You have a lot of time to think in a hospital. I thought of one more thing after I made this graphic . . .
I had not been in a hospital — for myself, that is — since I was 12 years old. Since there isn’t a lot of movement going on, I thought I’d just share a few hospital thoughts from last week. You never know when knowledge can come in handy.
Don’t expect anything to happen quickly . . .
. . . unless it’s a true emergency. Thankfully the ambulance got here really quickly — not that I really needed it, but it’s good to know going forward should another emergency arrive.
I arrived at the hospital around 5:30 pm. I was admitted to a room about 10:30 pm. The rest of the time was spent laying in the ER, receiving fluids, getting vials of blood taken, seeing like five different doctors (not even sure that’s really an exaggeration!).
Mr. Judy brought my phone to the hospital, but not a charger, so I had to make that last. It was pretty darn boring. The next day I was pretty sure I’d be released, but in the morning I asked if it would be possible to get a magazine, and the nurse said she’d tell a volunteer. Never saw a volunteer, never got a magazine . . . we joked in three days some random woman probably got one.
Don’t get me wrong, I know the medical staff is overworked and underpaid — but I’ve also seen this with my parents. Sometimes for issues that are more important (again, truly no disrespect to hospital staff). So if it is important, you’ve got to be the squeaky wheel (it wasn’t obviously, so I wasn’t).
You’ll be asked lots of odd questions
Does your husband hit you? Not kidding; they asked. Do you want an HIV test? Do you use a walker? Are there any stairs at home? Are you worried about going up them? What, am I 100 years old?????
We all know about hospital food, right?
I only ate breakfast and lunch there. The food wasn’t horrible (maybe because I had a 24 hour fast), the main thing was that so much of it was just so unhealthy. Maple syrup like substance with high fructose corn syrup — blech!
I wasn’t put on a bland diet, but obviously I needed one. Mostly there were heavy foods — pizza, grilled cheese, fried chicken — I mean seriously, what? I ordered a turkey sandwich with butter and chicken noodle soup for lunch. The soup never came. The sandwich had some creamy pesto like sauce on it.
Which brings me to my next point — the waste! They brought breakfast, and it included: scrambled eggs, french toast, oatmeal, fresh fruit, coffee and milk. I ate the scrambled eggs and french toast — I’m sure the rest got thrown out. Lunch came with salad, chips, milk — again! — none of which I ordered. More waste.
Jello might have been good for an upset stomach, for instance, but I would bet that the jello they use has artificial colors and lots of sugar and just no thank you. I made my own this week. Just juice, gelatin, and honey. Cookies, brownies, ice cream . . . can you gain weight eating in a hospital? Glad I wasn’t there long enough to find out.
You need to be your own advocate
They came to take blood at 5 am (yes, thank you, because I got so much rest). I questioned whether it was necessary since I know they told me that they had extra blood what they took while I was in the ER just in case they wanted to run more tests. Apparently they don’t share.
Then they came back at 9 am wanting to draw yet more blood. I questioned that — and yeah, apparently they don’t communicate that well either because they checked it and didn’t need to draw more.
I regretted telling them I take a vitamin D supplement because they brought me one the next morning. It wasn’t necessary and God knows how much that cost us.
You won’t get much rest while you’re there
I knew this already from adventures with parents. It’s a little more eye opening when it’s you, though. There was some older guy making lots of lots of noise pretty much all night. I don’t think he was actually in pain or anything.
The heart telemetry machine beeped almost all night. A nurse came in and said she’d do something about it (I hadn’t asked, she just noticed it when doing rounds), but you guessed it — it stayed beeping all night. Did I mention I’m a very light sleeper? They finally fixed it the next morning.
Initially I was in a room by myself, but they brought in someone in the wee hours of the morning. The rooms aren’t dark. Medical personnel are walking up and down the hall all the time. Medical personnel are coming in to take vitals and blood and whatnot all night. Not to mention it’s really uncomfortable trying to sleep with an iv in and electrodes all over your body for heart telemetry. At least I was mobile — but of course dragging an IV pole around isn’t a lot of fun either.
You will leave without paying anything
The first time we were in the hospital with my Dad — for brain surgery — 7 years ago? It blew my mind that you leave without a bill. If you have insurance you leave without ever showing a credit card. They never seem to be in a hurry to send you a bill either (they first bill your insurance company).
Try to take notes about what meds and procedures you were given. It’s not at all unusual for there to be mistakes. Also it is your right to get a copy of your records, but they will not just automatically send them. You’ll need to ask for and sign a HIPPA form. Don’t expect to get those records quickly, though (yup, I’m waiting). I’m really very curious just what blood tests they ran, and the results; they just told me “your bloodwork is good”.
If you’ve ever had to be in the hospital, what did you learn?
Have you been shocked by a hospital bill? We’re still blissfully ignorant of what it cost.
Jello yum or oh heck no!? I’ve never really been much of a Jello person, but with a little whipped topping it’s pretty darn tasty. It still does have a fair amount of sugar from the juice I used to make it, but at least there’s no added sugar.