Unexpected Surgical Nightmare: Round 5

Getting Admitted: Round One  

I have to say I hate being stuck as a patient in the hospital.  It’s like being in jail but you are getting medicated the whole time.  So the first night is always the worst.  They have no more major tests or studies to conduct, however your nurses and techs are coming around every three to four hours to give medicine and take your vitals.  Then there is the bed which isn’t exactly uncomfortable but it isn’t like being in your own bed.  On top of everything else, they don’t allow you to eat for a while during the time they are running studies and deciding what to do.

After the first night, my Doctor came in and told me that they are going to run a bunch of tests and if they don’t find anything they are going to do an exploratory surgery to see if they can find anything inside me that could be causing the problem.

I went through several tests and all of them came back with varying results.  I was low on potassium, I had swelling in my small intestines, my bowel was full and needed to be emptied and I had some minor gallbladder stones.

After nearly a week in the hospital, and about 1000 tests and studies, I was put in for surgery.  Yet another laparoscopic procedure to see if they can find the source of the problem. There was nothing remarkable found in the surgery.  I had two adhesion’s that were fusing my colon and bladder together and my large and small intestines together.  I stayed in the hospital one more night and was sent home with a couple of prescriptions for antibiotics, nausea, pain and inflammation.  I thought I was done with the whole nightmare, but I was barely done with the first chapter.

Upon getting home, I again took it easy and tried to rest a lot.  I took my medicine as directed and low and behold, the pain came back.  This time worse than the last.  Vomiting, slight fever, high blood pressure, chills, doubled over and ready to scream. I called the doctor and he said, back to the ER.

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Unexpected Surgical Nightmare: Round 4

The Aftermath of my Hospital Escape

Upon getting home from horrible experience at Traditions, my Doctor called and said, “Nicole why did you leave the hospital?  You need to go back immediately.  I have orders to have you admitted so we can get down to the issue of your pain and discomfort.  Please return to the hospital right away.”

I told him what had happened and how I was severely neglected from the time I got there and how rude the nurses were and how I hadn’t seen a doctor and how I waited in the waiting room in pain for nearly an hour.  I asked him if I could go to another hospital, but unfortunately, he only had privileges at Traditions.  I decided in that moment that before I set foot back into that hell hole hospital, I was going to call the person in charge and make sure that I was going to be treated with the respect and attention that any person who comes to their facility deserves.

That’s when I met Tim.  He is what they call the Aid In (not sure if I am saying that right) but basically he is one of the kings of the nursing staff at Traditions.  I told him about the whole experience from start to finish and how I was told to come back because of how sick I am from the pain I am in. He was livid that I was treated so badly. He was very kind and made sure that when I got there, that he had a bed ready for me in both the emergency room and the 4th floor where I was being admitted to.  He had a nurse named Weston who stayed by my bed side throughout my whole time in the E.R. and made sure I had the best drugs to deal with the pain and anxiety of being in the hospital yet again.  I have to say that despite the fact that I will never return to Traditions unless I had no other choice, Tim made me feel very good about my return and the only other way I will return again is if I speak to Tim or his partner Bill to ensure that I am treated fairly.  Pretty sad to me that you actually have to beg to be treated appropriately.

On a side note, there should be a special school for nurses called “The Tenderness Class” or perhaps the “Don’t be an Ass Hole to your Patients” class.  The class should include instructions on how to handle a lot of patients, time management, tenderness and patience lessons. It would make a good nurse great and you can weed out all the shitty nurses.  Just so everyone who reads this knows, I love nurses and the nurses I had a Martin Memorial North Hospital were exceptional.  They should be the one’s training the idiots that have ZERO bed side manor.  The absolute last thing any nurse should say to a patient is how they are not important because there are other more important cases. That should be grounds for immediate termination.

I will say that the blessing of Tim and Weston was truly the best thing that happened to me.  They were professional, caring, kind and above all they made sure that I wasn’t neglected or treated with any kind of disrespect.  I knew that this wasn’t the end of the rode for me, and I knew that I had a lot of hell to go through before I would have an answer but at least I was feeling comfortable and cared for.

Unexpected Surgical Nightmare: Round 3

The New, and Most Definitely Not Improved, Emergency Room Accommodations: The room with the dying woman and the worst nurse on the planet!

