Thursday, January 18, 2018

Complications Anyone?

........and now he could recover..................or so we thought.
After surgery and in Recovery, George was for many hours fighting the breathing tube which is inserted to be in place during surgery. He was unable to explain what was going on (because the tube was in place), but it was not functioning properly and continued to fight his own efforts to breathe. Not knowing the machine was malfunctioning, they would not remove the tube until he could breathe on his own...........he couldn't breathe on his own because the machine was taking over...........a vicious circle and most unbearable circumstance for him to lie there enduring such a situation (and unable to speak about it). Finally, to his relief, it was over and the tube was removed after about 18 hours of torture.......not George's finest hour or most positive experience with intubation. He was moved to ICU that evening.
After a few days in ICU where he was monitored closely (not as close as Recovery but the care was pretty good) he was moved to the Step Down Unit. This unit was, like its name, a step down from ICU. It was here I began to have issues with 'patient care' and would find repeated opportunities to question the hospital and medical system; it seemed though that George was slowly moving upward and onward.
........and now he could recover..................or so we thought.  
By January 30th (while still in the Step Down Unit) he was in Atrial Fibrillation. Karli was visiting at the time and we were told by George's nurse we would not be able to accompany him to the Cardiac Unit. Based on this advice, Karli went home and I decided I was going to go with him anyway. Quickly taken to the Cardiac Unit he was sedated and given shock treatment in order that his heart rate would return to normal. He responded well, his heart returned to regular rhythm and as it turned out there was no problem with me being there with him; it was just the nurse deciding she was in charge of the world at the specific moment we asked the question..........frustrating and had I not decided to go in spite of being advised not to, George unnecessarily, would have been alone with no one to talk to or be with. Another hurdle over but now he could begin to make his recovery.
After a few days in the Step Down Unit (where the care  was questionable) he was moved to a private room (much more pleasant). During this entire time he was also contending with a catheter which it seemed he could not eliminate from his life (little did we know how long this would prevail). While in this private room George was not being monitored closely enough (ie: doctors wanted his blood pressure to be at certain levels); his doctor visited and found his blood pressure to be extremely high; this resulted in a move back to the Step Down Unit where it was thought he could be watched more closely (and should have been because nurse to patient ratio was 1 to 2)........but that was another fallacy we learned about. There were extended periods of time when all nurses were totally absent from the unit; patients left alone and when I enquired was told "Well, they must have gone to get something." It almost felt like a nightmare from which we could not waken.
Well..........we did wake and George was moved again to a private room where he had a male nurse who took very good care of him (probably some of the best care he had during his entire stay in hospital). Alas this also was not to last; by Feb 6th it was confirmed there was still leaking from an artery in his arm for which they would perform an angioplasty to the left subclavian artery, a routine procedure to stop the leak (or so we were told). This procedure was done in Radiology; George was awake during the process which he said seemed to be performed by perhaps students being given instruction. After much discussion about how best to get the job done they finally got it done. Upon removing the instrument used to perform the coiling, a device was deployed to close the puncture; the device instead closed the vessel entirely and he had no blood flow to his left arm. Very quickly he was experiencing extreme pain and was finally taken (once again) to OR to by-pass this screw up and return blood flow to his arm before he lost the use of this limb.
I assumed he would return to his private room following this hullabaloo so I left my belongings in the room when I accompanied him to surgery. When I returned to the room to get something I was shocked to find someone else already in the bed and all our things gone. I was informed he would be going back to step-down following his surgery and time in recovery. Oh my god the nightmare continued and back to the step-down he went.
But George persevered (he had no choice really) and after many bids to have him moved from this unit (unit which was curtained, light restricted and so not conducive to good patient care) we were finally advised he would not be moved from the unit until there was a replacement patient for the space he occupied; the hospital would not leave a critical care bed empty! As unbelievable as this sounds and the implications of that statement it is the TRUTH; a truth we had great difficulty with. Eventually there was a patient who needed the critical care bed and he was evicted (so to speak) to take up residence in a room which I feel certain they chose especially for him because we had questioned their motives, actions and policies was also less than pleasant; we had no choice but to make the best of it though.
........and now he could recover..................or so we thought........apologies for sounding like a broken record but there is no describing the hopeful times we thought he was on the way to recovery.                      this saga to be continued

No comments: