Sunday, February 12, 2006

Part 3

So,after the head thing and the boob thing I got sick.Terrible cramps and stomach pain with nausea. I went to the emergency room and nothing interesting showed up and they said "it's just gastro" and sent me home.
Two weeks later it got worse and back I went to the emergency room. This time all the tests screamed something is wrong. I was prepped for surgery and everyone's hopes were pinned to a bad appendix and not a blocked bowel. Hilariously I had the same anesthetist. I had just seen him three weeks prior for my lumpectomy. We exchanged some good gossip about our respective hospitals and in I went.
Luckily it was a sad,beat up appendix that was causing all the angst. My bowels were cheerful and healthy.
Appendicitis is a tricky thing. It is usually a teenagers affliction. Some common signs are right sided belly pain that gets worse when pressure is first applied and then released. On release the pain will spike.Some have pain at the bellybutton. Usually nausea is present but not always. You almost always will have a temperature. Your white cells will be increased, showing that your immune system has been triggered by infection.
Our newest gold standard is the CT . Historically a lot of perfectly innocent appendix have been ripped from their homes as surgeons hate to open someone up and not cut something. Because your appendix serves no purpose it will always get blamed even if innocent. No surgeon wants to come back to the patient and say "well we opened you up, made a really big scar and found nothing..sorry!" Better to take the appendix and say "hey! it could have been him, he looked really guilty"
My appendix was not innocent, according to witnesses he was a nasty piece of work that deserved his fate.
So a CT will now diagnose appendicitis, seems pretty expensive but it's better to avoid any surgery if you can.
I cannot believe how much better I felt after dumping my appendix.
Nurses are prone to irritable bowel,chronic constipation etc etc because we work shifts and we eat badly in the middle of the night. I had blamed my job for my bad gut and it had been my appendix the entire time.
So this was the beginning of a really bad year and it wasn't even March yet.
I guess I don't need to say I was feeling pretty discouraged and maybe a little cursed..I had no idea what was coming.

Just a note that I believe I had the worst day of my career today. It had nothing to do with my patient who was lovely. The family was a nightmare. I have never been met with such hostility and belligerence..ever. Never in my career have I had to ask a family to leave because I thought if they didn't I would start screaming at them. Being far,far away from them I can feel sorry and embarrassed for them.They were pathetic but being subjected to them was an assault. In the real world they would have been arrested but in the hospital world we make up excuses and accept behavior that would get you beat up if you were a civilian.
What demon possesses people when they enter a hospital? What logic are you using that says: I will piss off every member of the healthcare team, I will insult all their colleagues , slag their workplace and their manager and expect the very best care available anywhere?
I am a human being, if you verbally assault me I am not going to be inclined to offer you anything more than a frigid politeness , you are going to get over the top nursing care (because I know you are desperate to sue and I am covering my ass completely and ridiculously) but I wont waste a moments compassion on you and all information will have to wait until a doctor is willing to talk to you. The doctors don't want to talk to you either so don't expect anything but required politeness there. So, congratulations dumbass you have made this experience ten times worse and even more tragically the patient will be subjected to more tests, invasive or otherwise because all of us are covering our behinds. We know all you want to do is sue someone, anyone and it wont be us. How sad is that? Pretty damn sad in my opinion.
I know it would never happen in the US, only in Canada do we have this nasty personal entitlement crap.


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