Tag Archive | healthcare

Why not just move on?

I have heard people speak those words regarding people who have had something devastating occur in their lives, wondering why those people seem to linger in their misery long after the initial event has passed.  Sometimes it seems people just can’t seem to get past a particularly bad event in their lives. Maybe they stay in grief mode years after a death of a loved one. Maybe they have post traumatic stress for months or years after being mugged. And those around them, whether its people who love them or people who just like to pass judgment on others, can’t help but wonder why the person just can’t seem to pick up life where they left off? Just brush it off and MOVE ON already!

Well, as someone who suffers daily with chronic pain and anxiety related to a botched surgery that occurred in November 2005, let me just say that it’s not as simple as one may think.  I truly wish it was. But when every single waking moment is filled with pain from that incident, it’s really hard to just “get past it.” And the anxiety that I suffer with is also hard to just blow off…I suffer with anxiety and worry daily, regarding my declining health, my pain, my bleak future, not being able to do things I would like to do, not being able to make money to contribute to our family, incurring medical bills that keep us in debt, fear of future medical issues, feeling like a burden, and fear of the medical profession as a whole.  It’s hard to put trust back into the very group of people that caused your situation. It wasn’t just the surgical mistake the doctor made, it was me laying in ICU for days with infection burning thru my body, eating my insides like acid…with both nurses and doctors not picking up on it. It was that next year where 200 days of it were spent in hospitals, enduring 15 further “repair” surgeries, open wounds, flesh eating virus, pneumonia, blood clots,  wound vacs, poorly fitted ostomies, skin infections, central line infections, blood infections…caused by poor medical care in some instances. Nurses who didn’t wash their hands properly for instance. There was one instance I can prove this, I was of course very ill, laying in a hospital bed, a CNA was caring for me, cleaning me up for the day, and during the bedbath she had to wash around my central line in my chest, so she would touch it and move it aside during the bath. She was young and very sweet and I liked her, she was one of the few who actually talked to me and treated as a human being in the bed rather than some practice dummy. She and I were conversing, mostly her since I wasn’t feeling real chatty, but she used some little hand sanitizer she pulled from her pocket before she left and I said it smelled good, she said she got it at Bath and Bodyworks and she had many, so she handed the little container of sanitizer to me saying I could keep it. I said thank you of course, and she sat it on the bedside table and left. The lighting in the room was dim, but later I turned on the over-bed light and picked up the sanitizer…it was then I noted the little bottle was smeared with fecal matter. Yes…POOP. So, obviously at some point the girl got poo on it but didn’t realize it and was then squeezing it onto her hands to “sanitize” her hands, but was really contaminating her hands in the process…

So, that long story was really just to show that when we are helpless in a hospital or nursing home setting, we are depending upon the medical professionals caring for us to follow Universal Precautions to help keep the rate of infection down. But sometimes they do not. Sometimes they don’t wash their hands, or don’t do it properly. Sometimes they think, “I was wearing gloves when I cleaned up that poop, I don’t have to wash too” and move on to the next person.  But maybe the glove had a tear or small hole. Maybe some of the matter got on her wrist or her shirt or her stethoscope (another potential portal of infection), they maybe washing a dirty area then wash a clean area, or touch your IV caps or your foley cath tubing when emptying your bag…there are so many ways for infection to spread. They don’t mean to. They are just trying to do their jobs…which are extremely stressful, with the corporation rules, the constant short-staffing and heavy patient loads, the management breathing down their necks to keep costs down but do more work…it’s no wonder there are so many staph infections and MRSA infections, among others that get spread throughout healthcare settings on a daily basis.

But, this entry really wasn’t supposed to be about infection control…so I apologize for the tangent. My point with that was that I ended up with so many hospital acquired infections during that horrid year, and witnessed so many medical mistakes…wrong meds they attempted to give me, watched them perform treatments or instill meds in ways that were not following proper protocol, leaving me to lay in a dirty bed for far too long, or just being unprofessional or even, I am sad to say, downright cruel in some instances…I had one aid strip me down and park me in a shower chair, tossed a rag in my lap and left me there under the cold running shower, while she went to do something else. At the time I couldn’t stand or walk, I had lines coming from everywhere, my intestines were open with my belly having a softball sized wound, covered in saran wrap and hooked to a wound vac…a foley cath to collect my urine, and was so weak, ill and drugged I could really barely speak or move. I sat there with my teeth chattering, naked and vulnerable, freezing water spraying on me, no call light in reach and unable to call out for help. Another aid came in and half way dried me off, threw me in a gown and rolled me back to bed.

