Laying It On the Line

So, what does a blogger do when admitted to the hospital? Takes notes and meditates on blogs to write.

Sounds simple.


I arrived at the hospital without paper, pen, or computer. How to make notes? Ask.

So they brought me a pen. I found myself taking notes on the back of a tissue box.

Five days later I’m home again. Now to reconstruct.

I arrived at the Emergency Room about 8 p.m. Diagnosis: asthma attack. Solution: nebulizer treatment and prednisone. Been there many times. But this time it didn’t work. They ordered up a second nebulizer, and a third, and a fourth. No progress.

So admit. By now it’s 10:30 p.m.. I hadn’t slept well the previous night (having tested an Adirondack ER with the same problem and same result and having been brought back to Sharon by my brother) and was fading. But they went through the admissions procedure and got me to a room by midnight. There, I was re-interviewed by the floor nurse and other tests and procedures were provided. Among the questions asked was, “Did they explain your Patient’s Rights?” “No,” I replied. She went on to the next question and that was all I ever heard on that subject.

Among the new procedures were an IV post providing (I think!) a steroid and a saline solution. It had an annoying habit of going “ka-chink . . . ka-chink” every twelve seconds. Having nothing better to do, I timed it.

I got the light in my room out about 1:45 a.m. It went back on just after 2 a.m. with a technician beside the bed to “take your vital signs.” I thought too late of saying, “My blood pressure is rising.”

After all that albuterol, I didn’t really expect to get to sleep, and even turned the light back on after a while and read (at least there were books in my luggage and that was now in the room). I wasn’t aware of sleeping, but I was wakened about 4 a.m. with another technician to check my vital signs.

“Are you sleeping well?” she asked! “No,” I said; “people keep waking me up.”

It has been well said that a hospital is no place for sick people. They try, but they do tend to forget that there are sick people around and they may have special needs!

I still haven’t slept well in five days. But now I’m home and using less albuterol. So we shall see.

One more comment. No member of the medical or support staff – from doctor to x-ray technician – ever used properly the verb, “to lie.”

For example: “Please lay over there.” “While you are laying there . . .”

Am I a hen? Does it never occur to a medical school or hospital training program that people looking for well-qualified and intelligent medical help will not be reassured by exposure to a world in which no one speaks proper English?

I am planning a very polite letter to the hospital management suggesting a short course in proper English for all levels of staff. They were nice people and did a good job, but . . .

The doctor who says, “Lay down there,”
When I first place myself in his care
Makes me ask what he knows
Because here, where it shows,
He’s dead wrong. Let the patient beware!

[The diagnosis du jour is a Lyme Disease flare-up that triggered the asthma. That leaves a lot unexplained, such as why Lyme Disease when I haven’t been tick-bitten in months (Lyme Disease, they tell me, can resurface after years) and why asthma is worse when combined with Lyme. Further tests are pending. But I’m home and hoping not to be waked up at 4 a.m. tomorrow!]

p.s. I have material for several more blogs!

1 Comment

Mother BonnieAugust 17th, 2006 at 9:04 am

Ah Beowulf. Having been hospitalized for about ten various weeks of the past sixteen months, let me tell you that your lay problem is of a piece with the hopefully problem. Hopefully the doctor will be in today. He’d bloody well better be hopeful. And the noises made by IV’s especially when they run out and you have to call the nursing station ten times to get somene to come down and replace the solution, and the noises made by the morphine pump, and the person who comes in at 10 pm to drag you out of bed and weigh you even though you have four drains in your gut, and two IV lines and a Foley catheter, and they want you to get out of bed and stand on a scale? It’s like Monty Python sometimes, except it isn’t funny.
Oh yeah, and when you say you can’t sleep, they give you Ambien and then you have nightmares.
Lyme can recur. That much we know. Why or what to do about it is another story.
Sorry you are having a hard time. But stick with Beowulf and don’t get into a medical blog. Too depressing.

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