Monday, October 15, 2007

Today's update

Still here, and not likely to be released before tomorrow afternoon, or more likely Wednesday.

I had a terrible night last night, thanks to a nurse who took it upon herself to decide that I didn't need the breathing treatments the doctor had ordered and that I had asked for. I was due for a treatment and feeling short of breath, but when I paged her, she ignored me for a while. By the time she came in, I was getting a little panicky, but she announced that I was fine, that she didn't know what kind of emotional problems I had, but that I needed to stop being a baby and relax.

It deteriorated further, and it eventually wound up with them giving me Ativan and leaving me alone to "get over it", which caused me to de-saturate too much. It was a real nightmare -- they didn't so much as come in to check on me while I struggled to breathe, much less give me the appropriate amount of oxygen. It was incredibly negligent, not to mention cruel, and if anything had happened to me, would have been a huge liability issue for the hospital.

I've been given to understand that occurrence reports have been filed and disciplinary measures are being taken; while I don't want to get anyone fired, it was an awful situation, and I think the nurse involved needs to be reprimanded at the least. My doctors tore the nursing staff a few creative new orifices over it, and I've been getting regular treatments today and feeling better for them.

Now that it's no longer the weekend, my regular doctors are back, and things are moving forward with the diagnosis. I had some lung function tests done earlier this afternoon, which oddly enough looked really good. My pulmonologist now feels that perhaps the asthma is not the central problem, and he's shifting me over to ENT, thinking that it might be somewhat higher up the respiratory system, maybe vocal cord dysfunction. ENT has been in for a consult, and I'm supposed to have some unpleasant tests done tomorrow afternoon involving a tube down my nose. Oh, well, can't be too much worse than an HSG...

My biggest concern over the last day or so is that I've felt a few people have been trying to pin a panic disorder label on me, particularly after last night's incidence. Now, I've never had any kind of panic disorder, and while I freely admit I've been panicky, that's... just what happens, when you can't breathe. My pulmo was really reassuring on that point today, said it was 100% NOT IN MY HEAD, and that it was a physical problem he is sure they will eventually diagnose and fix. This is a huge, huge, huge relief to me. It's sad to say, but once you get stuck in the anxiety-neurosis box, it makes it much harder to get treatment for legitimate physical problems. I'm so thankful to have skilled doctors who don't just see a hysterical Prozac candidate.

I'm reasonably stable today, if really worn out. I'm in a better place emotionally, knowing that we're getting closer to figuring it all out, but it's all tiring and frustrating, and I'll be so glad to be home. I miss my babies so bad it hurts.


Eva said...

That nurse sounds like such a nightmare! If I didn't know you better (well, I don't *know* you, but you know what I mean) I'd be sure you were making it up. I had a somewhat (though lesser) experience with an L&D nurse when I was being discharged after a bout of contractions, and the doctor told me to come back if I had 8 or more an hour, and the nurse said no, you're still having that many, don't come if you have that many. She and I were reading my print outs differently, but at that point, I'd seen so many I think I could read them better than her. It's so frustrating when medical staff treat you as incompetent or uneducated or emotional.

Hope they figure things out really soon. I'm sure you're missing those babes like crazy.

Emma B. said...

I couldn't quite believe it myself, Eva -- it was like something out of a bad 50s Joan Crawford flick or something. While I was on the Ativan, I kept wondering if I really had hallucinated the whole thing.

Sadly, my friend Stacey can verify that it really happened like that.

Y'know, most of my nursing staff has been excellent, as have almost all of my doctors. Sad to say, it really helps having a brother whom they all know -- my little brother is a 4th-year med student here, and was actually assigned to my team when I was in the ICU. This was just one Nurse Ratched, but what an unfortunate experience.

Nico said...

I really cannot believe that a nurse would think that it was okay for her to disobey a doctor's orders, and leave you alone when you were asking for her. That is completely ridiculous and totally unprofessional. I know what you mean about not wanting to get anyone fired, but at the same time, she deserves it!