How to spend FIVE HOURS in the hospital and accomplish nothing.

Spiky Bugger

Well-Known Member
Jan 5, 2014
Today, I thought I’d be receiving an (note the singular) epidural injection at L5. I HAVE the paperwork. It says arrive by 10:30 for a 12:30 procedure. I arrived, checked in, all done at 10:31. Went upstairs, got undressed, into bed, vitals, IV needle in arm, and then:
RN: You got here REALLY early.
Me: We were just a few minutes early and finished checking in at 10:31…for my 12:30 procedure.
RN: Uhm…your procedure is scheduled for 2:30.
Me, showing her the paperwork: Not what it says here.
RN, after going to her desk and checking: No…maybe it WAS 12:30 and got changed and nobody notified you.
Me, much calmer than my loved ones expected: Hmmm…so I’m NPO—including none of my regular oral meds—for AT LEAST 14-and-a-half hours? You know, that “NPO after midnight” is there because administration doesn’t respect staff or patients enough to allow them to compute the ACTUAL time we need to go NPO based on our surgery time.
RN: Agreed.

So I roll around and TRY to find a comfortable position. There is none.

RN checks in around 1:30: You know, you are third in line. There’s a minor surgery, a kyphoplasty and then you.
Me: So NOPLACENEAR 2:30, right?
RN: I’m sorry, but that’s how I see it, too.
Me: Will you let them know, that I’m preparing to leave and I DON’T want to hear anyone suggest that I will be leaving AMA and my insurance won’t cover the charges…because I am not the one who isn’t keeping up my end of the deal.
RN: I’m wondering…if I can get them to dispense an oxycodone, would that help?
Me: I’m willing to find out.
It took quite a while and JUST as I had located one in my bag of goodies, she walked in with one. We decided I should take HERS and save mine. It started working fairly rapidly.

Surgeon and Anesthesiologist show up. (Somewhere in here I called my first rate legal team and got advice.) I explain that I understand that there were hitches in their git-along with their first case, but I probably need to leave now. They say they need “an hour, hour-and-a-half.” I look at the clock. It’s 2:00 pm.

The opioid STARTS working, but…my body notices that I had been without Flagyl far too long and to prove it, diarrhea was on its way. I don’t have any spare Flagyl with me. So around 2:40, I tell the new RN (I didn’t wear the other one out~it was the end of her shift) that I may need to tidy up and could she front me a pack of wipes. Not much IN my GI tract, but the sounds are unmistakable. And it didn’t feel like we were done. We were not. Another event around 3:00.

Around 3:15, I tell MrSue (poor guy was sitting there the whole time except for when he went to the cafeteria and accidentally got TOFU fried rice) that I’m going to get dressed. At EXACTLY 3:30, I approached the nurses’ desk and asked if someone could please remove the IV thingy from my vein. A nurse I hadn’t met before said she would, right after she called the OR. I suggested we do it the the opposite order. She complied. And she got me a wheelchair and someone to push it, so MrSue went to get the car.

I called the doctor’s office. I have THREE ortho doctors there. And the office ladies like me because I brought them donuts. The surgery scheduler said that EVEN THOUGH the surgeon likes to do his more difficult cases first, she would encourage him to do my procedure…which turns out to be SIX spinal injections…because my multiple chronic medical conditions do not allow for waiting around for hours without my meds. And, because if we don’t do it my way, there’s a fair chance that I will take a major dump in their OR and, oh, btw, it will be steatorrhea and because another of my “conditions” is anosmia, I will be the only one in the general area NOT grossed out by the smell.

An interesting, to me, side note. At some point, I mentioned that I didn’t feel the doctors were listening to me. She replied, “You know…our patient satisfaction surveys CONSISTENTLY show that patients who had female doctors were more satisfied with the treatment they received from everyone! And they rate those doctors higher on ‘listening to my concerns’ questions.”
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OMG @Spiky Bugger, and this is the treatment a smart woman who likely knows more than they do is getting. (this is why I don't want to get old in this society) - well, what is the plan now? they reschedule you?

our patient satisfaction surveys CONSISTENTLY show that patients who had female doctors were more satisfied with the treatment they received from everyone! And they rate those doctors higher on ‘listening to my concerns’ questions.”

I'm not usually one to try to say, "Well, that's nowhere as bad as me being in the hospital for five days without a definitive diagnosis." Oh, how I hate so many providers. I'm sorry you had such a bad experience. I swear I had every test, but a prostrate exam. Although I can't be sure they considered it.
Oh no! Just seeing this now. I'm so sorry. I hope they reschedule you for first procedure of the day and soon. Hugs to you.
Updating…saw my “Primary Ortho Doctor” today. I said, “I am now your favorite NON-COMPLIANT patient because, ‘NPO after midnight’ is…ahem…bullshit. But fear not! I’ll just lie about it to protect the physicians.”

Later he said something, “All this for an EPIDURAL? Really?”
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Yup. Essentially, we do it because in 1946, two women who were in labor and were given GENERAL ANESTHESIA about 6-8 hours after they ate a FULL MEAL, aspirated stomach contents and died.

Also, hospitals can move patients’ surgery times around more efficiently if nobody has eaten anything.

But, it mostly does NADA for patients.

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