Friday, March 29, 2013

Personal Hospital Records

I recently received my personal hospital records in the mail.  (I had ordered them back in mid-December, and it took them this long to get them to me!)
The records date back to 1988 so there was some interesting reading.  (It seems my tinnitus dates at least that far back.  Fascinating!)
But the bulk of the record concerns my most recent stay in hospital (January 2012) for my total hip replacement.  Even that record contained some interesting enlightenment.
Did you know that the attending nurses listen to the patients when they are on the phone?  Yes, they do and they record the gist of those phone calls on the patients' files.  (Note to self:  Next time you are hospitalized, be careful.  Be very, very careful!)
As well, there are occasions when the wrong information is recorded against a patient's file.  In those cases, a line is drawn through the entry and the word "error" is written over top.
There were several such entries against my file for some reason.  I'm guessing it was because there was so little to record about me (and so much to record about the numbnuts patient in the bed beside me), that the nurse felt compelled to write something on my file.  (I know that's not likely but it sounds good, doesn't it?)
In one instance, an entry that I know is an error was not scored out.  So the record stands that on the morning of February 3rd (the day before I was released), I "reported blood on my underwear" after a visit to the washroom and an examination of my vagina revealed no tear.  That never happened!  The next day, my file contains an entry that was subsequently scored out as an error.  "No vaginal discharge noted."  Seems evident that the entry for the previous day did not apply to me since the entry for the next day didn't apply.
This leaves me to think that on release from hospital, patients should be given the right to review the file that will form a permanent record of their stay.  That way, the record can be corrected in a timely fashion.
While it distresses me that my file contains that error, what I find even more disturbing is the fact that the record of the surgery itself does not include a reference to the fact that I woke up during the surgery and spoke to the anaesthesiologist, that immediately upon waking in recovery I reported having wakened during the surgery, that the anaesthesiologist was called to come to talk to me about what happened, and that I retained the memory of having wakened up.  
Although the descriptive record of the surgery does not indicate that I woke, the Anesthesia Record contains the following entries:  
  • 8:38  Surgery Start time
  • 8:45  (Upper airway obstruction secondary to additional fentanyl IV re:  c/o pain intermittently)  (Note:  this is when I woke up -- a mere seven minutes into the surgery!)
  • 8:55  (Convert to GA; bolus PPF and LMA insertion with transient drop in Sp02; promptly recovered with establishment of PSV back-up mode)  (Note:  GA is general anaesthesia; Bolus PPF refers to the IV insertion of Propofol, the anaesthetic that killed Michael Jackson; LMA insertion is a Laryngeal Mask Anaesthesia which enables the anaesthetist to channel oxygen or anaesthesia gas to a patient's lungs during surgery; Sp02 is Oxygen Saturation; and PSV is Pressure Support Ventilation -- a method of assisting spontaneous breathing in a ventilated patient). 
  • 9:42  Surgery End time
So, it would seem that with the delivery of intravenous fentanyl, I experienced an upper airway obstruction (I started choking).  Then, when they gave me general anaesthesia to knock me out (I kept telling the anaesthetist that I was awake and she had to tell them to stop what they were doing until I was asleep again), I had serious breathing problems and they scrambled to "recover" me.
Nice going docs!  You were warned ahead of time that I had breathing issues with anaesthesia.  Perhaps you should have listened to me.
My problem with the foregoing is that never once while I was in the hospital did anyone approach me to discuss what happened. Well, the anaesthesiologist was called in to see me in recovery to tell me that I had awakened and was "quite agitated" so she had to give me general anaesthesia "for a short time" during the surgery.  (If you look at the timing above, I was given GA for almost the complete surgery -- close to an hour!)
The first near-miss for me occurred back in 1982 when I had my bunions removed.  But that time, the surgeon was good enough to tell me that they had "almost lost" me on the table.  He is the one who explained my difficulty with anaesthesia and how it should be handled in future. Thirty years later, it only took seven minutes into the surgery before they ran into problems, and serious issues arose immediately upon administration of the general anaesthesia.
I strongly believe that I should have been told about the challenges that occurred on January 30, 2012, so that I would be fully informed and could share the information when preparing for any future surgeries.
Now I have it in writing.  You can be sure I'll be taking a copy of the Anaesthesia Record with me when arranging any surgeries from here on out.
What should you take away from this?
If you have had surgery, or if you have a surgery in future, ask for a copy of your complete hospital medical report.  I think everyone should have complete information about their own health.  Obviously, the doctors aren't going to tell you!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Another "bad hands" day

