Hospital Nightmare and Warning

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by jhmitch, Jun 14, 2006.

  1. jhmitch

    jhmitch New Member

    Three weeks ago, I was admitted to a local hospital to have mesh removed from an abdominal hernia (my body was rejecting it). This was to be my 19th operation, so I thought it should go fairly smoothly.

    Since I am taking a lot of meds for a heart condition, high blood pressure, depression, arthritis, diabetes, etc., I gave admissions a list of each pill, dose, and the prescribing physician for each drug.

    Surgery went poorly and I ended-up staying there almost two weeks which was a complete nightmare. The incision became infected and I ran a fever of 103 for several days (I'm allergic to most antibiotics so an infectious disease specialist had to find one I could take). Another operation had to be done to removed the infected tissue.

    Evidently (and I don't remember much) I was rude and argumentative, according to a couple of nurses - though others described me as friendly and cooperative. I know I was just plain miserable.

    The point of all this rambling is that it wasn't until I was ready to be discharged that I discovered that my swollen feet, anxiety, and general misery were happening for a reason. The hospital wasn't giving me the heart meds, water pills, or antidepressants I normally took - these drugs weren't even on their list! Luckily, they did give me insulin for my diabetes.

    Had my brain not been so scrambled by fever and anesthesia, I probably would have asked to see med list sooner and may have been able to straighten this out. As it was, I was too "out-of-it" to comprehend what was happening to me.

    Once I was released and went back to taking my prescribed meds at home, there was a 100% improvement in my health, morale, mood, and concentration.

    So, words of advice for anyone taking a lot of medications for various health problems - if you have to undergo surgery, get an advocate (family member, friend) to speak for you when you can't and ask that advocate to be sure that you are getting all the meds you've been prescribed.

    For me, this was a horrible nightmare and I'll have to be half-dead before going back into a hospital again.

  2. CanBrit

    CanBrit Member

    What an absolute nightmare for you. You must be so thankful to be home.

    What an important message for us all. I must admit, I don't have a list of all the mediations I take and I'm not sure my husband would remember them all if something happened.

    Tonight I'm going to get it written down and have him write his as well (he takes quite a bit also) and make sure we each have the list on us.

    Thank you so much for a very valuable reminder.

    All the best.

    Eileen

  3. elliespad

    elliespad Member

    A Hospital is NO PLACE for a sick person. Good reminder to all that we should have an advocate, who actually knows our history and meds and is willing to fight for us, if necessary.
  4. jhmitch

    jhmitch New Member

    Thanks for your kind responses, Eileen & Elliespad!

    Eileen - Having a list of your doctors and medications is a good idea for emergencies and even when you need to see a new doctor or get lab testing (there is no shortage of paperwork for patients). You and your husband are wise to carry lists - one for yourself and one for your spouse.

    Elliespad - What this hospital experience brought home to me was just how helpless a patient can be. You can give everyone the correct information and do everything in your power to ensure a smooth transition from out-patient to in-patient, but if a mistake is made somewhere along the way and then you become physically or mentally incapacitated, you need an advocate to speak up for you - or else you are sunk.

    My husband was with me every day at the hospital and he did get a problem corrected (a nurse who was highly vindictive was removed from my care) but, unfortunately, he had no knowledge that I wasn't getting my regular meds and I was too delirious (at the time) to wrap my brain around the situation and discuss it with him.

    It is a VERY scary situation and I feel for those who can't speak out for themselves and have no advocates.

    Janice
  5. Cromwell

    Cromwell New Member

    This tells us all ask questions, double check, be vigilant, don't rely on others. What a sorry state. Good post to warn us all.

    I wish you a great recovery.

    Love Anne Cromwell
  6. mme_curie68

    mme_curie68 New Member

    In my state, you can fill out a healthcare proxy form and give to the hospital upon admission. This will allow someone who meets the legal definition of "competent" to direct your care, when you are unable.

    Being febrile and coming out of anesthesia, you aren't in the best position to make decisions.

    When my husband was hospitalized last year, I actually had to tell him to agree to nothing unless I was there speaking to the doctor with him.

    The hospital was actually going to discharge him to a rehab facility (a.k.a. - nursing home) without a definitive diagnosis for his being unable to walk! And he was ready to agree to it because he was so doped up on the medications he couldn't even REMEMBER what the doctor had said to him.

