Monday, August 23, 2010

One Victory, Many Failures

I had sent a note to the President of the hospital where my husband is in the ICU making ecological suggestions.

1) The water level in the public toilets is too high. You get your fingers wet with used toilet water when you wipe yourself.

2) My husband has diarrhea. This is considered a risk to other patients who are on antibiotics. Therefore all people who come into his room have to put on a yellow smock and then throw the smock away when they exit the room.  They also must wash hands when they exit.  (I note here that visiting doctors rarely wash their hands when they exit the room.)  My suggestion was that used yellow smocks could be hung on coat hooks and re-used when people re-enter the room. The smocks are a special weave designed to catch the spores of the bacterial cause of diarrhea. The idea is that the smocks will keep the person’s clothing from picking up the spores, and thus the spores will stay in the room.  I don’t see the need for a new smock every time a person leaves the room and returns.  I have to go out to use the toilet, to get ice for my husband, to find a nurse when he needs one.  Nurses go in and out hourly.  Dozens of smocks worn only for a few minutes fill the trash.

3) My husband likes to sleep in the dark.  He is off telemetry. When the telemetry monitor is in use, it is mostly black with a few numbers showing.  When it is not in use, it has a white picture filling the screen, brightly lit.  I suggested that the monitor be turned off when it is not in use.  I think this should be a hospital wide policy, but for a start, it can be off in my husband’s room.

4) Hospital meals should be nutritious.  The meals my husband has gotten are mostly sweet foods that have been sweetened with artificial sweetener. He has been offered noting whole grain. No fresh fruits or veggies. Just sweet starches, artificially sweetened jello, sherbet, black tea with his choice of real or fake sugar, and a fruit juice cocktail, with high fructose corn syrup.  

The official response is that the high water level in the toilets is sanitary.
They will look into whether the CDC will approve coat hangers for smocks
The monitor in my husband’s room may be turned off — YAY!
And somebody from nutrition will talk with my husband.  We had this same conversation a year ago when I was in the hospital after being hit by a car while biking.  They are willing to put together a tray without artificial sweetener – it just means you can’t have jello.

I tried to get my husband out of the ICU.  He’s no longer in imminent danger of dying.  They can’t find him a room.

I tried to get treatment for his swollen arms.  A woman did come by to check them. She said he could have compresses on his arms if a sonogram shows he doesn’t have blood clots.  I tried to get the sonogram folks to his room.  So far, none have arrived.

Today he was supposed to get his catheter removed so he can try to urinate on his own.  But, while he was told this by several doctors, nobody placed an official order in his file. So, it didn’t happen.  I tried to get somebody from urology to make it happen. So far, no luck.

I came home so I can get some sleep and fight again another day.  I want to bring him home!


  1. Keep on fighting. Eric is lucky that you are so informed and aware of the hospital's deficiencies. Most "visitors" have their focus in all of the wrong places. Few people think to question the sanitation, administration and procedures at such a "professional" institution. Go, girl!

  2. Terry, Thanks for the support. This is exhausting, both emotionally and physically.