Being on the other side...

  1. Jadednurse inspired me to start this thread. I don't know if it's been done already-if so I'm sure someone will inform me. She recently had been hospitalized for gallstones and said it was interesting being on the other side.
    On the 26th of this month will be 1 yr. since the car wreck that put me and my husband in the hospital for months. We are still recovering but my point is that after being in the field of nursing for 16-ish yrs. and a new grad (CNA, phlebotomist, unit sec., etc.) it was a difficult experience for me.
    I would not let let anyone bathe me but my mother(had broken limbs), got on bedpans on my own (cleaned up and changed chux myself with 2 broken legs and a broken arm), demanded to see my husbands med sheets and lab reports when they kept changing his meds, not to mention checked people who walked into our room without knocking or identifying themselves and proceeding to do perform tasks without explaining to my paranoid, head trauma husband what they were about to do. There were meds about to be given to him at the wrong time had I not spoken up and asked nurses to identify what they were giving him. A few could not-so I told them to come back to me with the drug book and MAR so "we could learn it together". Meds handed to me in a male nurse's hand when the med cup was right there on the table (I asked him,"should I assume you washed your hands after your last bathroom trip?"), CNA's walking into our room laughing and talking to each other as if we weren't there. Some of this hospital stay was at a military hospital. They tried to order him out of bed 1 day after a bone graft from his hip to his tib/fib and he had not walked in 2 months. He was in great pain and no med relief. So I had to step in on that too. I was trying to pay our bills and keep us out of debt all the while being out of state(lived in Florida but wreck and hospitalized in Louisiana and Texas from May to August). There is too much more to tell but you get my drift.

    My question is: Has anyone else had the tables turn on them? Being a medical person and then being the one in the bed? What was your experience like? I can honestly say that between the pain, disruption of my life, and watching my confused husband suffer I ALMOST wanted to literally die. Almost. Things are so much better now, BTW.
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  2. 32 Comments

  3. by   yannadey
    whew you guys certainly had a heck of an experience from the other side.
    I have been on the other side 5 times. My 2nd time in the hospital was for a thyriodectomy. I had to be on the nurses aids when I needed the bed pan brought to me & removed & the nurses when it was time for meds when I started to bleed from the surgical wound on my neck the nurses acted so nonchalant I mean I was bleeding profusely I felt I was about to lose consciosness I kept demanding she page Dr. K. but she said the Dr. K. was busy so grabbed her arm & said I am a nurse just like you & I heard the same instructions Dr. K. left, plus I mentioned the name of all the Drs. who happen to be heads of their department who had an interest in my case she ran out of that room so fast in no time she was back pushing my bed down the hallway to the OR all the time saying how sorry she was & she has never seen Dr. K. responded to his page so quickly. My 5th time was this morning(minor car accident, just back & neck pain) spent 4 lovely hrs. in the ER the nurses were caring & friendly.
    Good luck to both of you with your recovery.
    Last edit by yannadey on May 5, '03
  4. by   Gromit
    LaVorneRN -
    Now that you mention it, yes, I've been on the other side, but it hasn't really been much to write home about -except the last time. I was hit by a hit-and-run drunk (never caught. I found out who it was, but had no way to prove it, so I just dropped it. He was likely so drunk he never knew it anyway). I was riding the bike that is my avatar pic. (the pic is pre-wreck, but it looks pretty much like that now -took a long time to fix). My memories were sketchy, I had minor brain damage (from which I've made a pretty complete recovery. My memory isn't as sharp as it once was, but most of the rest of the body is fine ).
    I was flown to a local trauma-1 center (won't bother to name names) and from what I remember of the ER staff, they did a pretty decent job. The poor devil who tried to get an NG in was not doing a very good job. I actually woke up at that point, told him to use the other nostril, swallowed the end and was back out again (love to have been listening in when they talked later =wouldnt believe the patient I had today! etc etc=) On that note, I'd like to also say that this facility is also a teaching hospital. The guy who identified himself as my doctor, and a surgeon (I remember him telling me that they may have to open my head up. They thought I had a depressed skull fx). Well, fortunately they didn't have to do that, and I didn't have that, but the guy kept popping in on me, and checking to see how I was (at least he seemed to be there when I awakened. According to records, I had a licidity period that lasted 10-15mins) but I felt the need to mention this guy. Wish I'd known his name, but there were so many listed in the chart that I have no way to know, however, it meant a lot to me -he seemed to give a lot of attention to his patients.
    Can't say I cared much for the Xray tech (if he was a tech), the guy was kind of a jerk. I was in far too much pain to put any resistance up, and had my wits about me to behave. Guess the guy had a bad day, but he was trying to put me in leather restraints so he could hold my limbs in place -I told him I'd hold 'em where he wanted, but I would not tolerate restraints. He complied.
    My biggest beef is the floor care. I awoke again in my room (not sure where I was, to be honest, but it was a single bed room -quite roomy, actually, but didn't "feel" like an ICU, so maybe I was lucky and just had a private room on the neuro floor?) but I was in bed, still covered with dirt (real sand/dirt) grass clippings, leaves and twigs, in a hospital gown. They had taken my clothes, put a gown on me, I'd had head-to-toe x-ray and a ct of my head (I read all this later) but never even so much as wiped me off. Dont know about others, but in fundamentals, cleanliness was really emphasized).
    The next morning, I remember some (I assume it was an aid, but again, I really don't remember the details THAT clearly) came in with a basin of soapy water, a few wash cloths, and said 'clean yourself up. Your family is waiting to see you.'.
    Now, keep in mind, I'd been in a head-on motorcycle vs. car crash. I was on the bike. I could not move my left arm, could not stand. suffered a significant amount of damage to my left shoulder, left hand, right knee, right ankle, my head and face looked like I'd gone a few rounds with Tyson, and my bean was certainly not running on all cylinders.