    I raised holy he**, threatened to have him transferred directly to another hospital and wouldn't you know it, they finally got him an MRI.

    Turns out he has degenerative disk disease (at 35) and two herniated disks that were compressing directly on bilateral spinal nerves - hence the inability to walk.

    I was able to get him into a skilled nursing facility where there was one other guy in his early 40's - that was as close to "age appropriate" that I could get. We got the "approval letter" for him to go to the nursing facility two days after he was discharged from the facility.

    GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR

    Anyhow, a legal proxy is invaluable.

    Hugs,
    Madame Curie
  7. julieisfree05

    julieisfree05 New Member

    Another thing to be careful of in a hospital is "drug interactions".

    I was having a short, out-patient procedure and the nurse came in to give me my "happy" shot before going into surgery. When I asked her what it was, she replied, "Demerol".

    I was WEARING a medic-alert bracelet that SAID "Allergic to Demerol" and I was taking another medication for migraines that is contra-indicated with Demerol.

    She insisted on giving me the shot, and my future-ex actually had to forced himself in between the two of us to stop her. That shot could have killed me.

    The doctor changed the order, and I had one REALLY p*ssed off nurse stabbing me with a needle after that!

    Having an advocate with you during any hospital procedure is very good idea!

    - julie (is free!)

    Words can't rebuild
    all the trust my lies killed.. - Radney Foster
  8. 69mach1

    69mach1 New Member

    i had an inguranal hernia repair back int he early 80's..i am female they said it is unusual for females to get them..but oh well...that hurt like the dickens...

    thanks for the tip...

    jodie
  9. amberdotcom

    amberdotcom New Member

    I agree and would say to everyone get someone to watch out for you if you may not be able to. And have that someone ask the nurses, doctors and anyone else they have to whether drugs and existing problems are documented in your chart.
    I can't take Demerol because it makes me vomit - and I mean violent near projectile for a prolonged period. Despite me telling the doctors and nurses this the day after my surgery a nurse cames in the room, takes out a syringe and needle and say's she has my pain shot. Very luckily I was awake and aware and asked her what it was......you guessed it, it was Demerol! And my surgeon - who was told about I couldn't take it was the one who ordered it.
    I'm not down on all hospitals and nurses,they have a lot of patient's and often do a good job but it's because they're so busy that you have to watch or have someone watch that they give you what you do need and don't try to give you what you shouldn't have.
  10. NyroFan

    NyroFan New Member

    jmitch:

    What a miserable experience. Like you I had that experience.
    You are right on the mark about getting a family advocate/or someone else who will assure you get back on your regular meds quickly.

    I am sorry you went through this. It was a 'horrible nightmare for sure.

    nyrofan
  11. Fibrqny15

    Fibrqny15 New Member

    oh you r not alone ...
    4 weeks ago I had the girleees taken out you no and I also gave the hosp-and head nurses the copy of my 8-meds 3-times a day and when I woke up the next morning the nurse said I had to wait for my doc to put it on my chart..boyyy I tell u that was the hardest 2 days I ever stayed in the hosp.and when my doc did show up he gave me a different pain pill and my high blood pressure pill only ! so I would say u r not alone.living w/fibro 5 yrs.now.
  12. JLH

    JLH New Member

    I am so sorry that you ended up so ill and had to spend so much time in the hospital. How awful.

    But you are absolutely correct on how they will not prescribe all of your home meds. I experienced the same thing myself the last time that I was admitted.

    I went to the ER for chest pains. They kept me and I gave the ER doc my long list of meds -- which I had typed out very neatly with the correct dosage, why and when I took it, etc.

    Well, when the nurse said she had my orders and was ready to wheel me to my floor, I asked her to let me look at his orders re the meds. She read them off to me and I quickly noticed that a few important meds were missing. I asked her to go catch the doc again BEFORE we left the ER and have it add them to the list.

    She came back and told me that he didn't think that I would need them for a few days!!! Well!!! Why do I take them daily for then????? I told her that they were important to ME because they made me feel better and that I HAD to take them, so he finally agreed to add them to my chart. I take something like 26 different meds daily -- you would think that the doc thought I wasn't going to pay for them when I left or something!!!!!

    It gets disgusting!

