I was hospitalized back in late September for pneumonia. I wrote about my stay being a nightmare. In fact, it affected me so much I could not discuss what had happened. I think I am finally ready to write about what happened.
I was treated well in the emergency room after I arrived on a Sunday night. I was admitted with chest pain and shortness of breath. I was taken immediately back to an open room and given morphine, and baby aspirin to chew. After an MRI, I was given fentanyl. I was told they would need to admit me as I had a bad case of pneumonia.
Then I was moved to a hospital room, and things went downhill from there…
I was put on the 5th floor first, the cardiology unit. I was hooked up to a heart monitor and within the first fifteen minutes, I was approached by the attending doctor who asked me if I would be willing to have an ultrasound performed by doctors who were learning to detect pneumonia through its use. I thought I should accept so they could learn. I believed an ultrasound was less invasive and by far a better option for claustrophobic patients (like me) than an MRI.
I was chatting happily with my nurse when my attending doctor walked back in with four other doctors and an ultrasound machine. By the time all five of them had pushed the ultrasound around on my back, I was in incredible pain! As they left, I told my nurse I was going to be sick! The pain had come on so strong, and so fast all I could do was throw-up and cry! My nurse asked me what was wrong with me? (I never put it together, the ultrasound had triggered a severe fibro flare.) I told my nurse I was a chronic pain patient and would need to be treated. I pleaded with him to contact my primary care doctor. He walked out the door to talk to two other nurses who were sitting at a desk facing a window that looked directly into my room.
I could hear him mumbling something to the two female nurses. I heard “drug seeking…” and for the next 20 minutes as I sat in the room crying and throwing up as they discussed what they had done that weekend. (It was now Monday.) They laughed a lot.
My Mom called, all I could do is cry and say ‘pain.’ I held the phone up, and my nurse came in, I managed to tell him to talk to my mom. I listened to him calm down my mother. Brush her off. But she didn’t stop, she called my husband and told him about the troubling state I was in. He told her he was on his way.
I was moved to the 4th floor. My husband didn’t know where to find me and had to search. I don’t know to this day what unit I was on. I just knew it was the 4th floor. I was hooked up to IV antibiotics and told by the attending physician I would need to see a pain doctor, he wouldn’t be in until after 5 the following day. The nurse brought me two Tylenol and disappeared. My fever was raging, I was dry heaving now. The two, unit nurses were in another patients room for 3 1/2 hours. I saw no one. Then my assigned nurse walked in to write something on my chart. She flippantly asked how I was? I told her to get out of my room. She obliged.
My husband arrived. He took my temperature and started applying cold washcloths to my head. I was burning up at 102.9 degrees. I was adamant that ‘they’ were trying to kill me. He had brought some medication with him, extra-strength Tylenol PM and my regular daily medication but no pain medications. We told no one. He stayed with me through my delirium. He pulled out a sleeper chair and placed it in front of my bed so no one could reach me without going through him. There were a few disagreements between my husband and the nurse. It stormed all night long.
I don’t remember much else than pain and the storm raging outside. I knew my husband was there and finally felt safe.
After a quick chat with the pain doctor on Tuesday evening, he ordered oxycontin and was gone. It only took about ten minutes until I was given the oxycontin. I immediately felt the pain lift after the first dose of the pain medication. I had a restful night sleep and the next day demanded to be released.
My room was never cleaned. My bedding was never changed. I was never given the option to change my hospital gown. I was covered in vomit and sweat.
I left that hospital on Wednesday, vowing to never return.
Since that stay, I found The Chronic Pain Disease and Palliative Care Forms. I have made them available on my site. These forms will ensure we will continue to be treated for our chronic pain while we are hospital patients. Print out your form!