    The only thing I got out of that facility was the conviction that I would NEVER work in that facility, under any circumstances. I know I shouldn't denigrate the whole facility just because of a bad experience, but I don't want to be a part of what I experienced. I take great pains to care for my patients as a tech, and will do so as an RN (soon as I graduate at the end of the year).

    One last note. I have a very high tolerance for pain, so I was not what you would call a 'whiner'. 2 wks after I left the facility, I was walking with the help of a walker and standing for a bit with a cane, but taking nothing stronger than motrin. I don't like my mental faculties screwed with
    Hope I didn't bore y'all too much.
    -Gromit.
    Rider of big cycles, smoker of fine cigars, drinker of many beers.
    Last edit by Gromit on May 5, '03
  5. by   dosamigos76
    Wow! Thanks for you that post of your experiences. It is sure something to think about.
    Cheryl
  6. by   RN always
    LaVorne, You never told me about all these experiences! I am so thankful that you and your handsome husband are recovering. That is so scary what you went thru. BTW my friend, I miss you!

    D
  7. by   LaVorneRN
    Originally posted by RN always
    LaVorne, You never told me about all these experiences! I am so thankful that you and your handsome husband are recovering. That is so scary what you went thru. BTW my friend, I miss you!

    D
    Hey Sweetie! I miss you too!! You have NO idea how much. I wish we could be working side by side!!!!
    Oh there's that and more. Everyone wasn't awful but many were and I could not believe how poor some of the care was. Sometimes if they know you're a nurse or an aide or in school it can be worse. As an aide and nursing student I had NEVER acted insensitively or inappropriate with patients and family. I always thought "that could be me or my mother" and so I treat people accordingly. As a nurse this experience can only help me. I can empathize instead of sympathize. When a patient thinks I don't know how they feel I can share this (in a smaller version of course heehee) with them.
  8. by   LaVorneRN
    Gromit and Yannadey,
    You guys know what I'm talking about then! It's frustrating to say the least, isn't it? It only makes it worse when you have repeated visits like you Yannadey or if its a long term visit for serious injury and your wits are on vacation. I felt like I was in and out of a morphine haze for the first month and a half. I was intubated in the ICU and trying to TELL the doc my allergies and ask about my husband (who was also intubated in ICU). I cried like a baby when it took 5 techs 2 hours to xray my broken legs and arm. This too was in a teaching military hospital. Everyone had to get a turn I guess.
    Gromit it's amazing you could walk away from this bike wreck. Those don't always work out so well. You have angels watching over you. Many blessings in your mission to join the ranks! It feels good to finally write that "R.N." after your name! And you didn't bore me!