Nurses who yelled at me for wetting the bed, or soaking it with perspiration during high fevers or the hot-flashes after the ovary removal. A doctor who was abrasive saying “This is the hand you were dealt, you gotta decide how to play it” when I was fighting for my life…and just trying to live from one minute to the next.

So, yea…I have anxiety issues when it comes to the medical profession. I must go to the doctor every month, the Coumadin nurses every month…and I live in fear of my intestines becoming blocked or twisted by adhesions and ending up back in the hospital, facing another surgery in a life or death situation. Or having to go due to bloodclots or heart problems. 

Every single day since that botched surgery has been filled with pain and anxiety. They can’t fix the physical or mental damage that was done. They can throw meds at the problems, but they can’t fix them. They believe and understand the physical pain I am in, like they said, “You can’t be cut and sewn and cut and sewn on one area of your body as many times as you have been and not have long-term consequences, the adhesions have become rubber band tourniquets around your bowels Tammy, you can no longer digest food properly and the nerve bundles have been sewn up into the tissue adding to the pain cycle, the ventral hernia which we cannot fix will continue to burn and cause pain, we are sorry that all we can try is to keep you comfortable and keep your nutrition supplemented” oh and there’s always the “We are so sorry you have had to live thru this unattended mishap.”

I wake up and the pain is there, I can’t sit up from a lying position without first rolling onto my side. I walk hunched over much of the time because standing strait sometimes makes the pain worse. I cannot cough, sneeze, laugh, yell or blow my nose without bending over and splinting my belly and God help me if a sneeze catches me off guard! Of course running or most exercise is out of the question. I can walk, but not for long, extended periods. I can dance, (badly)…but carefully and not for long, I can’t lift more than 10 lbs, can’t pull wet towels out of the washer, I can’t eat red meat, raw veggies or fruits, fiber, nuts or seeds or dairy, I can’t do much of what a normal healthy person can do…somedays I can’t leave my bed or couch due to the pain in my abdomen. When I do leave my house, I put on my “normal face”…I walk straight even if it hurts, I smile at people and chat with people, I get my groceries and put them in my car…I’m so good at my act people have no clue how I’m really feeling…but what they don’t see is me getting into my car and driving away sobbing…but  CAREFULLY sobbing, because I don’t want to cause more pain…getting home and waiting for the garage door to shut so I can walk all hunched over, crying, holding my belly, carrying in the groceries and putting them away…then laying in the fetal position, as still as I can, while waiting and praying the pain med will atleast take the edge off so I can take a breath without feeling like a knife has been plunged deep into my gut.

My life was completely altered by that botched surgery and the events caused by it. I usually say that I died that day in the operating room…because a part of me truly did. I’m not the same person anymore and never will be whole again. I feel I would’ve been better off for them to have cut off my leg, because atleast that would heal…my insides can’t heal and they can’t just be removed. The pain and scarring from that ordeal is permanent. The change in my psyche is permanent.

Sometimes things happen to us in life, where it’s just not so easy to move on and forget it. When the memory of it hits you in the face everytime you move or cough or take a deep breath…how do you just “get over it already?”

Just as when a loved one dies…who’s to say how long you should grieve? You will never just get over losing that person…your heart will always feel heavy at the thought of them being gone. Or your house burns down, taking everything you own…yes, you can get new stuff and a new house…but its still a trauma that you will carry with you, even if just the fear of fire.

I do what I can to lead a normal life. But it truly is controlled by my pain on most days, even if I can walk and smile my way thru the store or at church…its an act…its not me…because ME is balled up in pain, sobbing and begging God to get me thru the next sixty seconds.

I would honestly give an arm or a leg, if it meant the pain would be gone or even lessened by 50%…maybe then I could “move on” but really I don’t think one ever truly just moves on after a traumatic event in their lives, they just learn to shove it down and hide it from the world, because it’s just not tolerated otherwise.

