Saturday, August 21, 2010

Full Mama Bear Mode

“I hope you know that I appreciate your efforts.  The thing is that I need results. Please help me get my husband some food.  I’m in full mama bear mode.”

About 9 AM the docs took my husband’s nose to stomach tube off suction to see if goo would come out on its own.  It didn’t.

About 11 AM a doc removed my husband’s nose to stomach tube and said, “You can have food soon.”

About noon, I asked the nurse how to get food for my husband.  The nurse said “Food has not been authorized.” 

“How do I get it authorized?”

“Only the surgical team can do that?”

“How do I contact the surgical team?”

“Would you like me to contact them?”

“Yes! Please!”

About 1 PM, I asked the nurse, “Is food authorized yet?”


“Please contact the surgical team again.”

About 2 PM.  “Is food authorized yet?”


“Please contact the surgical team again.”

“They are in surgery.”

“When do they get out?”

“I don’t know.  Do you want me to call them?”

“Yes, please.”

About 2:10 PM: “They’ll have somebody here to talk with your husband in about an hour.”
“Will that person be authorized to authorize food?”

“I don’t know.”

About 3:30 PM.  “They’re not here. Would you please call again?”

About 4:30 PM.  “They’re not here. Would you please call again?”

About 5:30 PM.  “They’re not here. Would you please call again?”

My husband decided to go for a walk.  Actually, it’s a parade.  He’s the parade master. I push the pole with the drips. A nurse’s aide pushes the telemetry monitor. My husband decides which hallways we’ll traverse.  A leader and two floats.  This was his 3rd walk of the day. He’s getting faster. He walked about 1/3 of a mile.

When we got back about 6 PM, there was a representative from surgery in the nurse’s area, on the phone.  About 6:15, she talked to my husband, listened to his stomach and intestines, asked a few questions like, “Have you passed gas today?”   Hospitals are a weird culture where this kind of question is considered kindly and caring.  Finally she said she would authorize food.  She said it would arrive when other meals for this part of the hospital arrive.

I just about panicked.  That left far too much room for error.  The nurse volunteered that he could order the meal brought immediately. And it was.  Clear food only.  Soup broth, jello with artificial sweetener, black tea with optional lemon and sugar, fruit juice, sherbet.  My husband looked so adorable eating this food, except the jello.  He savored every mouthful.  He hasn’t eaten in a week.  In a way I hope he gets pickier as he gets used to eating again. I know that hospital food tastes like cardboard and cotton with a little sweetener added.  I like the way he appreciates home cooking. I love eating meals he cooks.  I hope he doesn’t decide that hospital food is his new favorite.

He can’t come home yet.  He’s still on drips and his bladder isn’t working yet – complications from surgery, and other medications he’s been taking.  But they think they can switch his medications to clear that up.  No estimates yet about when he can come home.  But maybe they can move him out of the ICU.  More work for mama bear.


  1. That hospital is outrageous on many levels. And even in ICU, where you would expect prompt action. Is this the same place that showed you someone else's x-ray?

    Glad he will be back at home soon. Hugs to you both.

  2. Yes, same place. According to the local papers, this is one of the two best hospitals in the city.
    I think the key here is to never get sick or hurt! Of course I don't know how to do that.