Thursday, October 3, 2019

A Week in the Hospital and 10 Things I Learned

Hubby's gall bladder decided it didn't want to wait a few weeks to be removed so it threw a very painful fit, I rushed hubby back to the hospital, and he had to wait in the hospital for a few days for his blood thinners to wear off before it could be taken out.  I wouldn't wish a week in the hospital on anyone!  Here's some things I learned...

  1. Thank God I didn't go to medical school.  Sometime in my late 30s I had the bright idea to go back to college and become a doctor.  I took a few refresher courses in chemistry and biology (it had been a couple decades since my last college science classes) and immediately decided that being a doctor wasn't the best idea I ever had.  During the past week, watching medical providers day and night in the hospital, made me realize I don't have the patience and/or fortitude to be a doctor (but I greatly admire everyone who works in a hospital from the cleaning lady to the chief of surgery...they need an amazing skill set to work with people who are experiencing their worst days while providing the care and understanding tailored to each patient).
  2. Thank God for our great health insurance.  We would have been at $1 million+ in health care costs by now just for the past couple of years of hubby's hospitalizations/prescriptions/etc.  Everyone at this hospital was in the same boat (military so free medical coverage for everything from prescriptions to in-patient care to ER services, etc) which every American should get.  I am not a socialist, but socialized medicine is a necessary thing.  People shouldn't have to worry about money when it comes to saving their lives, they shouldn't have to worry about one minor health incident pushing them into bankruptcy, and really, it's hard to even think straight when you or someone you love is in gut-wrenching pain.  I hope our next president forces this issue until it becomes a reality.
  3. The best part about the hospital stay?  The blanket warmer (what an awesome invention!), the water/ice machine, and the snack area (there was a snack drawer and refrigerator full of food for patient's families which was really nice).  The staff was wonderful and the care hubby received was great.
  4. The worst part about the hospital stay?  You literally can't sleep in a hospital.  The patients are constantly woken up for blood pressure checks, doctor's rounds, changing IVs after the IV machine starts beeping like crazy, etc. and this goes on 24/7.  It's an awful place to rest.  Most nights, I went home, ate, cleaned up the house, and slept then headed back in the morning to stay with hubby for the day.  The evening he had surgery I decided to stay overnight with him in the hospital because he was pretty out of it and disoriented by the anesthesia so I didn't want him waking up alone.  It was a miserable night for both of us (me especially, I need eight solid hours of sleep a night or I am like a zombie!).
  5. There is probably no better deterrent to unhealthy living than overhearing patients as they describe their current health problems and their health histories (the "walls" in the ER are curtains as is the divider in each in-patient room).  The last place I want to end up is a hospital so I need to step up my exercise and healthy eating game!
  6. I was surprised at how many in-patients were there alone.  I would arrive each day at 6am and didn't leave hubby's side until he went to sleep for the night to act as an advocate/helper for him.  I helped hubby with getting him water/bathing/walking around after surgery, provided information to the doctors and nurses for him, remembered stuff the doctors told him that he would probably forget (it's hard to remember stuff when you are in abject pain!), and generally helped out any way I could which both insures accuracy between the patient and healthcare providers as well as helps out the staff who are always really busy.
  7. Always always always carry a list on your phone of your allergies, medical history, and current medications.  Hubby was asked for this information so many times and when people are in a medical crisis, the last thing they can remember is the dates of previous medical care and their accurate prescription information, especially if they are taking a dozen prescription medicines with weird names and different dosages.  I keep a list of this info for hubby on my phone and simply showed the list to everyone who asked or emailed it to them so everyone would have accurate information.
  8. Fortunately we don't have kids, pets, or jobs.  When someone is in a medical crisis, 100% of your attention goes to taking care of them but many people in this situation have the added burden of arranging emergency child care, finding someone to care for their pets if they will not be home for days, covering shifts at work, etc.  I guess this is a good reminder to everyone to have an emergency plan for kids/pets/work if you find yourself in a similar emergency situation.
  9. Due to hubby's previous medical incidents, I now keep a "go bag" on hand for both of us which has everything either one of us would need if we have to stay at the hospital for a few days (change of clothes, small toiletry kit, cell phone charger, snacks, etc).
  10. The doctor gave us a photo of hubby's gall bladder (a parting gift?) which was interesting.  I sent it to my friend who is a doctor and she said it looked horrible so I am just thankful the thing didn't rupture and cause even more problems.  I guess there is a bright side to even a bad situation!


  1. So glad his heart is good and the bad gallbladder is finally out. Here's wishing good health to both of you

  2. Well, I am glad he is okay. My ex would not get the surgery until the night he had me rush him to the hospital. He was begging the doctor to do it right then. You are right about being prepared with list of meds. But, imagine my surprise when they had the list all wrong. Being a veteran saved my mother's like more than a few times.

    1. Even the hospital that prescribed his medications sometimes has the wrong list which is baffling. That's why I always check and double check what the doctors are doing, just in case. p.s. I've never had a bad gall bladder but I heard that when people have a gall bladder attack they want it out NOW and not later because it is just that painful!

    2. My ex had been in terrific pain and refused surgery for six months. He lost 30 lbs because he could barely eat. So, I am not unsympathetic about the pain. He could have planned the surgery instead of going in the middle of the night.

  3. Sending good thoughts for his recovery, and that you both are able to rest up after your week!