Tuesday, November 24, 2015

410. Hospitals Suck

On Wednesday evening, November 18, 2015, I sat down to continue my perusal of my nearly complete Criterion Collection, Spine #359 -- "The Double Life of Véronique" by Krzysztof Kieslowski.

After the Polish changed into French, I began to notice that I was having an extremely difficult time concentrating on the film. That's not normal. I can watch Kobayashi's nine-hour "The Human Condition" without blinking.

Kobayashi: "The Human Condition"

Minutes later, I was both sitting on and kneeling in prayerful posture at The Porcelain Throne.

Some Pepto-Bismal was attempted (good OTC product -- usually works!) but by 3:00 A.M., it was obvious that something terrible was going on in my internal workshop. As much as I hated the idea -- knowing full well what we were probably in for -- we decided to go to the E.R.

Off to St. Mary's Hospital -- which is literally just five minutes away -- and I wait in pain for 15 minutes or so until I'm seen.

After a bunch of tests, I'm admitted due to a very high white blood cell count. The IV goes in the arm with no trouble and I'm wheeled into a room (thank God, no roommate the entire stay) ...

Okay -- here comes the fun part. This is why St. Mary's Hospital got a D.

St. Mary's Gets a D.


  • I have been taking Tylenol with Codeine #4 for 28 years for chronic back pain. I am what they call "Codeine-Dependent." I take a strictly limited amount to obtain enough relief so that I am actually able to compose music for a few hours each day when the pain subsides to the level that permits even the tiniest bit of creativity. My PCP once assured me that if I ever ended up in a hospital that I would get the same dosage of medication I normally take.
  • If I take a substantially lower dose of this medication, I become quite ill -- upset stomach, severe nausea, cramping, respiratory distress, etc. It is not fun.
  • When they wrote down my medication (we had brought in the pill bottles), they neglected to notice the #4 in the rx, and my first delivery of pain meds was a lone Tylenol #3.
  • One Tylenol #4 is exactly twice as strong as one Tylenol #3. As I begged the nurses to look into their mistake, I was quickly much sicker than I should have been at that point.
  • One nurse decided that perhaps I'd calm down if she faked me out:
    • "Oh, Mr. Sa-ool, don't worry -- our pharmacy carry very strong Tylenol #3 ... is equivalent to your Tylenol #4. Special potency from St. Mary Pharmacy. Don't worry."
  • Bitch.
  • It took two days to straighten it out -- the doctor was apologetic.
  • Meanwhile, the IV from the E.R. was leaking blood. My forearm was marked with lines of dried blood in no time. The nurses told me not to worry about it.
  • Finally, one nurse did worry about it. They tried to put a new one in the other arm, painfully sticking me two or three times before giving up.
  • It was another 24 hours until (finally) this guy Bill from the IV team came in and quickly found a new location on the same arm and painlessly inserted a new IV. More unnecessary suffering.
  • Here's one of the funniest ones. Try not to get grossed out, because it really is funny!
  • I was supposed to have "The Procedure" (upper endoscopy and lower sigmoidoscopy) at 10:00 A.M. on Friday. Two women came in to give me two enemas. One of them was a Muslim (she was wearing a hijab). This Arizona Enema Bandit was having the time of her life, twirling away -- and I started to moan a bit.
  • "Ooooh," she half-giggles. "Don't make sex sound! Don't make sex sound!"
  • Ugh.
  • At 10:40 the nurse walks in a says the procedure is cancelled because my Potassium level was sky high (or too low? who can remember?)
  • When I first sat on the Bathroom Throne, the high water level had my Twin Boys soaked in water halfway up. Thereafter, for the rest of my stay, I held up The Boys with two fingers of one hand while using my other hand to help Mr. Wonderful from also taking an unwanted bath.
  • Hospital food is supposed to be bad -- but inedible? Everything but the jello was completely inedible. Even Joannie -- who eats anything -- couldn't touch the stuff.
  • Speaking of Joannie, having your loved one around to help take care of you is a blessing beyond anything you can imagine when you don't have it!
Four days of torture -- and when I got home last night I felt happy -- yea, ecstatic!

Gonna watch my diet, drink lots of water (Evian of course) and thank God for getting me out of that place still alive.

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