    Hey Yannadey isn't it amazing how attitudes change when they realize you know their job? My theory is you should never assume the person in your care does not know "what time it is." They could be a doctor, nurse, aide, hospital administrator and hey they don't have to tell you anything. You'll find out when you start cutting up. I'm glad things worked out for you too. Luckily you were able to crack the whip in spite of your condition. Hope you don't have any more trips to the hospital, sweetie!!!! Thanks for the good luck-we're almost there.

    These things can only make us better at what we do.
  9. by   Gromit
    Yeah, its a real eye-opener. I really lucked out. I should have been killed, or at least far more severely injured.
    Have a sticker on a helmet that says "Never ride faster than your guardian angel can fly!". My cruiser is made for comfort (well, that and noise and good looking chrome..hehehe) not speed. I was VERY lucky. Know several good friends who ended up disabled for life (or dead. few years ago saw 2 friends die in seperate accidents, one who can't walk w/o help and my father with busted ribs, in the same year.)
    But what you have endured so far (and continue to endure) is something I can only sit back and say 'Kudos' to you! I hope you two make a full recovery!.
    (True words if ever there were, about the never assuming the person in your care does not know about the job. Once got engaged in a conversation about my school lessons with a patient I found out was a neurologist!)

    Have a very good day, and make a full recovery! -by the way, did I read back up there that y'all are from florida? Where (if so)?
  10. by   jadednurse
    LaVorne, glad to know I could be of inspiration! And I empathize with all of these posts. Been there, done that. My dad is a COPDer, was hospitalized in Feb. (intubated twice, almost didn't make it). He did really well, remarkably well, for the last 2 months, but things are on the downturn again, such is the course w/ COPD. I'm frightened and anxious about "the inevitable." I'm already having anticipated frustration over his next hopitalization...I don't look forward to dealing w/ the staff again. I'm trying, instead, to spend some quality time with him and when the inevitable happens again, I'll just roll w/ the punches I guess.

    But you're right. Having gone through these experiences will surely make us better, more caring nurses.

    I'm thinking of the old saying "That which does not kill us makes us stronger..."
  11. by   yannadey
    yep it's amazing how attitude can change when they realize you know whats going on. LaVorne, I'm married to a drill sgt. so being tough rubs off.... .Gromit you certainly had lady luck on your ride that day......good luck & may the healing angels continue to be with us all.:angel2:
  12. by   cwazycwissyRN
    Your stories of being on the other side, make me feel extremely greatful. I'm glad that your all safe, and here to tell us about them. Sure does make one think.
  13. by   Gromit
    Originally posted by cwazycwissyRN
    Your stories of being on the other side, make me feel extremely greatful. I'm glad that your all safe, and here to tell us about them. Sure does make one think.
    I agree. It certainly gave me a far different perspective to experience being cathed (foley) and then have an NG inserted. I always take the time (now) to explain to my patient what to expect, so there are few if any surprises.
  14. by   HRHNurse Carol
    wow, glad you are ok Gromit. Myself, after almost 15 yrs as a nurse I ended up a pt. when I had a lumpectomy, radiation and chemo in 1993. It changed how I do nursing forever. I thought I was doing well before that, being a pt. taught me how much I didn't know. Then I had a thoracotomy with wedge resect. in 1999 (they thought the cancer had spread and needed a tissue sample- it wasn't cancer) and later that yr. emergency gallbladder surg. Then last Sept. I had gastric bypass surg. It has totally been an adventure. While things have not been perfect, I still think I got great care at both of the hospitals I have been in. It was so interesting to me to see how nurses interacted with me, what they did, etc. I learned lots of stuff from them that helped me grow. When things would hurt I would just remember doing stuff on pts and tell myself, oh they handled it, you can too. I do not like being a pt, but it helped to approach it as an adventure and a learning experiance. Now, that is when I am a pt. I am not quite so relaxed about it when someone I love is a pt. I don't handle those situations well at all.

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