Tuesday, April 20, 2010

How to Stay Alive in a Hospital

First off, I have never met a nurse that wasn't dedicated to the work of helping people heal. That said, governmental bureaucratic paperwork creates so much busywork that it limits the time that nurses have to care for patients.
And it is only going to get worse.

So like any other situation check the basics: food, water and shelter. I was in a hospital so all those things were available but once I was off the IV feeding and watering myself was a challenge, mainly because I had a broken leg and two broken arms.

I could not move or take care of myself for even the most basic things. Our parents would come as often as they could, we even had sisters from church come by and feed me. This is why building community before a disaster is important.

I was running into trouble a glass or two of water at meal times was just not enough. Another problem was that I was taking very strong pain killers and so I couldn't think straight. I knew there was a solution but it took a long time to work it out. I could remember that there was a product out there that was a water carrying backpack that had a hose you could drink from, but I couldn't remember the name or anything else.

Fortunately, Dad went to a sporting goods store and found a smart guy who could figure out what I was talking about: a Camelbak hydration system. He tied it to the side of the bed and would refill it whenever they stopped by. I credit Camelbak in saving my life, it allowed me to drink more and create some personal independence. It made healing go faster.

You also have to be aware of what is happening to your own body and not be afraid to bring it up. One of my wounds was healing much more slowly then others, I brought that up to the floor doctor, who brought in a wound care specialist and it was determined that the healing had stopped and so they did something to restart the healing process.