Thursday, October 26, 2006

musical chairs

Dad was in four hospital rooms today, in three different wards. He woke up in CCCU (which turns out to mean "Comprehensive" Cardiac Care, not "Cardiac Critical Care"), where my brother had spent the night. I brought Mom in right away, and towards lunchtime we learned that he would be brought to a "step down" room. (We hadn't seen a doctor or heard why he was being taken out of ICU.) Around 1:30 he was put into a wheelchair (even though he was told he could not leave the bed or even sit up in it because the "central line" in his neck had a catheter leading to the heart) and brought to a double room in Oncology. The nurse had trouble getting the wheelchair past the other patient's bed, and he hadn't been transferred to the bed when we realized that this room didn't even have space for a visitor's chair where Mom could conceivably curl up to spend the night. So he was put on the list for a private room, and within the hour was installed in a private room across the hall. There was no IV pole or "pump", so the poor nurse on duty had to put in an order for one and simply wait for it to be provided. We were quite concerned that Dad wasn't getting his antibiotics, not realizing that the doses were such that it was okay (the real problem was that he was not getting another sort of infusion). Anyway, at around 5 p.m. my sister Mary (the nurse) came in and, sizing the situation up, paged the doctor assigned to Dad, who was surprised to hear that he wasn't in a "telemetry" section where he could be monitored. The upshot from that was that Dad would be moved to another room--in the exact same unit from which he had been moved yesterday.
Pardon me, but we're all feeling a little stressed and depressed.
What happens to people with no family, like the poor old man in the double room? Single, elderly, with dementia (and probably with cancer, since he was on the Oncology floor). He said he was a Third Order Dominican, and even though the dementia was apparent from his story about witnessing an Islamicist attack on a local airport, I think the Dominican part was probably true, because that isn't the sort of thing on most people's radar. So pray for him (Bernie) and for Dad (Jim). And don't forget my sister Jane, whose wedding on Nov. 11 really calls out for Dad's presence with her down that aisle. And pray for the doctors (all of them) to be enlightened in their discernment of what is best for Dad and the family, and to be more communicative!

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