But it was close.
Back in the first days of April I was so ill that 911 was called and the paramedics came. I couldn’t stand. Could barely sit upright. They had to lift me out of bed and, of course, they promptly dropped me onto the floor. Thanks guys! No, no need to say sorry or even oops! And that 2 liter bottle top was at least one inch from my eye so I didn’t end up blind in one eye after all!
The day did not get better. I’m in a room in the emergency room. At this point I’ve been in there for sometime alone with an IV. I’m in considerable discomfort. No call button nearby. I can’t move. All I needed was for someone to adjust the bed or move me. I called out for a nurse. Eventually one storms in and yells at me for interrupting their meeting! Foolish me thinking a patient in agony was more important than a meeting, but apparently at ECMC the patient comes last.
Next we begin a game of musical rooms. First I’m taken to a floor where they explain to me that people who need to be monitored are placed. They were very nice and they gave me a hamburger. But that didn’t last long. I was shuffled off to another floor. I have no idea what this floor specializes in if anything but these people were really cool. I was in private rooms through this period which helped, you’ll read why shortly! One day on that floor I had 20 viles of blood drawn. At this point some veins were just giving up and I looked like a junkie.
Now I’m back on the monitoring floor. Still no one is really talking to me but the massive swelling of my lower body is decreasing some. So, I have some testing done while there. I’m now in a room with others and infusion pumps keep beeping sometimes all night!
Now one morning I’m sent off for some test and told I’m being moved again after the test to a new floor. I do the test. No problem. I then lay in a back room for 6 hours still unable to stand etc. Eventually someone brings me some graham crackers.
Now, I’m no longer in a private room. First roomie is paranoid and sees conspiracies everywhere. Next one seems a cool guy but only stays 2 days. Next one enjoys talking to himself and finally there’s the Alzheimer’s guy. Meanwhile the TV sound was virtually unlistenable for several days. One nurse on this floor stood out and was quite helpful. Most of the others were pleasant. 2 or 3 nurses or aides should go get jobs at McDonald’s. They were sullen, reluctant and unpleasant.
So by this time the physicians have deigned to speak to me. Cardiac problems. Major problems. Pre-surgery testing being done. Tests OK. Surgeon comes in and says surgery could help if I survived it which, he says, I probably would not. So, let’s schedule a defibrillator. Several days later physician comes in and says defibrillator is out because study says it may not work, so they’ll re-evaluate the need in 4 to 6 months. The idea seems to be that if I suffer a massive coronary and drop dead that will show that I should have the defibrillator but since I’d be dead I guess the matter is moot.
So in the end I get a bunch of prescriptions and a huge bill.
There’s tons of things I could complain about and document here but I’ll limit it to these two things.
First, untold numbers of days were spent just laying in bed watching TV and eating a horrible no fat, not salt menu of meals. (My body actually rebelled and I stopped eating for three days.) As an example, I was moved to the other side of the building, same floor. "Rehab" I received no rehab services. One of the nurses was a doll but I spent my last three day in the hospital watching TV.
Now before some of you say, "So what? I’d love to lay in bed watching TV!" I will tell you I was there for 34 days and a room bill (room cost alone) of over $22,000!
Then there’s physical therapy. First they hardly show up and then just to talk. Then one day this big goon of a PT shows up. He wants me to sit in a chair. I can sit in bed, I tell him I want to walk! I need to walk! So eventually I agree to sit in the chair for two hours. He said he’d be back then to get me out of the chair. That, I would discover was a lie. He went home 1 hour later. Physical therapy wouldn’t send anyone down to get me out of the chair, so after 4 and 1/2 hours some nurses strapped me onto a hydraulic lift and lifted me out of the chair and into bed. As I said, this guy willfully lied to me and then PT deserted me. I complained. Well, how dare I complain! I never shouted. I simply said I didn’t ever want that guy around again and violating someone’s trust in the hospital was unforgivable. But apparently at ECMC it’s unforgivable to complain about the irresponsible behaviours of its employees.
So they send over this lady who was a charmer but she was obsessed with the chair too, and so were the nurses. Only because I dared to refuse! So I agreed to 30 minutes in the chair and then walk! She complied. I took like three or four steps and was back in bed. This went on till the end at over $80 for each of these 5 minutes sessions.
To put this in context. At the next place which I’ll do a separate post on, the morning after I arrived I was given a wheelchair and a walker and I walked perhaps 20 feet!