November 2, 2010

Escape from the hospital

I busted out of the hospital about 7:30 last night which is a good thing for me and the hospital staff.  I must say that my general impression of the nurse care during the four days dealing with this nasty infection was no where near as favorable as it has been with my cancer care nurses.  I do not know if these folks are just plain less competent or the cancer care nurse are a significant cut above the norm.  But, I promised to report my experiences as I see them throughout this cancer ordeal; the good, the bad, and the ugly.  Do not get me wrong, though.  I DID have some nurses who were terrific but many more who I judge as barely at or below being totally competent.  My judgement measure is simple - would I trust my life in their hands?  Too many made me want to stealth into my clothes and walk out like a visitor returning home.

An example; I saw the tube that comes from antibiotic and hydration drip bags and feeds into my chest catheter tube dropped by two different nurse and hit the floor!  Holy crap!  One nurse wiped the tip off with alcohol as I watched in horror, too weak to stop her in time, as she plugged that thing back into ME. The other at least had enough sense to disconnect every tube in the system and hook up new tubing.  Of course, he soured the show of brains by just tossing the disconnected tubing over on the counter next to the sink in my room never to return and put that contaminated death weapon into the proper disposal container.  You stick a contaminated tube into a patient and you are as guilt of attempted murder as pulling a trigger pointed at their heart.  No knowledgeable person would disagree with that. Period.

And, oh good grief, the hospital chow was absolutely the worst tasting crud I have ever had to choke down.  I cannot think of a single day in two tours in Vietnam or any DXpedition I have ever been on where I ate more disgusting chow.  And I am including the days I ate MRE's out of a bag!  No surprise, I lost five valuable pounds during this unpleasant hospital stay.

Yes, indeed, I am glad to out of that place.  Because of my uneasiness and the constant laughing and chatter coming from the Nurses Station just outside my door, I rarely slept for more than 1 1/2 to 2 hours.  Last night I slept for 12 hours straight once getting home to a place that felt safe without my life in danger and that provided quiet surroundings. 

So, here is where we are:
  • Six days of IV fed antibiotics here at home
  • A new infection watch is on to make sure the treatment for the first infection has not created a new problem in my digestive system (does it ever end?)
  • Several days of extra special care of the feed tube entry point into my abdomen
  • Chemo Cycle Two canceled this week and moved to next Thursday to let me build back up some reserves I'll need to get through that session
  • Tomorrow I start weekly one hour meetings with a special social worker like professional at my Cancer center so that somebody is watching to see if my mental health is where it needs to be to make it down this long journey. I'd be lying if I did not admit that yesterday was the first day I actually questioned that...
  • Thirteen doctors have been involved in my treatment so there a Guinness Book of Records target I should go for?!