The Adventure… I’m almost done!

So we’re in a real bed now, but the room is chaos.  There are supposed to be 9 beds along the wall – we’re in the corner – and maybe 8 beds along the opposite side, which is a half-wall connecting us with ER.  There are no curtains between patients; nothing.  But there are at least 5 stretchers crammed in here and there – not counting those that are in the hall because there’s no room in the inn.  And now it’s time to mop the floor.  HA!  It needed it.  I don’t need to tell you what kinds of things were all over the floor, but I’ll tell you it was BAD.  Several people were vomiting more or less into trash cans, and many … other things had been spilled on the floors as well.  So the beds are just getting squished into corners and there is NO room to walk around and the beds aren’t actually numbered, so one elderly woman got confused, and they weren’t sure who she was.  The charts are kept in a pile on a cart that the internist pushed around the room, not with the patients.  They didn’t know which was hers.  I tried to tell them she was bed 8, but they didn’t believe me.  They asked her and she was all confused.  The internist didn’t know where the bed had come from!  Thankfully, housekeeping did!  They very carefully moved all the beds back to their proper places – and she was bed 8!  Our neighbor.  Her granddaughter had brought her but then had to go to work.  She was crying when she left; so we tried to take care of Grandma, who said she was lying there praying for Christian.  So sweet.

I realized that I didn’t have Mom’s number in my cell phone (another long story – how we got the cell phones working again!); so I called Wes to have him call her and tell her where they had moved us.  I had to leave a message.  Later, Wes called to ask where I was.  He hadn’t gotten the message and Mom had called him in a panic because Christian wasn’t where he had been.  She couldn’t find us!  I went to find her and let her know we were fine.  She had been sitting in a chair in the waiting room for like 3 hours.  She hadn’t gotten anything to eat.  She was just waiting for the time when they would let her in again.  I went back to Christian’s bed and found him spattered with blood.  A mom nearby told me they’d tried (unsuccessfully) to take blood while I was gone.  The nurse came back, then, and I held him down while they took blood.  He was clearly getting stronger!  They gave me a slip of paper saying that he had get blood.  That meant we had to find 2 donors to replace the blood he took from the blood bank.  They said he wouldn’t get the blood if we didn’t GIVE.  I had had very little sleep, no food, little to drink (at that point I was doing anything possible NOT to have to use the bathrooms – including not eating or drinking.  Maybe there was a better way, but I couldn’t think of one!).  I didn’t think it was a good idea for me to give blood.  Wes had a type of malaria that prevents him from donating.  And after some of the things I had seen, I was afraid to go to the blood bank in that hospital anyway!  I asked Wes to look into that.  I took the opportunity to show the doctor the results from the tests from the previous day and she asked when the appointment was for the CAT scan.  No one TOLD us you had to make an appointment!  So I got directions to go to the door labeled TAC.  I got there and knocked.  There was no one there.  I walked around the corner and someone who must have heard what I was supposed to do told me that you have to go through radiology to get to the TAC area.  I did.  They told me there that you have to go around to the other side to the door labeled TAC.  I did.  No answer.  I must have gone around in circles 3 times (literally) before I just opened the door that said TAC and saw that it led to another BIG HEAVY door, which was ajar.  I banged on it.  It was made of some metal that didn’t make a sound!  So I called.  Someone came.  I told him I was sent to make an appointment for an epileptic boy (trying to play on the guy’s emotions).  However, he was more impressed by a gringa than an epileptic boy, so he gladly gave me an appointment for 1:00, but first we had to ask for a discount, pay, and get a statistics number.  Yeah, but at least I already knew how to do that!

One of the concerns about the family was that the mom wants everyone to just take over and do everything for her, without taking any responsibility herself.  So when she was allowed back in, I explained that I had made the appointments, but that SHE needed to go to Social Work and ask for the discount and then get in line to pay.  I told her to ask at each window where to do the next thing.  It’s pretty overwhelming to be in a place like that when all you’ve known is small-town life.  My goal was to teach her to do what was necessary so she would know for another time.  Or even just to know how to handle that TYPE of situation in the future.  She went with fear and trembling.  Her eyes were huge.  But she went.  She called a while later to say that she was only paying for the ultrasound, not the CAT scan.  Too expensive.  With her discount, it was still at least 10 days’ pay!  So we pooled our money and paid for it.

The nurse had told us we had to be escorted by the ordering physician to get the CAT scan, so we sat waiting for her to return.  Meanwhile, I realized we no longer had a stretcher, so we needed a wheelchair to transport Christian, who still wasn’t walking.  A patient across from us returned in a wheelchair, and I asked her daughter if we could use the chair when they were done.  She said she had to return it to the place she’d gotten it or she’d be in trouble.  I decided to follow her.  Leaving ER, a guard stopped her and asked if she’d left her ID card to get the chair.  She said yes and was going to return the chair.  I thought there was NO WAY I was leaving my license or passport with someone in that place!  I’d rather carry Christian to his appointments!  She’d borrowed the chair from maternity – they’re nice to ladies in need.  So… I can just borrow one of these when the time comes to take my patient to his tests?  Yup.  Just talk to the guard.  So I took a chair – see picture – and wheeled it to ER.  By this time everyone thought I was on staff, so I was able to pretty much go anywhere I wanted.  Oh.  After the blood incident, I looked for a place to wash my hands.  Not finding soap anywhere, I tapped Gordo on the shoulder and asked to use his sink, which had soap.  NO problem … but it was a different doc who kind of glared, so I only did it once.  At 1, the doc still hadn’t come.  I looked desperately at Nurse Christian.  In walked the doc.  She totally ignored him when he told her about Christian’s appointment!  I waited patiently and when she was between patients, I interrupted and asked about the escort to “TAC”.  She told me to just GO!  We took him to the door marked TAC, as we had been told.  No one answered the door.  I tried it and someone inside yelled, so I took a step back.  Oops.  By the time someone came to the door, there were several waiting and they pushed ahead of us.  Doc told us to meet him around the other side and disappeared!  WHERE’s the other side?  We walked to where I thought it might be.  Nope.  Asked someone.  Dunno.  Hmmm…. So we asked the x-ray technician, who showed us where to stand.  Meanwhile the time came for our next appt. at ultrasound, which was the most critical one because they thought he had kidney issues.  I ran there and asked the guard to tell the doctor we were there ON TIME, but had to finish the CAT scan.  Have you noticed there are a lot of guards at this hospital?  At least 8 on the floor we were on!  Anyway, the doctor finally took them in for the CAT scan.  We went straight from there to ultrasound – NORMAL kidney size, etc.  YAY!!  The CAT scan results would be ready at 3.  We knew that didn’t really matter – they just insisted on seeing the effects of the seizure activity on his brain.  We began to prepare to leave the hospital as soon after the results came in as possible.

Sorry.  I have to post the end tomorrow.  No time to finish right now!


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