Once I was placed into the new room with the dying woman (who I prayed for and hope that her family finds peace), a guy from CT Scan finally came to deliver to me a contrast drink that I was to drink and then he would return in two hours to take me for my CT Scan.  I drank the whole disgusting beverage which was essentially iodine contrast mixed with Chrystal Light Lemonade.  After finishing the beverage, I waited and waited and somehow four hours had passed and no one had come to get me.  I started to get really anxious as I continued to press the nurse call button and no one showed up.  after another 2 1/2 hours of waiting and waiting for a nurse or someone to come, I went into a full blown frenzy of a panic attack and had to take the Klonopin I had sitting in my purse. When my nurse FINALLY showed up after the hours of waiting, I told her I was in more pain and wanted to see a doctor immediately.  She literally said, “Honey (yes she is condescending), everyone is busy with critical patients and you are not critical and not dying so you need to be patient.  A Doctor will only come if you are bleeding, or coding out in cardiac arrest because we are busy.  We gave you some pain medicine about 2 hours ago (which was actually 5 hours ago) and you have to be patient until we have a chance to get more orders from the doctor.”  Of course, the doctors weren’t going to come unless I was bleeding or coding so I guess the option of getting a doctor was out of this realm of possibilities.

Of course I stuck up for myself and said, “Take the IV out of my arm, I am leaving because I deserve to be treated as well as everyone else who is here.  If there aren’t enough doctors and I can’t get you to show up for three hours, than I would rather go to a hospital that is capable of handling my case.”  I was very upset and felt completely unwelcome.  Anyone would have felt this way if they were in my situation. So I started taking off all the machines in front of this nurse whose name is Dani.  Once I had removed everything, I asked for her help taking out the IV, but she refused to help me until I signed papers that said I was leaving “against medical advice” (also known as an AMA form).  I literally said, “I am not leaving AMA, because I have not received any medical advice nor have I seen a doctor at all.”  Holy crap you would think I just killed this woman’s dog because she went off on me after that, and began to act like a manic nut job.

“You have been seen by multiple nurses, and I have come every time you called and the last time I came you were sleeping.  You boyfriend (pointing to Tyler sitting quietly in the chair) can attest to the fact that I came and by the time I got here you were sleeping (Tyler said yes but told her to wake me up and she didn’t) and I didn’t want to wake you.  In addition to all the nurses you have seen, you have also been seen by ER Doctor, Doctor (I forgot his name 🙂 ).  You have been pushy and needy while I have several more critical patients that are in much more dire situations than yours.  If you still want to leave, then you will need to sign this paper in order to do so.”  After her speech, she slammed my curtain closed and walked right over to the nearby nurses bench, literally 5 feet from my room, where she proceeded to loudly talk badly about me and make me feel even worse.  At that point, not only was I completely pissed off, but I was not staying a moment longer.  I took out my own IV and taped it down and walked right out to the nurses station where she was standing and this is what I said;

“Listen, I don’t know why you got so sensitive about me asking for help when I needed it, I don’t know why you think you know everything about my case, but let me be very clear, you are completely and totally unprofessional and need to grow up.  Let’s start from the beginning, since you seem to think that telling less critical patients how unimportant they are. Number one, I have not seen a doctor at all since I have been here, I only saw a very passionless Physicians Assistant who called me a drug addict then after reading the notes from my doctor (and not even apologizing) finally decided to give me the pain meds that my doctor ordered for me, which did nothing for the pain I am still in.  Number two, I pressed the call button a total of 3 times within a 3 1/2 hour span and not you or any other nurse showed up, so when you finally did you should have woke me to make sure everything was okay. We are completely unsure as to what is going on and I could very well be bleeding internally or have a fast moving infection that could kill me without warning, so before you judge a patient on how critical they are, get your fucking facts straight.  Number three, you are not the reason I am leaving, you were very nice until you coped an attitude, but the reason I am leaving is because I don’t feel as though anyone here cares about whether I am here or not, and I believe I can get better care elsewhere .  Number four, I will not ever sign that AMA document because I am not leaving against medical advice because news flash, I got no medical advice.  The next time you think you are going to talk to me as if I am not a patient in need of care, I will report you and this shit hole hospital to the medical board of Florida and make sure that your nursing license is scrutinized and possibly taken from you.  I truly believe you need to learn to treat every patient as if they are in need of assistance because no one wants to sit in the emergency room of any hospital regardless of the reason.  I know that a lot of people abuse the emergency rooms and I understand that you have to do your best to weed those people out, but if you took the time to read my chart and get to know my case, you would know I am here for a surgical complication and anything could happen due to that reason.  I am not the type of person to be needy or whiny, I truly have agonizing pain that won’t go away and your job is to be there for your patients and cater to their needs.  If you are incapable of this, then why be a nurse?”

