Sunday, March 20, 2011

A Stormy Sunday Morning in the ER

Well, this New Hospital is growing on me. Yes, Robert was in the ER again this morning with another laceration on the back of his head. (For someone who wears a very hard helmet, he sure bangs his head a lot).

Let’s recap the day although I’ll tell you the ending first so you don’t worry – Robert is fine. (There go my hopes for a career as a suspense novelist!).

It’s early Sunday morning, the dogs have already been let out for their morning potty break (thankfully, our little Pomeranian didn’t blow away in the storm), the cats have been fed and I snuggle back into bed wiggling between our black Lab and my sleeping husband.

My cell phone rings and caller ID says it’s the New House Manager with the Reassuring Voice. I’m pretty sure she’s not calling to confirm arrangements for Day Program which is starting tomorrow.

She sounds pretty alarmed as she explains that the Aide called to tell her Robert was changing into his clothes for the day and had a seizure, falling backward into his roommate’s wooden bedpost. Ouch! There was a lot of blood and 911 had already been called. She was on her way to the New Home and I tell her I would meet her at the New Hospital.

I pull my warmest sweater out of the hamper, throw on some leggings and boots and quickly brush my teeth. I kiss Hubby goodbye (who was out of bed and willing to go with me) then return to the bathroom to put on deodorant. Who knows how long I’ll be up at the hospital and I certainly don’t need to be talking to doctors while wondering if I smell.

It’s a thirty minute drive to the New Hospital on a quiet Sunday morning. This is thirty minutes of me questioning why I moved Robert into a home so far away, wondering if Robert will need stitches, hoping this latest incident doesn’t delay his start date at Day Program, wishing I could pull an “I Dream of Jeanne” and blink a mocha into my hand, and squeezing in a phone call with New House Manager for a status update. Thank goodness there isn’t any traffic or who knows what my brain would be whirring about.

I find the New Hospital, find it practically deserted and get buzzed into the back within about twenty seconds. Kinda liking this New Hospital! The door to the room Robert is in is closed so I knock and go right in (what? I’m supposed to wait?). Hey, Rob, how are you, hon? Robert lifts up his head to say hi and the nurse slowly turns to me and politely but firmly informs me that he is suturing Robert’s head and could I please step outside. He’ll come get me in a minute. Oops. Hope he wasn’t in mid-stitch or anything.

I sit down in the waiting room for a minute and the New House Manager frantically arrives with a stack of papers in her hand. I explain to her what I know so far and she insists she needs to give the doctor this stack of papers. Well, I was just told to sit for a minute and they’d be right out.

“No. You don’t understand. I have to get back there.”

Um, there’s nothing you can do right now. Robert is being taken care of and he seemed fine and I already interrupted the suturing once, so . . .

The nurse walked out then and I introduced him to the New House Manager who was still talking about the papers. I realized this must be one of the protocols they have to follow and since she is new and has been wonderful so far, I reassured her that everything would be okay. She said Robert needed to get a head x-ray so I asked the nurse if Robert needed a CT scan. He looked at me confused and said Robert hadn’t lost consciousness so no CT was needed. Fine by me. He took us to see Robert who was now bandaged up with gauze wrapped under his chin and over his head with another bulging bandage at the top of his head. Robert said he got six staples.

The doctor came in after only a few minutes and asked a few questions. New House Manager tried to give him her stack of papers. He asked New House Manager to put the papers away and just talk to him. I explained she was just following protocol and then I explained Robert’s history and we discussed the breakthrough seizures and his medications. He told us Robert didn’t need staples after all because the laceration was very clean so he was just bandaged back together. (Robert and his terrible self reporting!)

The doctor could discharge Robert now and asked us if we wanted a cup of coffee while he gets the paperwork together. I love this hospital! It’s been all of an hour, the nurse was calm, the doctor was personable and quick and I am going to get some caffeine. Life is pretty good.

New House Manager asked about the CT scan again. The doctor looked at both of us and assured her it was not needed and he was actually more concerned about unnecessary radiation if he went forward with the scan.

I could tell New House Manager really was in a bind – her supervisor was on the phone telling her it had to be done. The doctor is saying it’s not necessary and I agree with the doctor, not a supervising nurse who isn’t even present. Poor New House Manager says the supervisor will need a note explaining why the CT scan is not being done. The doctor and I have a conversation about the excessively litigious society we live in and I tell him I have Power of Attorney for Robert and since Robert seems fine and he is acting normal, the doctor can write a note saying the sister refused the CT scan. Everyone is off the hook. No one gets sued and the supervisor has something for her files. Can we go now?

New House Manager is relieved she has the note for her supervisor, Robert gets a lecture from me about wearing his helmet at ALL times (“Can I take it off when I sleep?” – Okay, fine, but only then!), and we leave the wonderful New Hospital.

We get Robert to his New Home, change his shirt since this one has blood on it, the Aide fixes him breakfast and gives him his meds. Robert and I play a game of cards, I remind him of the rule about his helmet and I tell him I’ll see him in the morning for Day Program. He is very excited about it.

Later this afternoon I was contacted by another supervisor who says her supervisor thinks Robert needs bedrails.

Huh? (How many supervisors do you people have?)

I explained that Robert had a seizure while he was standing in the middle of his room walking from the closet to his bed. Bedrails just gives him another thing to hit his head on.

I explain that I have talked with Robert and he understands he is to wear his helmet at all times – even when sitting. I said I understood that safety was their concern and I appreciated that but bedrails wouldn’t help with anything. Wearing a helmet is what will keep him safe.

She’ll check with her supervisor and get back to me.

Oh brother.

After a few hours, they reluctantly agree to no bedrails but think they’ll put a bell by his bed so he can ring it before he gets out of bed in the morning. Okay. Good luck with that. I suspect Robert will use the bell when he wants a glass of water or when his medication has not been delivered on time but I doubt he’ll use it before he gets out of bed. But, if that is the “plan” you want to put in your file, go ahead.

In the meantime, I’m going to keep reminding Robert to wear his helmet.

No comments: