My 95th trip to Bonehead Medical Center
edited: Tuesday, April 20, 2004
By Darlene M Caban
Rated "PG13" by the Author.
Posted: Wednesday, April 16, 2003
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In which I discover that the only way to get anything accomplished is to have a conniption and scare the nurses
In 1991, I suffered a major rejection of my transplanted kidney, and I was hospitalized for over a week. I lost a great deal of blood and there was some question as to whether I'd make it out of the hospital without a toe-tag on. But I am just too stubborn to die, and my condition gradually improved to the point where everything again started to aggravate me-- the first few days, I'd been in a uremic stupor and barely noticed what was going on around me. But when I regained awareness, I realized that I was going to have to take control of the situation before the aggravations piled up and became rage.
The biggest hassle was how my dialysis treatments were at odds with meal times: Lunch was delivered to my bedside a mere ten minutes before the surly nurse's aide came with a wheelchair to bring me down to dialysis. I was having to wolf down my lunch and hobble into the bathroom to brush my teeth before she came barging into my room loudly 'reminding' me that it was time for dialysis. Then, after my treatment, I was left to languish in another wheelchair while the charge nurse paged for a volunteer to bring me back to my room. By the time I got back to my bed, the dinner tray was already being taken away, and I hadn't even touched it yet!
After two days of this, I was hungry, cranky, and spoiling for a fight. It seemed that no matter how much I complained, no one had the authority to do anything about it.
The next dialysis day rolled around (I had three treatments a week), and on this day I took my sweet ol' time eating lunch, looking up every now and then to see if the Aide With An Attitude was there yet. I finished eating and pushed my IV pole into the bathroom. I'd just uncapped my toothpaste when in strolled the nurse's aide. She loudly announced that it was time to go to dialysis, and that's when I let her have it.
"I am really getting sick and tired of this! You've got to let me have more than ten goddamned minutes to eat lunch and get cleaned up!" I yelled at her, making sure that EVERYONE in the hallway could hear me. A nurse rushed into the room and wanted to know what the trouble was. I told her, and the nurse's aide disappeared down the hallway, never to be seen again. A volunteer was paged and he brought me down to dialysis. As usual, when I got back to my room the cafeteria worker was removing my tray, but I told her I'd just gotten out of dialysis and hadn't eaten yet, so she left it.
I wondered if my little temper-tantrum had accomplished anything-- I'd noticed that things got forgotten about a lot more often if your room was at the end of the hall, as mine was. Even when I pressed the call button, it took forever to get someone in my room, so it'd probably be back to the same old crap the next time I had to go to dialysis.
So I was pleasantly surprised when, on the next dialysis day, I got my lunch tray at 11:25! I asked my day nurse about it, and she said that when my doctor had heard about my dialysis-mealtime conflict, he'd told the cafeteria to send up my lunch a half-hour early so that I could have an unhurried meal. You can bet that he was thanked when I saw him at rounds the next morning!
I'm really convinced that if I hadn't yelled at that nurse's aide, I never would have been given enough time to eat and wash up before dialysis. Sometimes you really DO have to have a fit before your problems are considered worthy of a solution.