Friday, January 15, 2016

Lessons from the Cardiothoracic-Surgery-Patient's Mom

 Because I’m now a seasoned Cardiothoracic-Surgery-Patient’s-Mom (yes, this is another medical post—they say write what you know), here is another post on the funny side of being a CSPM.

Chocolates photo courtesy of
Wikimedia Commons
 1. CT surgery patients are hot. I have no idea why, but they are. Thankfully, I knew this before my kids’ surgeries and was able to dress appropriately. But it has led to discussions like this:

Patient: This house is ridiculously hot!

Me (imagine this spoken with a long sardonic drawl.): Really?

Patient: Yep.

Me: Perhaps it has escaped your notice that while you are wearing a tank top and shorts and have a fan blowing on you, I’m am wearing an undershirt, long sleeves, a sweater, jeans, wool socks, slippers, and a coat—and not just any coat, my middle of winter in New England coat, a coat that rated to -20 degrees.

Patient: So…you’re saying it’s just me?

Me: I think so.

2. The “recliners” (and I use the word “recliner” very loosely) that they have in patients’ hospital room for family members are not built for small people. I get that they have to be built to accommodate all body types. But a major design flaw is that they do not latch in the recline position. So if you are a smaller person, your upper body does not have enough weight to maintain the recline position. Even if you are strong enough to force it to recline and quick enough to use your body as a wedge, the ill-designed chair will return to its full and upright position during the middle of the night. (Please note: it is possible to curl up and sleep sideways in these chairs. However, this does mean that you will waken cuddled up with your shoes come morning.)

3. You are your patient’s advocate.

Me (to new nurse): Um, I realize that you have to put in yet another IV line because my offspring is blowing through IV sites at a rate of one every 24 hours, but do you see all the massive, deep bruising all over the arms and hands?

Nurse: Yeah, that looks horrible. In fact, I’m not even sure where I could insert another IV needle.

Me: That is because my offspring’s veins are very narrow. And all the nurses and doctors thus far have had to do multiple sticks to get the needle in. Even the really tiny needles.

Nurse (inspecting veins): You know, I can hardly even see the veins, they dive deep into the tissue. I don’t think I want to put this in. I’m going to put in a call to the IV specialty team.

Me: Thanks!

4. Besides being your patient’s advocate, you are also their chocolate moocher.

Me: So, uh, don’t you think it’s time for tea and…chocolate? You have that really big box.

Patient: Not really. My stomach’s not settled.

Me: Oh….

Patient: But you can have some!

Me: Thanks, sweetie. (opening the lid) Now to decide between caramel-filled dark chocolate or hazelnut crème. Yep, caring for the sick is quite the burden. ;)

1 comment:

  1. Sounds rough (except for the chocolate part). I hope the healing goes well/quickly!