After I said my peace, this insane nurse said, “You have no right to judge me as a nurse or make me feel bad when I came every time you pressed the call button (which was of course a huge LIE).  Before you leave, you have to speak to my charge nurse because when you chose to leave without being discharged, you are leaving AMA and the insurance company won’t pay for your visit. Let’s go so we can talk to my charge nurse.”  Just to make sure you understand, the whole time she was speaking, her eyes were tearing up like I ruined her day and she was so snarky and nasty.  I wish I could have recorded this conversation on my phone or something because it was literally like talking to my 7 year old.  This lady was without question one of the rudest nurses I have ever met.  She started out as a sweetheart and became Jekyll and Hyde right in front of my face.  It was nuts!

So I said nicely that speaking to her charge nurse would not be necessary.  Either way I stopped and spoke to the level headed lady named Diana.  “What happened?” she said.  I basically told her I was leaving and that “NUT BALL” was making a big deal of it thinking that I am leaving because of her.  The truth was that I literally was being neglected regardless of who was to blame and I asked her why should I stay in a place where I am being neglected while I am in so much pain I can barely breath? She apologized for my treatment and asked me if I would please sign the AMA document. I told her my reasons as to why I would not sign it and she left me alone and told me to have a good night.  It really was a simple and straight forward conversation.  If the nurse would have just listened to me, the whole situation did not need to happen.  This is the difference between being in a place where the nurses are good nurses and a place where the hire any old riff raft to care for you.

Before anyone gets too upset about my opinion of Traditions Medical Center, I want to point out that there were some fantastic nurses there once you are admitted and there are even a few exceptional nurses in the ER as well, I just had the bad fortune to get the one nurse that literally needed to be medicated for her obnoxious mood swings.  Anyways, as the story goes on, sometimes it’s better to speak up and say how you feel about a person, than to just keep it inside.  Who knows, maybe I made her think hard about the way she treats people.  Maybe I made it better for the next less critical patient who had the bad fortune to get her as a nurse, but all I know is that I left that place still rattled in pain and throwing up and I knew I was going to have to go back to the hospital, but everything inside me did not want to go back to Traditions.

Unexpected Surgical Nightmare: Round 2

Traditions Medical Center: The Worst Emergency Room I have ever been to!

Once I got to Traditions, I walked up to the triage nurse and was told to take a seat as he proceeded to take my vitals.  My blood pressure was extremely high (156/107) due to both my agonizing pain and my anxiety of hospitals, and to top it off my temperature was around 100.5.  He insisted on retaking all the vitals and got the same results again. I was obviously not feeling well but the guy was just not getting it.

The place was an absolute mad house!  I mean, they had beds lining all the hallways filled with people, nurses running around like they were lost, codes being called all over the place, doctors who looked sleep deprived and overwhelmed and PA’s (Physician’s Assistants) who were trying to read notes and make arrangements to see the new and less serious patients.

I started out in a cozy little room with two nurses; Sara and Tara.  Sara was arrogant and completely unsympathetic to my situation and Tara was trying to go on a break the whole time they were getting me situated.  I only saw the Sara once and Tara twice.  After about 45 minutes of sitting in agony and dry heaving, a PA finally came in.  Much to my surprise, she said she would not offer me anything for pain because she thinks I was a pain med seeker, thanks to all the junkies in Florida.  I was absolutely furious that instead of letting me speak, she had immediately judged my situation.  Finally, when she got done listening to her self-righteous ideals of what she “Thought” was the situation, she gave me an opportunity to talk.  I simply said, as kind as possible, “My Doctor sent me here due to a complication from my surgery 5 days ago. Before you start assuming that you know what is going on, would you please take the time to review my chart.”  she got really quiet while reading my chart and instead of apologizing, she ordered me 1 MG of Dilaudid through my IV, which is a heavy and very effective IV Pain Relief medicine.  After dosing me up with meds, she told me that they have a super critical patient coming and needed to move me to another area to accept this patient.  Within 5 minutes, my wheel chair arrived and I was put into a room with a dying woman who had complete renal (kidney) failure.

At this point, my pain was coming back and I was starting to feel the urge to throw up.  I was truly in agony and doing my best to keep it together.  The numb throbbing pain, had turned into a miserable stabbing pain and the Dilaudid was not helping at all.  I was crying and curled up in a ball on my stretcher with my boyfriend rubbing my head telling me that we were in the right place to get answers and I had to try and relax.  Relaxing was not an option as the throbbing raged on and I felt completely helpless.  Here I am waiting for some answers, and nothing….. more nothing and……. oh what do you know … more nothing.

Unexpected Surgical Nightmare: Round One

Hey everyone!! I have so much to tell you about the last few weeks.  I sort of cannot believe this is all happening because I was feeling totally healthy and normal three weeks ago, pre-surgery.  This is the whole story broken into a couple of posts.  I hope y’all enjoy the Unexpected Surgical Nightmare Mini Series.  It will answer almost all of your questions about what has been going on since my original surgery.