    But like everyone has said, keep your med list in your purse or wallet at all times. Make sure you have the exact name of med, the strength of the med, how much you take, when you take it, and why you take it on your list. I have so many that my list is done up in an Excel spreadsheet!!!!

    Hugs,
    Janet
  13. jhmitch

    jhmitch New Member

    I'd like to thank everyone who took the time to respond to my hospital posts and to wish me a strong recovery. You folks are wonderful!

    It is frightening to realize our allergies and prescribed medications can be so easily ignored when we are admitted to the hospital.

    Most hospital workers do the best they can coping with a lot of patients and limited staff. Also, I've noticed that when mistakes are made, they are often made near the top of the organizational hierarchy (the doctors). That was what happened in my case.

    I'm still going to an outpatient wound care center (3 times a week) and wearing a portable VAC suction machine (24/7) to try to heal my abdominal openings.

    The staff (nurses) at this wound center are absolutely wonderful. Hopefully, there will come a time when I can get back to being 'semi-normal' once again.

    Hugs,

    Janice
  14. marilynb

    marilynb New Member

    Hope you are feeling better soon. So sorry for your experience in the hospital.

    I hate hospitals! My mom was sick last year & was in & out from hospital to nursing home several times before passing away in October.

    She was on quite a few meds & EVERY SINGLE TIME she went from place to place, they would write different orders. Also, everytime she took vicoden 10/500, she would itch really bad. They put a bracelet on her & one day a nurse came in & gave it to her before I realized what she was giving her. I showed her my moms bracelet & insisted on them giving her some benadryl. She did give her that, because lucky for us, it was on her chart as a PRN because she had been itching previously.

    I hope I never ever have to go to the hospital. I would be terrified.

    Glad you made it out ok.

    Marilyn
  15. Bambi

    Bambi New Member

    then and there is a big problem with nursing homes in Texas right now according to several on that board. Family and friends might do something as simple as question the meds being given or just protest lack of some service. They are then declared "belligerent" and by court order removed from the list of visitors, even it it's a parent. They can't take the patients OUT of the facilities either. Think what these
    seniors could be going through with this medication situation!

    They say these nursing home "rules" are growing and spreading to other states. Yet another reason for families to take care of their senior parents (and other family) at home if at ALL possible!! And for us to refuse to be sent to one if there's any place else to go!
  16. PVLady

    PVLady New Member

    It makes you feel like people did 100 years ago, you only go to the hospital to die, in your case risk it.
    You should write a letter to the hospital administrator, and give copies to your doctors,and anyone else you can think of.
    That should not have happened.
    By you writing, you may prevent this from happening to someone else.
    Talk about negligence, someone does not belong working in the medical field.
    After reading your story, in the future, if I
    or any of my family has to be admitted to the hospital, I will prepare a list myself of all my meds, dosages, etc. and make sure everyone has a copy.
    If anyone is on several meds they need to be so careful and never assume mistakes won't happen.
    That means I would take several copies to even give to the nurses.
    It ashamed this happened to you.
    I hope you are feeling better.
  17. musikmaker

    musikmaker New Member

    My Mom has been ill for many years and is on several different time sensitive meds. We take a list in to the hospital everytime she has to go in.

    It is never kept straight in the offical records or they loose the list and we have to provide another. Or they just plain don't follow the list.

    You must have an advocate monitoring you maintenance meds it seems.
  18. TXFMmom

    TXFMmom New Member

    I started my response and a horror story. I mean horror story about this, and I am an RN, Advanced Nurse Practitioner and Nurse Anesthetist. Then, my FM fingers hit something and poof, it went somewhere, but where?

    I was in the hospital, in ICU, no less, when they almost let me bleed to death in 2001 from fibroids before finally getting me to surgery. I HAD NEVER, EVER SEEN SO MANY MISTAKES BY THE STAFF AND DOCTORS IN WHAT IS SUPPOSED TO BE A WORLD CLASS HOSPITAL IN MY ENTIRE LIFE.

    In ICU, with rotten care, as in I had blood all over my legs, the back of my legs, and up my back, and on my buttocks, and couldn't get the RN to bathe it off. SHE SAID SHE WAS A CRITICAL CARE NURSE, AND DIDN'T GIVE BATHS, I HAD TO WAIT TILL I GOT TO THE FLOOR.

