his electrolytes and kidney function at least once a day.  The nurse didn’t know. She was “just following orders.”


I convinced another nurse to look up his electrolytes numbers.  His calcium was a little low. All the others were within normal range.  The nurse told me that the hospital likes to have patient electrolytes at the high end of normal.  But why IV? He can eat. He can drink. He can take pills.


The nurse had a doctor come in and give my husband a scare-tactic speech about why drip is better than pills.  The speech had no substance. The gist of it was that the hospital has data on how quickly magnesium is taken up from a drip, and they don’t have data on how quickly it is taken up from pills.  And a nurse chimed in that some people get soft stools from magnesium.  So? He’s in the normal range. What’s the big deal if maybe the uptake from a pill is a bit slow?


And now, the hospital is no longer apologetic about causing his atrial fibrillation as they were waking up from surgery. Now they are saying he must have a tendency towards it, and he needs the magnesium. Which still doesn’t explain why a drip instead of a pill. And nobody has put a monitor on him for a few weeks to find out if he has a tendency towards afib. The docs are just trying to pretend that the afib was somehow my husband’s fault, and not a terrible side-effect of the drug they gave him.


Meanwhile, I got a letter from Patient Relations assuring me that Maintenance says the toilets with the water level so high that your fingers get wet when you wipe yourself are perfectly sanitary.  I asked the Patient Relations representative to go use one of the toilets in question herself and then decide how sanitary it is.  


Maybe tomorrow. Apparently “urinary retention” is common after abdominal surgery.  I just want him home!  He’s been gone so long that I’ve washed the sheets.  And I can’t get to sleep easily without his smells in the room. 

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