 

What kind of hand were you dealt? If you have had a strait flush your whole life…be very grateful…and if your holding jokers like me most of the time…I feel your pain!

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Betrayal

betrayal poembetrayal

She rolled out of the bed, shutting off the alarm. Thoughts immediately flood her mind. So many things to do today. The most important one being interviewing a young woman to fill the live in nanny position. She has been looking for a responsible nanny since her previous “super nanny” Margo, had to move to the East coast to live with her son and his family. She had been with them for 14 years, and was fabulous with her 2 children, 14 year old Sophie and 12 year old Stephen. Margo kept the house in order, made an occassional meal and helped with the kids homework when she was running late at the office.

Being a doctor is a wonderful profession, and has wonderful perks…but the hours can certainly take over your life…it certainly took over her marriage. The divorce was two years ago, but the pain still feels fresh. It was true that becoming a doctor and creating a thriving practice took up alot of her time. She worked hard to get here. Being a physician was her goal since second grade, when she had her tonsils removed. She was fascinated with her doctor and all his instruments! The blood-pressure cuff (sphygmomanometer), stethoscope, laryngoscope, otoscope and even just a simple thermometer…it all held so much wonder to her, even at the age of eight.

Her parents were strict. They were “pushers” pushing her to do this after school activity and that activity…pushing her to take AP classes…pushing her to eat right and exercise…pushing her to only socialize when necessary and only with the “appropriate” friends. So, it goes without saying, her teen years and college years, were all very academic oriented, with very few exciting events. Her life-long friend Brandy calls her whole life “Vanilla.” That pretty much explains it. Boring vanilla. But, in reality…living a vanilla life suited her. She wasn’t a risk-taker, she loves to learn, loves to read and research, loves to sit at home and cuddle on the couch with her family. Who needs sprinkles anyway?

At 5′ 1″ and 100 lbs, she is what the fashion industry has pegged as petite. Shoulder length blond hair and deep blue eyes and, as her friend Brandy says, “A complexion to kill for!” would pretty much complete her description. She was always described as a determined fighter by her mother. Sometimes more determined than was good perhaps. Once she set her mind on something, there was no stopping her.

When she first saw Scott…her determination definitely kicked in. She first laid eyes on him in the medical library of Vanderbilt teaching hospital here in Nashville. They were both in their first year of residency. He was tall, at 6’2″ he towered  over her. He had dark brown hair and big brown eyes…those eyes…they are what drew her to him. He could flirt with the best of them, she was not exactly shy, but having led her “vanilla” type lifestyle, she wasn’t a big flirt by any means. He came over to her table there in the library that day. Struck up a conversation about hematology, referencing a book she had laid out on the table about a blood-clotting disease called Antiphospholipid Syndrome. They talked for quite awhile about that particular disease and others before he paused and asked if she would like to go for coffee. She hated coffee. But…some icky flavored brown water was NOT going to keep her from continuing some conversation with this competely perfect man!

Perfect. Yea…not so much. Here she is 16 years later…the last five of which she knew Scott was having an affair. At first she couldn’t believe it. Scott would never do that to her or their family! But, the signs were there. She asked him one night after dinner, as Margo was putting the kids to bed, if he was seeing someone. He laughed at her and told her she was crazy. She dropped it, but after another call from him saying he was having another “late night” at the office, she couldn’t repress her instincts anymore. She became the woman she swore she never would. She started snooping on her husband. She would go thru his pockets, check his calendar, check his phone, but it was checking his computer that confirmed her suspicions. She clicked on a folder entitled “L” and there on the screen was a picture that caused her heart to jump right into her throat! It was Lisa. Scotts old girlfriend. She was a model, and the picture before her made that all too clear. But this was more than just beyond some “headshot” this was a fullly nude Lisa…and there were many of them. She stood staring, mouth agape. Her heart was beating so hard she could barely breathe. Her head was swimming. Why? Why does he have these photos of Lisa? They hadn’t seen each other in 15 years…or had they?

