The Nightmare Hospital Stay

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!

Screen Shot 2018-02-25 at 12.48.43 PM~Kim

45 comments

        1. There is no excuse to do harm to a vulnerable person. We are too weak to fight back. It affects your ability to heal! I had seven surgeries in that hospital and received great care except once, that memory is firmly planted in my mind as well. That time they did acknowledge fault and gave me a gift card for $20. Seriously? Weirdest moment of my life! If only I could have been able to explain the emotional toll that took on me… this kind of treatment we receive is just not OK!

          Liked by 1 person

  1. Hopefully you received a survey in the mail after you were discharged asking about your stay and you gave them an earful. If you really want to get someone’s attention, you should get the names of the hospital’s Chief Executive Officer and Chief Operating office and send them a letter describing how you were treated. If you could get the name of the hospital’s Chairman of the Board, you should copy him/her too, It would be interesting to see what kind of response you received.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Yep, survey received, returned with full notes and request for them to contact me. Never heard another word. My primary doctor did, tho. We talked about it at length. Much of it has to do with the “opioid crisis” and my so called “irrational” behavior… so the bottom line will be keeping me out of THAT hospital. Sucks but I’m done fighting with that institution. I have heard so many stories from others about much more tragic stays. I think the importance of having someone with you to advocate for you while you aren’t able to is paramount.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I am so sorry you faced all of this. There is no excuse for that kind of treatment EVER. I would suggest having a meeting with the powers that be and educate them on the treatment of chronic illness and chronic pain patients. Use this nightmare as a way to help change the system. If more of us do this they cannot continue to ignore. The drug crisis in the US is making everyone out to be “drug seeking” and it is not fair to those of us who need and use pain meds during bad flares. You should never have been treated this way and i hurt for you.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I appreciate your comment! That is true, we need to educate. The powers that be are great at circling the wagons, tho- I did find the forms that could help with our pain management. That is one positive to comeout of a horrible situation.

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  3. Damn!!
    I’m glad you were able to write about it, that was horrific.
    I’m so very sorry.
    Will there be any repercussions toward the hospital?
    This is a huge travesty.
    How can you be drug seeking when you gave pneumonia and did not ask for pain meds you asked for them to call your doctor.
    The loss of dignity.
    I’m so upset for you.
    I’m always here for you if you ever need to talk.
    Always your friend. Wen

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Wendy! Nothing will happen to the hospital. I sent my survey in. Crickets. They did talk to my doc after receiving my survey. I am completely done with them. I found a new hospital if I ever end up going again. The best thing to come out of this is the Chronic Pain Disease and Palliative Care forms. I did my best to rectify a bad situation. Yes, finally I’m done with all that! 💜

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  4. Wow! I wish I was surprised but I had a similar experience once after abdominal surgery. I was taken off the IV and given some tablets. I started feeling really sick and breaking out in a rash. When I rang for the nurse, no one came. I rang again and again, and finally I could hear a nurse screaming down the hall, “What the hell does she want!” When she got there, I’d started vomiting, and I asked, “Are you giving me anything with codeine in it?” She asked why, and I told her I had an anaphylactic allergy to codeine. She was like, “The surgeon never told us!” Ken was there by that time–I demanded another nurse and never saw her again. I tore out most of my stitches from throwing up and it extended my recovery by weeks. I hate hospitals so much.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good God! That could’ve killed you! Glad to hear you had Ken with you. Still no excuse for that nurse… What is wrong with people? We are at our most vulnerable and we are met with nurses on power trips! I just don’t get it. The nurses in Minnesota, where I live, were just on strike and won, they now bring home around $86,000 a year, (RNs). That is what a friend of mine brings home as a registered nurse anyway. I think that was a mistake for the hospitals to give in. Raise the pay and you can’t afford to employ as many people. Laundry and janitorial was cut. And nurses have worse attitudes. There is no sense of ‘patient care’ or ‘patient rights’ anymore. So sorry you experienced such horrible treatment. There is absolutely no excuse. ~Kim

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks. For my most recent surgery, Ken hovered over me like a hawk, at one point actually stopping a nurse from handing me a pill until she assured him that it wasn’t codeine or any of its derivatives. I feel so bad for people who don’t have someone there to advocate for them when they’re so vulnerable.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I feel bad, too! Good for Ken! He is a strong advocate. It is so important you keep him close when you are hospitalized. The recent surgical after care is questionable. I’ve had 7 surgeries at this hospital I talked about in my blog post. A few of them were not so great at surgery after care… gawd! Come on people! It only takes one bad experience, but so many I’ve talked to have had several bad experiences. I just have a hard time understanding this practice. Glad you are through the surgeries and out of the hospital. Whew!

          Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh Kim, I’m so sorry you had to go through all of that. I empathise, having had various experiences that ring the same bells (being ignored, not treated, made to feel like you don’t matter, nobody changing your bedding or gown as you’re left there covered in all sorts of nastiness, no medications, talk behind your back that’s insulting, the list is endless). It’s awful, and when you already feel so unwell, it’s so hard to stand up for yourself and make someone listen. I’m glad your husband was there. But patients need to be treated better than this. We’re not there for a vacation. You deserved better. It sounds very traumatic and I think you’ve done a great job in sharing this here, because it couldn’t have been easy  ♥
    Caz xxxx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Caz! You are incredibly understanding and I know you’ve had some rough hospital stays as well. It wounds us. And we are not on vacation! A little kindness is all we expect, then we find there is none. It was very upsetting. It is finally time to look at it and close the door. I would be your advocate if we lived closer! I hope you find someone you can trust, just enough, to help you through when you need it. You are a tough lady! But we all need help from time to time. xoxo

      Liked by 1 person

  6. As you can tell I am way behind on reading and commenting. First I am so sorry you went through all this. It is absolutely amazing and frustrating how terrible healthcare really is in the US. These doctors and nurses should be ashamed of themselves. I hope once your survey is read someone will call with an apology, which still doesn’t fix the terrible events you went through. I am glad your husband was there for you and made you feel a little more comfortable and safe. Take care my dear friend!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are a reading machine! Don’t make yourself ill by feeling like you HAVE to catch up! OK? Yes, that hospital stay and a couple others were nightmares. Didn’t get any response from the survey. Only got the bills… But I did fine the chronic pain disease forms so I hope these will help with hospital stays in the future for all of us! xo

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I appreciate your kindness and understanding. Life has been a mess since yesterday, but I will pick my self up and be okay. Healthcare is such BS in the US. I just really hate what you went through, but hopefully this form will help. Keep your beautiful smile!!

        Liked by 1 person

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