    THEN, I WANTED MY MEDS, AND SHE WOULDN'T CALL, BECAUSE THERE WAS A HOLD ON ALL OF THEM.

    MY doctor, and the one who was covering with him are OB/GYN'S, and AS SUCH, IDIOTS, WHEN IT COMES TO MEDICINE. I AM NOT KIDDING. MEDICINE IS SO TUNNEL VISIONED NOW, THAT DOCTORS ONLY KNOW THEIR LITTLE PART OF THE BODY.

    I ONCE HAD AN ORTHOPEDIST, WHO WAS WANTING TO DO MAJOR ELECTIVE SURGERY GET ANGRY BECAUSE I CANCELLED, WITH THE CONCURRENCE OF THE INFECTIOUS CONTROL AND PULMONOLOGIST, A PATIENT WHO HAD ACTIVE TB ON HIS CHEST X-RAY. The ortho guy said he was there and the patient was there, so the surgery should go on. When I tried to explain the reasoning, he told me THAT WAS MEDICINE, HE WAS AN ORTHO AND HE DIDN'T KNOW MEDICINE AND HE DIDN'T LIKE BEING INCONVENIENCED, AND FROM NOW ON HE WASN'T GOING TO DO CHEST X-RAYS IF THEY GOT HIS SURGERIES CANCELLED. I KID YOU NOT.

    My doctor supposedly visited while I was asleep. I DON'T BELIEVE THAT.

    I started asking for my meds, as I was anemic, in pain, weak, and was in withdrawal from Effexor and the Klonapin.

    The RN just ignored me, saying I was being transferred to the floor. There was a great recliner in my room for the patients, and visitors, and I got up in that one, and it was stable. I am a big girl. They came and got mine and put a broken one in the room, and it wouldn't stay upright and I couldn't get up in it.

    Then, they told me they were going to transfer me in that broken chair, as they weren't allowed to take the ICU beds, and THEY COULDN'T FIND A STRETCHER.

    I said, well, that chair is broken. They said, well we're get extra help. My husband was there and he couldn't believe it. THEY WERE PUSHING ME IN THIS CHAIR, UNSAFE CHAIR, LAUGHING AND JOKING ABOUT TRYING TO KEEP ME AND THE CHAIR UPRIGHT. IT MADE ME SO ANGRY. THEY WERE ENDANGERING ME AND HUMILIATING ME. WE CAME TO AN ELEVATOR, AND THE THEY TRIED TO PUSH ME ON AND THE WHEEL ON THE CHAIR STUCK IN THE OPENING AND THEY TOSSED ME OUT OF THE CHAIR, AND THANKFULLY, I GRABBED THE DOOR AND LANDED ON MY FEET.

    THAT IS WHEN THE LAUGHTER ENDED, AS I TOLD THEM TO SHUT THE F UP, GET THE CHAIR ON THE ELEVATOR, AND TOLD THEM THEY WERE THE WORSE NURSES I HAD EVER SEEN.

    They put the chair on, and I sat down on the edge, and my husband gave them these looks to kill.

    When we arrived on the floor, I made them stop at the nurse's station and I asked to see the Charge Nurse. She followed us to the room, I transferred myself to the bed, as none of the fools offered to help a weak, obese patient up.

    That is when I let the supervisor and the nurses have it. Told her they had transferred me in an unsafe manner, with equipment they knew was broken, they had laughed and humiliated me along the way, and had dumped me trying to get on the elevator. My husband finally spoke up and said he had heard them say out in the hall that they hoped they could get DUMBO TO HER ROOM IN THAT BROKEN CHAIR. Their faces went white.

    That night, the RN came with my drugs and was none too friendly. I looked at them, and said these arne't my meds - what are they? She said they are yours, I said what are they, you're supposed to know and I don't recognize them. She said take them, they are yours, I said show me the drug cards and tell me what they are. YOU ARE NEVER, EVER SUPPOSED TO ADMINISTER A MED TO ANYONE WITHOUT KNOWING EXACTLY WHAT IT IS.

    She stomped her foot and said I HAD TO TAKE THEM. I SAID I DIDN'T HAVE TO DO ANYTHING, AND SHE WAS GOING TO FIND OUT WHAT THEY WERE. WHEN SHE REFUSED, I DUMPED THEM IN THE FLOOR.

