Wednesday, November 18, 2009

About the Hospital

It is good and helpful to know the locations and meanings of things. I know where the patient food and nutrition room is and that some of the nurses think it is okay for you to go into, but others don't. The clean sheets and pillowcases. The warmed blankets. The place to take the tray when meals are finished. I know them all.

I know where security is to get you into the parking garage after hours and how to (usually) find a wheelchair with a full oxygen tank. Where to find the snack cart in the middle of the night after the cafeteria is closed. What time the coffee place opens, and that it is a different time on Saturday (8:30) and different still on Sunday (9:00).

I know what a rapid response is.

I know the difference between the resident, the 3rd year resident, the intern, the fellow, the attending, and the medical student. I know that you are not supposed to call the medical student "doctor" especially when the 3rd year resident or the attending is around. It makes the medical student have to explain. I know the charge nurse and the stat nurse and what they do and what it means when they show up (something has gone wrong or is getting worse).

I know how to reach physical, occupational, and nutritional therapy. I know the direct phone number to the Medical D Team team room. And somewhere I have written down the number for the Medical A Team room, from some other time, before. I know the medicine doctors call the shots officially but that you have to suck up to the consulting specialities too. That it's your job to plant seeds, ask leading questions, sometimes be direct, and---above all---keep track of what is going on. Every test, every dimension of every problem, every theory or idea; and it is your job to interject, gently in a way that makes it seem puzzling, what you know about what happened the last time, because they do not know that, and they are not looking.

I know what time blood is drawn in the morning, and roughly how many days you have to be here before then send the "spiritual care" person even if you said you didn't want one when you were admitted (10 days). I know that it takes a minimum of 56 hours to get discharged from the first time the word is mentioned. Sometimes, often, longer.

Will is stable today; some better, no worse. He is getting IVIG in hopes that it will help his immune system fend off this and future infections. It's a non-specific treatment, meant to improve the overall vigor of his immune response. Later this week if all goes according to plan he'll have a portacath placed, and after that, we hope, come home and not have to come back here for a long time. Liam and Mollie are with my parents (thank you!) and I leave tonight for work east of the mountains. Back late tomorrow.

1 comment:

mekate said...

Oh sweetie pie, the shit you know.

Please universe, let the IVIG work magical wondrousness and let Will come home healthier and healing and let everyone sleep enough and eat enough and laugh enough and cry less, and breathe more deeply.
Please please please

You all deserve a break and I hope to heck you get one.

with love,