Wednesday, January 21, 2015

This was unexpected

Danny's first words of the day:
"This (amount of pain) was unexpected...I wasn't prepared."
I had to laugh because there is not one thing about sewing a patch to a lot of my abdominal muscles that sounds easy to deal with! Danny has been known, on many occasions, to explain to the kids and I that our pain can be controlled/managed by putting it out of our mind. So today I took advantage of his "painful situation" to ask him to agree to never tell us that again and he agreed. I hope he remembers our deal when he's feeling good again!! 

Because the medicines so far haven't been able to manage his pain, Danny was put on a PCA pump...that's the pain pump that gives him medicine through an IV when he presses the button. With the pump comes a sensor that monitors CO2 to make sure the patient is still breathing I guess. Anyway, here's a little video of Danny sleeping...LOL

Danny is in a semi-private room because that's what is automatically done for the general surgery patients, I guess. As an LVAD and transplant patient, Danny has always had a private room for germ control since he's immuno-suppressed. The other guy's family was here a long time last night coughing, using the (shared) bathroom a lot and even pushing that guy's tray, WITH HIS URINAL on it into Danny's half of the room. A part of the door curtain had been left open by the nurse when she ran in to help the guy get up. He was walking around the room in his underwear and fell. I asked the nurse (in a quiet voice so as to not possibly offend the other patient or his family) if it was normal protocol to have an immuno-suppressed, transplant patient to share a room with another patient. She said "well this is a semi-private room so it is what it is." Because we still didn't feel quite certain that the circumstances were what is best for Danny's care, I emailed his transplant nurse who personally follows his care closely. Then the other patient's friends came to visit, who all used the patient bathroom and to make things more exciting, they had a long, loud conversation comparing their DWI's. No, I'm not joking. Finally they left and Danny and I tried to get some sleep...nope! His pain was so bad that he couldn't sleep. Also, he hadn't gone to the bathroom since 9:00 am yesterday morning and after hours of trying to use the urinal, the nurse catheterized him. Never a fun thing! 

This morning was when it got crazy. The other guy's doctor came in and went into his curtain/door. They were talking about the guy's staph infection on his leg and that he will have to go home on antibiotics and a wound vac because it's still draining. Yep, that's right my husband with a suppressed immune system is sharing a room with a dude with a staph infection. I realize that his infection won't jump off his leg and fly through the air onto Danny's body....but that's not the point. It's still a risk. The kids and I wear masks around Danny if we are sick because we know he's very susceptible to getting sick. 

After Danny and I talk some, and we get input from our parents, we decided that I would walk over to the cardiac area and talk to Danny's transplant nurse. She said that everything is probably ok with infection, but they always prefer their patients to be in private rooms because the risk is too great. She said she would talk to the cardiac doctors and asked us to talk to the charge nurse. When I got back to the room, Danny called and asked to speak to the charge nurse. I explained our concerns about sick family members visiting and sharing a bathroom/room with someone who has a staph infection. She said she understood our concerns and wanted to know if I wanted a bedside commode or if I'm requesting a private room. I felt very uncomfortable and almost like a snob for wanting a private room. However, I mustered up the courage and said yes, I would prefer that Danny  have a private room. She said that private rooms are very scarce but she would see what she can do. 

Hours later we hadn't heard anything from the charge nurse. A patient care advocate happened to come in on a routine visit to tell us about his patient rights and how to contact them if we have a complaint or problem. Danny asked me to tell the advocate about the whole situation and we went out into the hall to talk. That wasn't fun because the nurses can see me obviously complaining to the guy. Not long after, the transplant doctor on call came to visit Danny and was so upset about the whole thing. She said that it's stupid to put a transplant patient in a hospital room with another patient with who knows what diseases. She also asked us to contact the patient advocacy people because apparently transplant patients getting private rooms on the general surgery floor is an ongoing battle. 

The guy next curtain was discharged and his half of the room and the bathroom were both cleaned. The charge nurse who is here now is trying to find a private room...but they are scarce. So at this point, I think we have done all we can do. 

The good news is that Danny's pain is finally controlled with the PCA pump. The bad news is that he can't go home with the pump and will have to be weaned off to oral pain meds. That process historically has taken Danny a couple of days so we will be here longer than expected. 

He has until 6:00 pm to go to the bathroom on his own or the nurse has to put in another catheter. I forgot to mention this part earlier, the catheter was pulled out this morning to give him the day to "try to make something happen, " according to the doctor. Danny has been trying to pee all day with no success so far. It's 3:00 now, so he has 3 more hours to get that urinary system going! 


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