    She came back 30 minutes later, and with different meds, but only my antibiotic and my iron pill and a stool softener. I asked about my Effexor and Klonapin and SHE SAID THERE WAS A HOLD ON THEM. I took my meds, and TOLD HER THAT SHE SHOULD CALL THE PHARMACIST AND ASK HIM ABOUT WITHOLDING EFFEXOR AND TO LOOK AT THE FDA BULLETIN, FOR APRIL 2000 WHICH REPORTED THAT DEATHS HAD RESULTED FROM SUDDEN CESSATION OF EFFEXOR AND THAT I WAS IN WITHDRAWAL FROM THE KLONAPIN, AS THEY HAD WITHELD IT FOR THREE DAYS, AND WITH THE ENEMIA, THE PAIN, THE EFFEXOR AND KLONAPIN WITHDRAWAL, I WAS SICK.

    She left, and about 20 minutes later, I heard her RUNNING DOWN THE HALL, WITH THE EFFEXOR AND THE KLONAPIN. I took it and thanked her.

    The next morning the charge RN came in and jumped me for dumping the meds and BEING DIFFICULT. I TOLD HER I HAD ASKED THE NURSE WHAT THE DRUGS WERE, AND SHE COULDN'T TELL ME, AND I HAD ALLERGIES AND I WASN'T TAKING ANYTHING I DIDN'T KNOW WHAT IT WAS, AND THE NURSE, BY LAW HAD TO KNOW WHAT IT WAS, AND SHE DIDN'T AND SHE HAD BROUGHT THE WRONG PILLS. THEN, SHE WAS APOLOGETIC. THEN, I ALSO TOLD HER THAT THEY HAD, AGAINST MY WISHES, REFUSED TO CALL MY DOC AND EXPLAIN TO HIM THAT WITHOLDING EFFEXOR AND KLONAPIN WAS A NO-NO. Her reply was that OB/GYN guys, didn't know anything about drugs like that. I SAID, WELL, NEITHER DID YOUR NURSE.

    HAD I NOT KNOWN WHAT TO TELL SHE AND THE PHARMACIST TO LOOK FOR, I MIGHT HAVE BEEN DEAD.

    I was pissed.

    Then, they were throwing me out way too early, considering my hemoglobin was very low, still, after all the blood, I had begun to run a slight fever, hadn't had a bowel movement and was having trouble voiding and was really sick from having been in withdrawal. They said, the insurance company said out. I asked them to call the doc to ask for one more day, and they refused and then came in to take the staples out.

    I BEGGED HER NOT TO DO IT, WITH MY HUSBAND THERE, SAID THAT WITH ME BEING FAT IT WOULDN'T HOLD AND THAT I WOULD SIGN A WAIVER AND GET TO THE DOCTOR TO HAVE THEM REMOVED. THE STUDENT NURSE WITH HER SAID THAT SHE DIDN'T THINK IT WAS SAFE TO REMOVE THEM, EITHER, BUT THE NURSE WAS ADAMENT, I STARTED CRYING, SHE TOOK THEM OUT AND THE INCISION POPPED OPEN RIGHT THEN AND THERE.

    When that happens, it has to GRANULATE IN. i WAS SICK. I have a tummy roll and they had placed the incision under, inside it and I had an incision wide open. TALK ABOUT CHANCE FOR INFECTION AND DELAYED HEALING. We had to irrigate that with peroxide three times a day and dress it and I really couldn't do it myself and the insurance company would not send a nurse.

    WHEN I SAW THE DOCTOR THE NEXT WEEK, I LET IT LOOSE ON HIM.

    HE SAID HE WOULD HAVE ASKED FOR ANOTHER DAY, HAD THEY CALLED, THAT HE WOULD HAVE TOLD THEM TO LEAVE THE STAPLES IN, AND HE HAD NO IDEA THAT THE WOULD OPENED, AND THAT HE DIDN'T KNOW IT WASN'T SAFE TO STOP THE MEDS. I SAID, WELL, IF YOU DON'T KNOW, THEN DON'T DO IT.

    HE SAID, WELL, YOU'RE A SICK WOMAN, AND I AM ACCUSTOMED TO YOUNG WOMEN HAVING BABIES. CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?

    If this happens to someone who is assertive and MEDICAL, WHAT IN THE HELL DO THEY DO TO THE OTHER PEOPLE?