And one that I would care not to repeat, if possible. Not the BaldMan being in hospital as such. Been there, done that a few (too many) times. But the whole time he was in the ED was like being in a mini-hellhole.
We got there on Saturday, and, as is usual in most EDs these days, I could not go in with him and couldn’t see him until they got him in a treatment room. So I was stuck in the outer lobby with all the other people waiting for someone who was there to be seen by the docs. Eventually, they let me in (probably 3 hours later or so). He was in a curtained corner of the hall, with what amounted to a gurney for a bed. No chair for me. Every time someone came in, I was pretty much in the way. I didn’t stay long. There wasn’t much point. Came back Sunday, and he moved to what was not much more that a glorified closet. There was barely enough room to turn around. Bonus though- they found me a folding chair! He seemed a lot better, no fever anymore, but still getting antibiotics. Not much communication from doctors. Just a bunch of different specialists who came in, asked a bunch of questions, and left. They moved him to more of a treatment room eventually, but the room was *DIRTY*! Band-aid wrappers on the floor, and some unknown drips of something on one wall. They did finally get someone in to clean it. He was ready to sign himself out AMA, but decided to stay one more night. They did get him more of a regular stretcher to sleep on but it wasn’t a big improvement. His back was hurting a lot from discomfort. Talking to the ED doc on Monday was pretty much useless. She just kept saying he should stay until the “treatment plan” was done, but wouldn’t actually say what that was. And we were confused because, going by past experience, he should have gone home once the infection was knocked back, and, again, from past experience, that’s where he seemed to be. But they kept saying he should stay.
Finally, on Monday, they got him into a room on a regular ward. Where the doctors talked TO you rather than AT you. And that’s when we found out that the chemo had essentially completely trashed his white cell count and they wanted him to stay until the drugs they were giving him to increase white cell production got him up to a more normal level. The concern being that if he went home too soon, he’d be too susceptible to reinfection with this or something else, and have to come right back in. So, okay, I get it now that someone bothered to explain what was going on. They also gave him a target number for the neutrophils, which were the white cells they were watching. So, some real information, finally. And they kept him on the antibiotics also to make sure he stayed infection-free until things were more normal. His numbers went up every day, and he came home on Friday.
I do understand that the ED is a completely different environment than a regular ward, and the nurses are more busy with more patients, but even so, there is no excuse for any medical facility, however busy, to put any patient, let alone an immune-compromised patient, in a dirty room. And the doctors could have spent a couple minutes explaining the treatments rather than brushing it off or talking around it. They also seemed unconcerned about the pain he was having from sleeping on stretchers. As soon as he said “No, I don’t have this kind of pain at home. It’s just since I have had to sleep on these torture devices,” they shrugged it off as if it was of no concern. Never will I ever go back to that ED unless it is truly life and death. And even then, I might think about it. They are building a new treatment center at the hospital and the ED is moving there when it’s done. Maybe it will be better.
Anyway, he came home on Friday. He’s fine, just tired, but that we expected from the chemo. He will be on house arrest until it’s over now (June!). And we are back to COVID protocols here: lots of extra handwashing, cleaning, disinfecting. And anyone who comes in to the house will have to wear a mask. The BaldMan will be going nowhere that he doesn’t have to. It sucks, but we do not want a repeat of last week!
Looking forward to a better, less stressful week to come.
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4 thoughts on “Well, That Was An Experience”
That sucks. Based on my limited E/R experience, this does seem to have been a sub-par one.
We have (unfortunately) been in a number of EDs over the years. The BaldMan has been prone to cellulitis infections in his legs. This was the worst.
The hospital environment/experience has changed so much since I first came into practice some 40+ years ago. You need an advocate with you these days. Glad that he is home!
He’s quite happy to be home, as well!
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