After taking some time away from my blog, Pops on the Porch.com. I have decided to get busy again and put out some of the thoughts I have on to my blog site. During the last six months I’ve had a triple bypass and one day later that, my gallbladder exploded making it so I spent about three weeks in a hospital.
So for this first log, I thought I would share my thoughts on my experiences during the triple bypass surgery and the gallbladder surgery. To begin with I have been going to my doctors as I started out with afib which led to a few procedures where the doctors tried to shock my heart back into rhythm. Then there was the ablation operation. And then I went into the hospital thinking that they were going to put stints into my arteries. So, I went into the hospital thinking that my heart doctor was going to put some stints in me. But when I woke up from the anesthesia my heart doctor told me that I had three arteries that were over 70% blocked, so stints were not the answer. Within minutes my cardiologist introduced me to a heart surgeon who told me I needed a triple bypass operation. So, I said I like to get it done as quickly as possible. He replied okay, how about tomorrow morning at 7:30 AM.
Still in a little bit of shock from the news that I was not going to have stints, I quickly agreed to the operation. First, I was already in the heart hospital and the same department that did the stints. So, in the next morning, early in the morning. I was put under again and some three hours later I woke up in the recovery. It wasn’t bad and I quickly started working on several things I was told I would have to do before I could leave the hospital. One of them was go the bathroom and urinate. Then It was that I would have to get up and with the assistance of a physical therapists, walk up and down the halls of the hospital. Within a day I was able to do both, I was excited to be taken home. I was sore but I was really ready to get out of the hospital. I didn’t feel well on the day that I was being released from the hospital and by the time that I got home I was in really bad shape. My gallbladder had ruptured and my bloodstream and become septic, infectioned. I was so bad that they life flighted me back to the heart hospital in a helicopter.
In the beginning, the doctors were not quite sure what the problem was. Naturally, they started to look at complications with the triple bypass operation. After about a day or two in the hospital the doctors discovered that my gallbladder had ruptured ard and it was poisoning my system. It took several weeks of getting my blood cleared of the infections before the a different doctor would even think of performing the operation on me. Luckily, I was able to convince the doctor that I was ready for the operation. The doctor, on several occasions, told me that he would like to wait six weeks before he did the operating. But at my insistence he would perform it soon.
I tell you this so it will lead me onto the thoughts of the day. Let’s begin with hospital food. Both times I was admitted to the hospital a person from the hospitals cafeteria would greet me and render me a list of the food that was available to me. Both people, describe themselves as really good at what they did and assured me that I would like food that they prepare. So as I was given a menu after several days where my diet consisted of water, ice crystals and Jell-o. The items on the menu looked really good. And I was ready to eat food.
One of the first meal that I ordered was for breakfast. After receiving the meal, which did not look like anything I’ve seen before, I quickly dug in expecting to taste food. Well, when you’re in a heart hospital threy are not going to put much of anything in the food.I would say that it tastes bland but it didn’t even taste that good. After going through several days of different selections I did find one thing that actually tasted decent. It was French toast. I didn’t look forward to the lunch meal. The titles on the food seemed familiar and I even ordered meatloaf. Once again, the food had no taste and had a funny kind of texture that quickly discouraged me from ordering any lunch again. Then there was the dinner meal. Again, the titles of the food seems familiar and so I tried almost everything on that menu. Again, nothing had any real taste and the texture was unusual, I began to beg my wife to bring me food from the outside. I thought that then I would finally get something that tasted nice. Well to my dismay, the food did not taste anything like I remembered it. It so happens, that all of the medicines that I was receiving affected my tastebuds and therefore nothing to same. I will say that the food from the outside had some taste to it and the texture seemed familiar. So as it was, I basically lived off of Jell-O and a small cups of ice cream. Although, the ice cream did not taste like an ice cream I’ve ever had. The ice cream was easy to swallow.
I then thought that this would be a good thing that I did not eat so much in that I would lose weight while i was in the hospital. No, I did not lose any weight while in the hospital, somehow I actually gained weight. I know there’s always been jokes about hospital food and I realize that when you’re in a heart hospital they are really cautious about what is in the food that might affect your heart. But there was a part of me that wanted to meet those people in the cafeteria again and asked them if they were actually ever ate the food. I did ask one of the people who served the food to me if they ever ate the food and they laughed and said no. So my thought on this is that if you know you’re going to be in the hospital for a while working out with somebody on the outside bring you some food that you will actually eat and enjoy.