So here is the beginning of what happened….

The Big Decision to Tie my Tubes and Stop having Babies

My boyfriend and I have three kids now, two boys and a girl; so we made a decision to be done with having babies so we can focus on them and their little bright futures.  As you all may already know, each child needs to have their own room or there should be no more than two kids in a room.  In addition to living accommodations, they need their own clothing, their own bathroom supplies, their own gear for sports and other activities and their own life insurance and college savings plans.  It is beyond expensive now-a-days to raise a child.  Anyways, we made the difficult decision to tie my tubes and maybe get him a vasectomy just to be extra careful.  After making up our minds, the doctor did his best to talk us out of doing the surgery but it was set in our minds that we will be going through with this surgery.  Making a decision like this wasn’t something that came easy.  We love our children and of course we have thought about having more, but the reality is that we need to focus on supporting and raising the kids we have without breaking the bank and killing our lifestyle.  So many of my friends and family asked me why I didn’t do the surgery when I had my c-section back in September, and the answer is simply this, we weren’t ready to make a decision that big at the time.  Our sweet baby boy came a month early which gave us no time to make a decision and I wasn’t going to rush the decision and end up regretting it. Every person is entitled to make their own decisions about their bodies and I chose to wait just to be sure I was okay with the decision.  I really wanted to try for a girl, but to be completely honest, being a mom of two boys is already a lot to juggle, plus I own a business and try to do volunteer work here and there.  So anyways, we went through with the surgery after discussing all the possibilities in depth.

Little did we know….. Hell was about to break loose.

The Tubal Ligation

On January 21st 2016, I walked into the hospital to have a routine Tubal Ligation Procedure.  This is a Laparoscopy procedure that leaves two small incisions that are either stapled or sutured together to heal.  The recovery time is about two to five days depending on your pain tolerance.  It’s also an out patient procedure, so I went home that same day directly after the anesthesia wore off.

Upon getting home, I took it easy and laid in bed for the most part.  On Friday, I spent the day relaxing and getting caught up on some light work duties.  I was healing great and the pain was already receding but I had this numb throbbing pain in my lower abdomen.  I honestly didn’t think it was anything to worry about and I assumed it was normal at that point.

By the time Saturday rolled around, I thought it was over.  No more cramping, no more regular pains, just here and there that weird throbbing pain would hit me, but nothing Tylenol and rest couldn’t handle.

Sunday was when the fun began.  I woke up on Sunday, January 24th and had a fever, was throwing up and feeling miserable.  The pain was a constant stabbing agony that I couldn’t do anything to make it stop.  I doubled up on my pain meds per doctors orders (5 mg Percocets) and I laid in bed trying to figure out what I was going to do to make the agony stop.  Finally I realized the pain was bigger than me and it was time to get help.

I called my Doctor and asked him what I should do and his immediate response was to go to the hospital.  So Sunday night, I went to Martin Memorial Hospital South.  They did blood work, urine work, X-rays, a CT Scan with IV Contrast and a pelvic exam.  The only negative report they got was swelling around my small intestines and a slight bacterial infection. Once the PA came in to share the results, she basically put me on Percocets again, a gel for the infection and some light antibiotics for the swelling in my small intestines; then she sent me home with an appointment to see my doctor (who did the surgery) the next day at 10 AM.  She also urged me to not hold the baby and not lift more than 5 pounds and to bascially stay in bed.  I am not very good at staying in bed, in fact I absolutely hate laying in bed for hours on end and had no interest in doing that at all, but I did it.

When I arrived at the doctors office the next day, he took one look at me and said, “I am admitting you into the hospital because I don’t like that your vitals are unstable (my blood pressure was 165/106, low grade fever of 100.3, my oxygen was low at about 84 and my pain was about a solid 9 on a scale of 1-10), your still vomiting, your pale white and you don’t look well at all.  We need to see what is going on.” I honestly didn’t want to go back to the hospital again but he pleaded with me that it was super important and needed to be a priority.  He called the hospital (Traditions Medical Center in Port Saint Lucie -FL) and off I went.

At this point, I was hopeful that they would figure it out pretty quickly.  I mean, a tubal ligation is such a simple surgery so I was optimistic that it was probably just a small infection and antibiotics would do the trick.  What actually happened, was not at all what I expected and I didn’t realize that I was going to be severely sick and in agonizing pain for what seems like forever, and yes I am still in pain.  Trust me when I tell you, when you have a complication from a surgery, it affects everything in your life.  You don’t get to feel good or normal and you don’t know when it will end.  Anyways, before I get too ahead of myself, I went to Traditions hospital and all I have to say is….. Read the next post.