So what a weekend we had. It all started about 12 AM Friday morning. Dennis, my husband, started complaining about abdominal pain. By 2 AM it was bad enough that we decided to go to the local emergency room. I told our oldest two sons what we were doing. Our second son chose to come with us, which I really appreciated. When we arrived at the hospital, you would know that I we got the one doctor in the Emergency Room that we had already had one bad experience with when we brought our oldest in with Lactose intolerance issues.
Of course, he proceeded to automatically give morphine as the first go to medicine. Even after a second dose, my husband’s pain was not being managed. Finally, they switched to a different medicine, which provided relief. We expected to stay for a couple of hours and be releases. Instead we were told he would require emergency surgery to remove his gall bladder. So they moved us to a room and he was formally admitted. Eventually the surgeon came in to see us. There were irregularities with several tests, so after more consultations and more discussion among the doctors, the surgery was cancelled.
Instead they opted to keep him overnight and administer IV antibiotics to him. We were told he would be released the next morning. I stayed with him several hours and finally went home. At that point I had been up almost 40 hours straight. Once I arrived at home, I tried to rest and relax, but knowing he was at the hospital alone, that was hard. At 4 am I was awake and basically dozed until 5 am. At that point I woke up and could not go back to sleep, so I laid there and prayed.
About 7 am I got up and dressed. Then I gathered some things to take with me to the hospital. About 10 am, a different surgeon walked in and upset me with his first words, basically insinuating that I was my husband’s personal property like a chair or something. Things went further downhill when he said he was going to keep him until Sunday morning with no good reason of why it was necessary – beyond saying because he wanted to keep my husband in the hospital. We both believe he wanted to keep him only for the money that he would receive from Dennis remaining in the hospital. He also clearly implied that we should not even expect him to go home on Sunday, in fact he may have to stay longer. I questioned this and the doctor basically took my head off and made it clear that my questions or thoughts were not welcome. Rather than losing my temper, I told my husband I was leaving for a bit and would be back.
I went down to our van and prayed a little bit before returning to his room. At that point, I decided I need to get away from the hospital and the doctors, so I drove home to get some things for my husband – namely his school books for his masters degree in divinity that he just started working on the prior weekend. While I was at our home, I spoke with my husband who told me another doctor had been in, general medicine, and she felt that there was no need for him to remain overnight. She also stated that removing the gall bladder should not have been the first choice. And as the day progressed, I really had to question the level of professionalism of some of the doctors and other staff members including his nurse. How are family members and patients supposed to have clarity and be sure they understand things, if the doctors and nurses refuse to allow questions?
Around 2 pm, the surgeon came in and stated he was discharging my husband. Now with no further clarification or other information, beyond the need for us to follow up with our family doctor, we assumed that meant we were getting ready to get out of the hospital. An hour passed and then almost another hour, and someone came in to take his vitals. At the same time, the on-duty hospital administrator stopped in to see us and how things were going. We told him that things were going okay and that we were just waiting to be discharged. He said he would see what he could find out for us.
My husband’s nurse came in the room. She told us the doctor wanted us to stay until after dinner to see how he did with food. That meant he would not be discharged until at least 7 pm. I said in a calm and rational voice, “It would have been nice if the doctor had told us that.” She essentially stormed out of the room.
She left the room and came back. About the time she came back, my husband was on the phone with his mother in North Carolina. She had called to see how he was doing and what was going on with Dennis. At the same time, the nurse came back and you could tell she was angry with me. She did not want to talk to me and did not appreciate my husband being on the phone. impatiently stated my husband had three choices: 1) be discharged immediately; 2) get pain medication for his headache and have to stay at least 30 minutes after receiving the medicine or stay until after dinner to see how he did. I told her we would let her know what we decided once my husband finished talking with his mother.
Of course, my husband decided to be discharged. The nurse brought back his paperwork and had him start signing the forms. No clear discharge instructions were given or anything like that. When she stated that he had two prescriptions, I walked over to ask for them. She literally threw them at me. I was never as thrilled to leave a place as I was to leave that hospital that day.