She began running the past few years in her head…was he having an affair with Lisa? Or just fantasizing…how recent are these pictures of her? Her head was spinning. Anyone but her! She had always felt insecure when it came to Lisa. She was this perfect looking woman, never had children so nothing was stretched out of shape on her! She was not the smartest woman, that’s for certain…why? She continued checking out Scotts computer for anymore evidence…THERE. There it was. Messages. Lots of them. He and Lisa have been conversing. He’s too stupid to delete his history. She read thru their messages quickly…they were having a full blown relationship. Worse…they discussed her and the children! That devastated her. To find out that Scott was with Lisa. He always said she meant nothing to him. She was just a “bimbo” he said.  He said the two years he spent with her, were the most miserable of his life…that she was vindictive and immature. But, evidently vindictive, immature bimbos were more his type. She confronted Scott with what she had found. He blamed her, blamed her long hours, said she was too boring for him….she was devastated. She went to confide what was happening to Brandy. She had trusted Brandy. But as she was explaining it all to her, Brandy dropped a bombshell. Scott was seeing many women, including her! She said it was a one time thing…but one time is all it takes in these matters, isn’t it?

She couldn’t believe that Brandy could betray her like this! She had been her best friend for as long as she could remember! How could Scott? How could Brandy? She had done so much for Brandy over the years! She had let her live with her rent free, she bought her and her daughter clothing and other items over the years, they came over every weekend to watch movies and have dinner or play boardgames…the betrayal by Brandy stung more than he one by Scott.

The anger has eaten at her since she had found out. She proceeded with the divorce and stopped communicating with Brandy. Brandy begged for her forgiveness, blamed it on alcohol and one night of weakness. The excuses weren’t gonna cut it. From either of them. During that time, she found out about so many lies. Lies by Scott, lies by Brandy. Brandy always talked so poorly of her family. She called them white trash. She claimed her mother was a drug addict/alcoholic. She said she may as well been raised by a pack of wolves. She claimed to have no-one in her life that cared about her. She made her feel so sorry for her and her baby girl. But, after finding out about all the lies, she then wondered if all those stories were also lies. She wondered what lies Brandy told her family about her?

How can people do those things to each other? She struggled with that question that past couple years. But she has decided now to make a fresh start. To not dwell on the betrayals by those closest to her. She focused on her children and her career. And she is happy. She recently met a man at work. They had been to coffee, she had developed quite a taste for it by now, and she enjoyed his company. The future was looking up.

The interview went well. She hired the new nanny. She let go of all the resentment and anger and mistrust that had accumulated over the years. But, she wonders…everytime a person is treated like she was, lied to and betrayed…how does one ever fully trust again? If the ones who profess to love you the most can treat you so badly…what can we expect from those who don’t know us at all? Or do people just have their own versions of the truth and feel they are doing nothing wrong when they lie to you? How do they live with themselves when they are scheming and making up lies? Do they have a conscience? She hopes to never have to feel that way again. She prays her children never know what it feels like to be betrayed by someone they love…but she knows that prayer will likely not get answered. It’s inevitable.

 

 

 

Again…just a flow & type story. Just practicing…thanks for reading!

Doctors:

Why do we put our lives into a strangers hands?  You wouldn’t you say?  You do, each time you go to your doctor.  We rely on these men and women to take care of us.  To keep us healthy.  To cure us of disease. 

We don’t KNOW these doctors.  We don’t know what their childhood was like.  We don’t know what their marriages are like.  We don’t know what kind of grades they got in medical school…were they in the top half or the bottom half?  Most of the time we don’t know if they have been involved in a malpractice lawsuit…oh, you can try to check on healthgrades or some similar site., but it isn’t always noted…if they settled out of court for instance. it won’t sometimes even be on their record.

Do they CARE about their patients?  Or are they just putting in the time until they can retire to full time on the golf course?  Are they alcoholics or drug abusers?  You can’t always tell….and you would be suprised at the numbers.  Do they even READ your medical history?  I know for a fact that some don’t.  Some never even look at your chart….this is why you find yourself repeating your health concerns repeatedly.  Do they UNDERSTAND your illness?  If it’s a broken bone…they sure do!  Heart condition?  Usually.  But if it’s a more complicated illness, like auto immune diseases (Lupus, APS) or a chronic pain condition (Fibro, CFS) they aren’t so good…cuz that would require them to do extra research…once they graduate med school they don’t feel the need to do a whole lot of that…oh, they must take classes/seminars…but they aren’t often worried about such things.

