Thursday, June 4, 2009

home as of 10:30

It was indeed a long day, during which not much happened. Mom didn't talk very much; her aphasia is more pronounced than ever. We never got any EEG results, and the only conclusion we heard after the pros had read the first MRI was, "We need another, more detailed MRI." This didn't happen during our watch, but might happen during the night. Mom didn't get transferred out of the ICU, either, but we agree that that's a good thing: she gets more frequent care in the ICU than she would in the non-intensive section.

The real bright spot for Mom, after visits by the hospital chaplain and Pastor Jeri, was the arrival of Kay Wood, a family friend and fellow churchgoer. Ms. Wood had made plans last week to visit Mom at home today, but since Mom wasn't at home, Ms. Wood adapted to the situation and came to the ICU. Dad and I were happy to see her, and she did a marvelous job of chatting Mom up. I could tell by Mom's expression that she was doing her best to follow what Ms. Wood was saying.

We helped Mom with her meals, cutting her food up for her, sometimes feeding it to her and helping her drink by bringing the drinking straw to her dry lips (Mom hasn't been hydrating enough). Dad helped her lips out by applying some lip balm provided by the hospital. We've had to do this on several occasions, not just this time around.

Sean is with Mom as I write this; he kindly stopped over at the hospital in the evening, and will hold vigil by Mom's side for some time before he, too, goes home.

Dad and I have been told to come early again if we hope to catch the docs, so once again, we'll be waking up at 5AM and making the run over to the hospital. Traffic is great at that time of the morning: at 5:45AM, rush hour has only barely begun.

I need to make something clear to the readership about my frustration with how things have been going. I realize that the hospital isn't really to blame for most of the delays. We learned that Fairfax Hospital has only two MRIs for the entire campus, so there's always a backlog. We also learned that the folks involved with taking and interpreting the EEGs are outsourced: they're with some firm that contracts with the hospital, a fact that adds another bureaucratic wrinkle to the big picture. Delays are therefore a sad fact of hospital life, and little can be done to speed up the process.

In my grouchiness, I've been critical of the inconsistent way in which the MRSA protocol has been followed and enforced by certain staffers (the protocol itself strikes me as highly illogical), and I've talked about other problems we've had while in the ICU and elsewhere. As a result, I may have given you a negative picture of Fairfax Hospital. If so, I apologize. As a family, we're tired and frustrated and worried about Mom, and this affects how we process hospital business. But the staffers at Fairfax-- doctors, nurses, and everyone else-- have shown their overall competence time and again. As stressed as we might be, it's only fair to note that these professionals are probably just as stressed, and often seriously overworked. The nurses we've had, especially lately, have been kind, courteous, and helpful. The doctors all seem to be on the same page; I haven't yet encountered one who appeared totally clueless about Mom's case. Everyone is obviously reading the charts.

I can't promise that I won't vent on occasion about mistakes or other unsatisfactory aspects of hospital life, but I do need to be fair to the good folks who work at Fairfax. They're not perfect, but they are doing a very good job, and we have no regrets about leaving Mom in Fairfax's capable hands.

And now... bed. Up in six hours.

Whoa-- UPDATE: I just received a call at 11:05PM from Mom's nurse. Mom is being moved out of the ICU to the third floor, i.e., the non-intensive section.


1 comment:

Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

You and your family, especially your mother, have been in my thoughts, Kevin. I'll keep all of you there for a while longer . . . as long as it takes.

Jeffery Hodges

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