Well, here we go again.  My hands are worser (sic) than ever today.
And this time, it's my own damned fault.  I know exactly why they are so sore today.
Yesterday, enjoying a second consecutive good day, I went to Walmart to do some shopping.  Amongst my purchases were four (4) flats of water.  (I refuse to drink the well water here.)
I moved those flats from the shelf at the store into my cart, from the cart into my car, and from my car into the house.  (John was not home so I did it my own self!)
There were other items that had to be brought into the house but I used my stair lift to move stuff up to the living quarters of our home.
Today, I'm paying the price big time.  And those flats of water were the significant culprits.  
Yes, I got the lecture from John this morning when he found out what I had done.  Next time, I'm to leave the stuff in the car until he gets home.
My reply?  "I know I could do that.  But when I can, I do.  I hate being an invalid."
Actually, what I said was, "I hate being inVALid."
Because really, this business of having to limit my activities makes me feel invalidated.  Silly perhaps, but that's the effect all these limitations have on me.  And I don't like that feeling, so whenever I can, I do.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Have I turned a corner?

I had a remarkably good day yesterday, insofar as pain and energy level are concerned.
My hands were not nearly as sore as they have been for the past while.  And my energy level was unusually high.
I know not the reason for either change, but I'll take it.
Yesterday was physio day so that meant making the round trip into the city, which was not too difficult this time, I must say.  (Listened to my new Rodriguez CDs all the way -- good music that!)
Prior to leaving for the city, I did my 20 minutes on the treadmill too!
Then en route to the city, I made two errand stops to pick up stuff that we need for the house.  (By making the stops on my way into the city, I can come directly home after my physio and get maximum benefit from the session.)
The only difficulty I noticed during the drive was with my right shoulder.  It doesn't like being extended so I can no longer drive with my hand at the top of the steering wheel.  (I know, one is supposed to drive with one's hands in the ten and two o'clock positions.  Does anyone actually do that any more?)
My right hip started objecting at about the half way mark but that's par for the course really.  That's not going to change.  In fact, it's only going to get worse until the hip is replaced.
All in all, it was the best day I've had in several weeks.
Perhaps it's actually taken this long for my body to rid itself of all that prednisone?
Today, so far, appears to be sizing up as a similarly good day.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Wear purple today

Unfortunately, I don't own any purple clothing.
But I am epileptic, I am aware, and I am supportive.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Seriously bad hands day

Today, my hands are beyond sore.
Typing is particularly difficult.
Therefore, I will once again resort to images to convey my thoughts.
(Unfortunately, I didn't create the above message so I can't correct the error in the third line.)

In spite of the weather,

Saturday, March 23, 2013

One step forward, two steps back

That's what the past two weeks have felt like.
I'll have a good day and be able to achieve all sorts of tasks.
And that day will be followed by one of not being able to put one foot in front of the other.
Feeling like I've run a marathon the day before.
Or been beaten up by the Mafia mob.
Or fallen down a steep flight of stairs.
Or been run over by a dozen Mack trucks.
Take your pick.  Whatever the affliction, it's a horrible way to spend a day.  And I've had too many of them lately.
The strangest thing is, each time I experience a flare-up now, I'm left with another part of my body (usually in the hands) that doesn't want to recover.
First, it was the ring finger of my left hand.  Since last September, I've been unable to wear my wedding band because of the swelling that will not subside.
Next, it was the index finder of my right hand.  Do you know how many tasks you do in a day that call on the index finger of the dominant hand?  Many.  Of that I can assure you!  Not the least of which is controlling the mouse. (This could become serious folks.)
Then, it was my left elbow.  Makes reaching for and lifting my wine glass very painful.  (We're getting into extreme territory now friends.)
The latest is my wrists.  Both hands.  Need I ask how many times in a day one performs a task that calls into action one's wrists?  It's amazing how little you think about it until you have pain every time you use them!
This is truly becoming a matter of deep concern.
One would think that the medical community being what it is would by now have come up with something that would relieve inflammation and pain in someone like me who cannot tolerate ASA or anti-inflammatories.
Surely there must be something that would work.  And we need to find it before I lose total use of my limbs.

