Want Rest After Surgery? Get Out Of The Hospital!

So You Want To Rest? Get The Hell Out Of The Hospital!

You’ve just had surgery. You want to sleep. You want the anesthetics to get out of your system. You want pain to go away.

What you really want is to get the Hell out of the hospital.

OK, my operation went well so they tell me, 5 hours plus of well.

I’ll take their word, they took my left kidney.

Not a fair exchange, not fair at all.

So, I’m in my room with a lovely view of the Chicago fog covering all of downtown for the last week. The pain has been managed by narcotics (no Rush Limbaugh me, though….)

What ensues is true, only the facts have been altered because I can.

Sleep is what I need and want.

What I get is two nights of lousy White Sox baseball (that in itself is depressing enough). My son keeps me company during this time so we can share the pain of a terrible season going down the toilet.

He leaves.

I attempt sleep.

But first it’s time for my hourly check-up on my vitals.

Enter a nurse who asks the same questions over and over again: What’s your date of birth? (It’s on the lovely white wrist wrap they’ve provided.) How tall are you? My turn so I tell her that I’m 6’7” tall. You get the picture, but she’ll be back hourly for the first 5 or 6 to check my blood pressure, heart rate (yes, I have one), blood sugar and temperature.

Finally, I get to sleep, a deep sleep when my saline drip bag is near empty and the alarm goes off loudly. I’m up again; so let’s do the vitals again.

Now. Two hours must be the maximum they allow you to sleep. It must be policy.

At 5 AM it’s time to take blood so the doctors who make their rounds about 6ish will have had the time to see your blood chemistry. Just getting back to sleep when in comes the two Attendings, plus a student. Time to review what your surgeon has already told you. Time to answer more questions. Time to examine the incision.

Time to wake you from sleep.

Shortly after 6 AM before what they call food had been delivered, you are told to get up and start walking. They want me to walk one mile during the next day. That’s 13 laps around the halls and nursing stations –I do my mile but pay for it in total exhaustion the next day.

No wonder they want people to go home quickly, they are afraid what they call food may actually be ingested by patients and make them even sicker.

You call those things eggs? Looks like tasteless yellow fluff to me. YUK!

So I really didn’t eat either of the two days I supposedly was resting while an in-patient. I was exhausted, hurting, and didn’t really care about anything other then getting away from there.

But that itself isn’t easy since you need to have a release form and other crap. So while I try to sleep, in come the Social Worker for a few questions.

Back to sleep go I when the Hospitality Manager enters to discuss how clean the floors etc. are. Bye to him, close the eyes when next it’s the volunteer special services dude. More questions.

Next it’s the interview with the Nurse Practitioner responsible for my release papers. This actually took longer than my release from the Army…OK; I didn’t serve, but hypothetically…

More visits from the Surgeon, the Night Nurse wishing me good luck, et al. Most surprisingly to me was the head of Pre-Op who came in to see me for about 15-20 minutes to discuss how I manage my postoperative care. This is from the Pre-Op director discussing my post care.

Overall, my impression about my total care is one of excellence. I was lucky to have the extremely high quality of care they offered.
Sure they pester, prod and push you to recover, but one of the benefits of treatment at an academic medical center is not just the quality of knowledge available, but also the thoughtful treatment you get…..when they choose to let you sleep!

As you can see, they weren’t able to remove the snarkiness from me!

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