Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Wherein I combine all the blogs!

I have a separate craft blog and a separate blog for travel photos, but really, I want just one blog.  So the plan is to revamp this one a little, and add in travel photos, photos of craft stuff I've made, and photos in general.

Here is the first photo:

It's a simple pair of mittens I knit and then lined with fleece. 

Happy crafting!

"How to be a Patient"

I'm going to start teaching classes on how to be a patient in the hospital.  From my most recent stays here, it is apparent these classes are very, very necessary.  Now I could go the traditional route and teach patient advocacy, and things like, "How to fill out a healthcare power of attorney," but I've got some other ideas I want to teach.  I want to teach how to make a hospital stay a pleasant experience for everyone involved.  I think it might help the staff too - and who doesn't want to help the awesome staff that makes me healthy again?

My first class would be "Patient Basics."  Otherwise known as, "Don't be a pain in the ass."

First rule:  Keep your voice at a level that won't carry to other rooms unless it's a life or death situation.

Other Important Rules:
~The "silence" button on your IV pump is your friend.  Please, call your nurse when your pump beeps and then silence it.  There is no need for you to scream and shout down the hall that your thing is beeping.

~I know being here sucks, I know you're in a ton of pain, you've told your nurse who is currently with you, that you're in a ton of pain.  Stop shouting about your pain.


~Food does not magically appear.  You have to order it and then wait.  Don't yell at your nurse because your food didn't arrive 5 minutes after you ordered it.

~People are nice if you are nice to them, in general.  Smile and talk to the staff - they are humans, too.  It'll make your stay much better.

~Say "Please" and "Thank You" to the staff.  You can't go wrong with being polite.

~Learn the difference between your nurse and your nursing aid.  Know the difference between what each can and can't do.  It'll be really helpful.

I'm going to offer other classes like "Knowing the difference between your doctors" - a class that completely focuses on the differences between medical students, interns, residents, fellows and attendings.  I will teach ways to help them learn how to be good doctors and how to take care of you at the same time.  I can also educate basics about the different specialties and when to ask for a consult or a 2nd opinion.

I think I could also offer a "Fun ways to occupy your time in the hospital" class, full of activities for every level of sickness. Even f you can't even sit up, or if you can just sit in bed, or if you can walk around the hospital, I've got fun activities for you!  IV pole riding, Code Blue Bingo, Sharps Basketball, Making art out of medical waste left in your bed - all WONDERFUL activities.

I could even teach patients how to make edible - possibly even enjoyable - meals out of the stuff that comes up on your tray!

Think I could make a career out of this?

Saturday, July 5, 2014

4th of Lucky

I thought I was having the WORST Fourth of July weekend EVER.  Like, THE. WORST.  I'm in the hospital on my favorite holiday and my husband can't be here because he's getting over a virus.  My Dad can't visit because he's on call.  No visitors.  No fireworks.  No sparklers.  No barbecues.  No picnics. No parades. No delicious brats or hot dogs.  Not even a decent burger anywhere. No fun at all.  Just a whole weekend of me, Netflix and my quilting.

My husband and my mother-in-law are packing our house for a move, and I want to be there to be involved, which has caused some friction, which has stressed us all out.  So not only is my weekend no fun at all, but it's also stressful.

And lonely - did I mention the gut-wrenching loneliness?  Despite the medical students, residents, doctors, nurses, respiratory staff, and various other staff, it's really isolating and lonely in the hospital. I often feel forgotten, too.  Sometimes, I just want to be surrounded by the people who understand me best.  It can be really overwhelming telling your life story to new person after new person.

So my weekend was already awful, stressful and full of loneliness. Then I'm doped up on Benadryl which makes me sleepy.  I was cranky, grumpy and thirteen other unfriendly dwarfs.  My doctor had told me to go to the 9th floor around 9:30 on the 4th so I could see the fireworks.  I had been arguing with my husband and feeling sorry for myself so I decided I was in no mood to do anything fun.  I had decided there was no way anything - not even fireworks - could make my weekend better.

At about 9:20 last night I changed my mind.  I decided that it was up to me to try and make the best of my terrible, horrible, no good, very bad hospital stay.  I put on my shoes, got unhooked from my IV, and wandered towards the 9th floor.  I had no clue how to get there, but a very nice resident and medical student let me ride the staff elevator up with them.

I arrived at a little sitting area with giant windows facing south.  To my amazement, we could see more than one fireworks show going off.  In all, we could see EIGHT fireworks displays.  EIGHT.  I knelt on the floor and rested my head on my folded arms on the windowsill.  I could see the fireworks and my reflection in the glass.  My glasses, my French-braided pigtails, my new pajamas and a little bit of fog on the glass from my hot breath.  All good things.  I had washed my glasses - something I don't always have energy to do when I'm in the hospital.  Also, I had the energy to wash up and braid my hair after my best friend came (a visitor!) and brought me new pjs to wear.  And I had enough breath to fog up the window.  I had enough breath to get me from my hospital room to the 9th floor lounge without a wheelchair.  And now I had eight fireworks displays at once.  

In the glass I saw a tear stream down my cheek.  I suddenly felt very foolish.  I have so much to be thankful for, and I was wasting time choosing to be grumpy.  I was choosing to not appreciate what I have and instead focusing only on the things I couldn't have.

My heart filled with a sense of love and hope.  I sat there and watched the fireworks until all the displays were done.  After the last embers fell, I said a silent prayer of thanks and returned to my room.  I called my Dan to tell him about my wonderful experience and to apologize.  I wanted to thank him and his mom for doing all the work I don't have the energy or health to do.  And I just wanted to hear his voice.  Dan tucked me in from afar, meaning he stayed on the phone with me while I got comfy and until I was almost asleep.  And while that's not as good as being in our bed together, it's good enough.  It's the best I've got available and I am grateful for it.

I'm extremely grateful for my best friend Sarah and her husband for going to Kohl's yesterday to get me more pjs and things Dan was planning on bringing me this weekend, but couldn't.  It was so wonderful to change into clean pjs.  It was wonderful to spend some time chatting with people who know me well and who were also in the same room as me.

I'm thankful for the strangers who have helped me in the cafeteria when I have been trying to juggle my IV pole, my wristlet, my phone, and a tray of food.  Their kindness means so much.  It restores my faith in humanity a little.

I'm thankful I'm getting better.  My lung functions were up on Thursday and hopefully they'll be even better on Monday when I test again.  I'm thankful for the energy to quilt while I'm here and the attention span to watch Netflix.  Sometimes I'm so sick all I can do is lay there.

I'm thankful and lucky.

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