Like most old men, I am a proud person who does not usually like to ask for help. But I had to get over that while in the hospital. My gallbladder gave way and I was back in the hospital and I was unable to even get in and out of the bed. And so anytime I had to go to the bathroom I had to ask for help. Now when you’re in the hospital there is a little button near your bed and they tell you that if you need something all you have to do is to push that button and they’ll be right there to help. The problem is that all the patients on the floor are given the same button and so it could take quite a while before anyone gets back after pushing the button. The problem with that is I was not able to control my bowels so I found myself in a very messy situation. When the nurses did get to me quickly they had to clean me up. I found myself in a very uncompromising position. They had to turn me on my side which put pressure on my chest which caused a lot of pain due to the bypass operation. My sternum had been put back together using some wire. So when I turned on my side the pressure was extreme and the pain was extreme. The embarrassment of having to have two people rolled me on my side and clean my backside was something that I just had to get used to. One of the male nurses who came when I needed some help and he asked me why I would defecate on myself rather they go to the bathroom. He said this several times that he participated in cleaning me up. At first I was embarrassed by his question and then I got mad at him and I told him, if I could get up by myself I would do it but I could not even stand on my own two legs. It took almost a week for me to be able to stand on my own two legs. Therefore, weighing almost 230 pounds, I need the help of at least two or three people to get out of my bed and get to the bathroom. Once again, while in the bathroom there was a button I could push and somebody would come back and help me. Again, with so many people also in rough condition in the heart hospital, it could take almost 20 minutes before somebody gets there.
If you ever thought wearing ahospital gown was embarrassing, have somebody help you get in and out of bed or clean you up while you’re in the bed. That was the most embarrassing thing that I’ve ever experienced. There was some talk about bed pads but there were so many people in the hospital they ran out of available bedpans. My thought here is what can’t they make a hospital bed that has some kind of device that could open up so you would have the ability to go when you are in the bed.
I will say that the difference in the nurses, who were there to help me, made all the difference in the world on how I felt about my position and my condition. There were some nurses who made me feel less embarrassed when I had to call for help to be cleaned up. I really appreciated the nurses who had the upper body strength to help get me in and out of the bed. And there were several nurses who were always in a positive mood and they made me feel like a human being.
Part of being able to leave the hospital is I have to get up out of bed and start with a walker to walk up and down the hallways. Another, was that you were able to go and use the bathroom. That’s when you met the people from physical therapy. All of them seem to be very positive people, they were like cheerleaders each time you would accomplish a goal like get out of bed and walked down the hallway. They did not make you feel guilty for the things you asked them to do, like some of the nurses. I actually look forward to their visits as each time I got there they were a positive presence. My thoughts on this are that the nursing staffs at heart hospitals should receive some sort of training from the physical therapist on how to make the patient feel like they were there to help rather than it was a job. Again I had several nurses that were that way. They were positiv any time you did something they would cheer you on.
One thing that really irritated me while I was in the hospital, was that it seemed like every 15 minutes to half an hour someone would walk into the room to perform a task like take your temperature or take some blood. This made it almost impossible to get any sleep. I would actually calculate how long it would take for next sleeping pill would become available to me. It seems to me that the administrators in the hospital could coordinate a way that all those different technicians could work as a group and come in and interrupt you a few times as possible. I know that someone has to make sure you’re okay about every 15 minutes why can’t they have a machine that automatically takes your blood pressure and your temperature every 15 minutes without waking you up. I don’t want to take away the human side of medical care but having been there for about three weeks really wanted some sleep some rest.
Of course, I am thankful for the doctors and nurses and technicians for keeping me alive. I’m thankful to the hospital for providing such high-quality care. The thoughts that I have expressed today are merely some small complaints. I think that the people in the cafeteria need to eat the wrong foods will know what it’s like. I think that the nurses should act more like the physical therapist and their positive attitude towards the patient. And I think that the hospital administration could do more to coordinate all the interruptions that occur while you’re in the hospital.
The last of my thoughts are on the billing, pricing and the insurance. I was shocked to find out the price of an ambulance ride from my house to a local hospital. Then I was really shocked when I saw the price of $22,000 for the helicopter take me from that local hospital to the heart hospital in Tyler. When I finally got all the billing and realized that all that cost was over million dollars, I really appreciated that I had all the different insurances that covered almost all of the services are received. I know that the doctors and hospitals send off a bill and that when the insurance companies get it they reduce the amount of coverage and so therefore the original bill is taken care of with less in the so-called asking price for the services. Still, we received billing from several doctors emergency rooms. We would call them back and after informing them of all the insurances that covered thier services. It seems like some of the people in billing are not the sharpest are the most inspired people working for the insurance company.
Well, this is my resuming of my blog. Selfishly, it was mostly about me and my experience having a triple bypass immediately after a gallbladder ruptured. But I think in reading the blog you’ll find some common ground. And you probably even experience some of the things I talked about. So, if you are either fortunate or unfortunate enough to go to specialized heart hospital just be prepared for some of things I talked about. It is gonna be your family members who will help you through your experience. It will also be the specialized doctors and the dedicated nurses and the positive physical therapist who will do the work. You should also let them know about any negative experience that you have. Neither a doctor, a nurse, technician, and aid are perfect people. But they do get paid a lot of money to perform the task they should always remember that you are human, a person and you would like to be treated with great respect. Pops