Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Home from the hospital, and I am so, so glad.  

I remember waking up in the PACU in searing pain.  Every other time with the surgeries on my L leg, I woke up with a catheter and a PCA.  This time?  No PCA, no catheter.  By the time I got upstairs I was crying non-stop, I was in that much pain.  I kept begging them to do something about the PCA, but no one would listen to me.  Believe it or not, they wanted me to get OOB and sit on the BSC.  I refused.

That night was horrible; I couldn't rest because the pain was relentless.  The best way to describe it was non-stop pain in my heel that felt like throbbing, electric jolts;  burning as if my leg were in fire;  and, feeling as if a bunch of rats were gnawing on my heel.

The next morning was no better.  A nurse practitioner came in, and when I asked her about a PCA she said, "We don't do PCAs."  She had absolutely no compassion whatsoever.  She did end up relenting when it came to the catheter, and by mid-morning I at least had a catheter.  When it came to the PCA though, she couldn't have cared less.

The first day after surgery was even worse than when I woke up after surgery.  I am on long acting pain medications due to cancer and neuropathy.  For some reason, they chose to not restart them, so I was going into withdrawal on top of everything else.

Finally around 4:00pm, my father called the surgeon's office, and by 6:00pm I had a PCA.  I finally was able to get the pain under control and do all of the things they want you to do  post-op: cough and deep breathe, sit out of bed in a chair, eat, drink, etc.

The next morning the foley was taken out, then I got my long-acting pain medication.  Around 12:00pm the PCA was D/C, and I was comfortable from thereafter.

On Friday morning, a nurse practitioner from the palliative care and hospice dept. came in to talk to me.  She said she had heard about what happened to me, and she apologized over and over.  She said I should never have been treated that way.  I told her that I was concerned because I will be having surgery again.  She told me that if I need surgery again to give her a call, and she will make sure I am on their list of patients to follow.

This has always been a great hospital, but that nurse practitioner from the pain mgmt. dept. was ridiculous.  What I really don't get is why she wouldn't restart my home meds; if she wasn't going to manage my pain appropriately, then at least let me have what I take at home.  I'm not big on reporting people, but I am going to say something when I see my ortho.  If I were absolutely positive I had her name right, I would go to her manager, too.

I am now a firm believer in having a family member at your bedside when you are hospitalized.  My parents were there a good part of the day; if they hadn't been, I believe I wouldn't have gotten that PCA.

What happened to being an advocate for your patient?  With the exception of one nurse, most of them just shrugged their shoulders as if they were helpless.  What happened to going up the chain of command?  Certainly that NP was not at the very top of the food chain.  I know what I would have done if the situation would have been reversed.  How can I know?  Because I've done it.  How you could just stand idly by while your patient is crying in pain.  Do they just not care anymore?

What a sad state of affairs we've come to!  




  1. Never once did you mention being seen by a physician. Part of the problem, perhaps...? Sorry to hear about that experience. Glad you're home now! :)

  2. I saw an intern one day when the dressing needed to be changed. I think my attending came in very early in the morning one day, but I was pretty sleepy. My mother said that a resident came in once, too. I remember begging the PACU nurse to do something, but she said something like "I don't think the resident is done writing orders (He was). Smooth...pawn it off on someone else. I have never been a big fan of NPs to begin with, and this experience has made how I feel about them even less positive.

  3. Passing the buck isn't an option when you're the attending. ;)

  4. I saw my surgeon yesterday. It's a bit complicated, but it really was not his fault.

    Passing the buck is unacceptable, no matter what your role is.