When I was in the hospital,. there was an instance where the physician that was in charge of my case because my normal doc was busy in Disney World, where he literally NEVER entered my room.  Never touched me or looked at me.  He stood at the nurses station and wrote in my chart…but he never came into my room…while I was on a vent in a coma and my intestines were outside my body.  That man was in charge of my life.

To alot of doctors we are charts.  They dont know us as people.  They don’t CARE about us as people.  We are a means to an end.  They are more concerned about their big houses and fancy cars.  Their boats.  Their vacations. Their country clubs.  In some cases…their NURSES and mistresses. But in alot of cases. WE are just a number.  Some are just going thru the motions.

I love on tv when they show doctors who actually KNOW their patients…like they are friends!  They know all their health history and their lifestyles…that would be awesome!  Then you could feel like that doc was giving you good medical care…like they knew you and cared about you!

With my very complicated medical history I live in FEAR of anything new happening to me.  If I passed out right now…and was sent to the hospital…they could really screw me up…because I am on soo many medications…because my abdomen is very delicate…if they cut into me without knowing what they were doing, they will most certainly kill me (my intestines are all glued together and glued to my organs and very close to the skin…no muscle wall protecting them).  I can not say with any assurance that my family doctor would even think of that.  I’m on blood thinners, of course that is on my chart…but it was on my chart in the hospital and mistakes were made.

There are soooo many medical mistakes made and sooo many ways to cover them up.  So many that are not reported and some that are reported but not fully disclosed.  We as healthcare consumers are on our own.  WE have to be responsible for our own healthcare needs.  We have to investigate our doctors. but even then we cannot rely on the info we find.  We have to choose our docs with our gut along with what we find out about their education.  We have to keep our own set of medical records up to date.  We have to KNOW our medications well and know the side effects and what interractions with other meds or foods there are.  We must ask questions.  We must research our illnesses…our symptoms. We have to educate ourselves.

The day of going to the town doc and just leaving everything up to him is over.  I hate going to doctors…for good reason I would say.  But I DO have to go to them.  New ones at times.  And it sucks.  I HATE it.  Just like this new urologist I am seeing.  He has me cathing for what he says is urinary retention.  I believe there is more going on than just that.  But, I’m doing what he has prescribed for now…waiting for that return appointment where I can ask for further tests to be done….because although i do have retained uring…it’s not much, and my symptoms have not gone away since cathing.

It’s scary to be a person who has several illnesses to deal with.  Let me see…what all do I have…1) Antiphosphosipid Syndrome (potentially fatal blood clotting autoimmune disease) 2) Lupus 3) Adhesions/Neuromas/Scar tissue/Hernias (due to botched abdominal surgery-also potentially fatal due to bowel blockage/strangulation) 4) Degenerative Disk Disease and ruptured disks in back 5) Osteoarthritis of back, hip and knees 6) Mitral Valve Prolapse 7) Ruptured tendons in elbows 8) Fibromyalgia 9) neurogenic bladder 10) Really bad teeth…lol.

Current symptoms I can’t figure out…but are not medication related….are, extreme nausea and fatigue…more than the norm, and flank type pain and my eyes ache and are very tired and the whites are bloodshot and greyish looking. I’m afraid it’s liver related…or kidney possibly.

I dunno.  But I just feel like doctors find me confusing.  Like I’m just too complicated…maybe they don’t know where to begin…or are afraid to do anything…lol. Don’t get me wrong.  I respect the doctors that are really trying to do good.  The ones who treat us like people…not cattle.  I respect how hard they’ve worked for their license.  I just get tired of seeing the ones who just run you thru like a car wash.

I’ve done some research on Medical Malpractice…and it’s just astonishing what’s going on out there.  It’s downright horrifying. But we NEED doctors.  We have to go to them.  We have to depend on them.  We have to trust them.  But you better do your part.  And even if you do…add alot of prayer and faith in God to get you through.

To all the doctors out there who actually CARE about your patients…God bless you.  To the one’s in it for the money and prestige…God help you.  To the dumbass who butchered me….I hope you think about it each and every day.

So…this was my 50th blog!!!  Woo Hoo!  50!  The bigh 5-0!  😉

Thanks to everyone who takes the time out of their busy day to read my little blog with all my crazy ramblings!  I appreciate it!  I love the messages and support from you all!

“Live, Love, Laugh!”