Friday, March 22, 2013

It's been seven months since I shaved my head in support of my step daughter-in-law.
I've had two haircuts to "fix" the growth in the intervening months.
This is what I have now.
It's not a whole heck of a lot different from what I started with (before the shave).
I'm getting there.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Genealogy and Grandsons

My grandson is so much fun.  He does my heart good.
The other night, he was looking over his mother's shoulder as she completed yet another on-line survey.  To the "what is your ancestry" question, she had checked off "British (UK)" when he reacted with, "Hey, that's not right!"
She told him it was indeed right and proceeded to give him a lesson in genealogy, showing him various pieces of my work.
He was enthralled, and peppered her with numerous questions, each answer eliciting more surprise.
"Is that right?"
When she told him about there being a cousin in England who shares her name, he was amazed to learn that his mother's middle name is Cheryl. 
"What?" he exclaimed.  "Your middle name is Cheryl?  How come I didn't know that?"
At one one point, he covered his head in anguish and declared, "Gosh, I'm almost twelve and there's so much I don't know about my family!"
Oh, my striking young man.  Just as your mother has always done, you make me laugh!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Happy First Day of Spring

It is.
It's the first day of spring today.
The calendar says so.
And with luck, by the first day of summer, the snow will be gone!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Is Spring EVER gonna get here?

Seems like Spring is taking an awfully long time getting here.
Bitterly cold outside again overnight last night -- March 17th, St. Patrick's Day!
The birdies are supposed to be arriving.  (Some have arrived already and are being challenged to find food.)
The grass is supposed to be rising.  (You'd be hard pressed to find any greenery around here!)
Tonight, so says our weatherman, we're getting more of the white stuff.
And that damned white stuff will continue coming down for the next three days!
(Daffodils in Bloom by John T. Fowler)
It'll be a while before we see daffodils in bloom.
Spring you say?
Tell that to someone who'll believe you!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Woo hoo!

Remember my 60th birthday when my little chickadee 'surprised' me with a trip to Toronto to see the Jersey Boys?  Read My 60th Birthday Surprise and Report of my Jersey Boys excursion.

Now, finally, they're going to play in Ottawa this summer.  And I've found two friends to accompany me to a matinee performance in early July.  I am sooooooooo excited.

Gonna buy three box seats (a box holds four seats) and hope that the fourth doesn't sell.  We'll have our own private party.  I can't buy the tickets until April 6th, so it's entirely possible that I might find a fourth interested party to join us before then.

Have I mentioned that I'm excited?

Thursday, March 14, 2013

A Terrific Movie

If you haven't yet seen the movie, "Searching for Sugarman," you need to check it out.

It's a fabulous story of a humble man from Detroit who was more popular than Elvis, but the 1970s singer-songwriter didn't learn about his fame in South Africa until 40 years later.

Those South Africans knew good music when they heard it!  Too bad it took us North Americans so long to recognize his worth.

Monday, March 11, 2013

This and That

Our wild turkeys continue to entertain us.
One of them figured out how to eat from the suet feeder, and has taught the others how to do it.
Yesterday afternoon, I caught four of them gathered round the feeder, and two of them were pecking at it at once.  Fortunately, John was around at the time to get a photo.

Fun stuff!

It was my stepson's birthday on Friday, March 8th.
It was my son-in-law's birthday on Sunday, March 10th.
And it is my step grandson's birthday today, Monday, March 11th.
So we did the combined celebration for brunch at a downtown Ottawa restaurant yesterday.  We all ate way too much but it was a great way to do a party!
The Birthday Boys

It was a fantastic weekend for baseball too.
The World Baseball Classic (WBC) has been on and Canada played Italy on Friday afternoon.  (Canada got whomped but good.)
Canada played Mexico on Saturday and whomped them but good. (And had a much-talked about brou-ha-ha in the process.)
When we got home from the birthday brunch on Sunday, my boys of summer were playing against dem damn Yanks.  (We lost but that's not the point.  These are spring training games so don't count for anything.  We're getting to know the boys before the season starts.)
Then after that game, we watched another WBC game -- Canada vs USA.  What a terrific game it was too.  Until the 8th inning when Canada threw the game away to the US team.  *Sigh*
Truth be told, Canada simply doesn't grow enough talent to compete against the big boys in the World Baseball Classic. (Don't get me wrong.  We have some excellent ballplayers; just not enough of them.) *Double sigh*
So Canada was eliminated from the tournament in the first round and our players can now go home to their respective teams and resume spring training.
Welcome back to camp boys.  Now get out there, and play ball!

Friday, March 8, 2013

OK, the withdrawal is over

Phew!  That was fun. NOT!
My body, being the genetic addict that it is, really takes a shine to certain drugs.
And when it takes that shine, it doesn't like to let go.
Very quickly after finding something it likes, it wants more of it, and it wants it more often.
Of course, that wasn't going to happen with the Prednisone, since the negatives far outweighed the positives. Not to mention, it wasn't doing what it was supposed to do.
So stop it we did.  But my body just didn't want to give it up.
Now I'm over it.  My body has now learned, and accepted, that it isn't getting any more.
Too bad, so sad.
I'm left with hands that are much sorer than they were going into the 'experiment.'
Before, my hands might get inflamed for a few hours or for a day or so at a time.
Now, they became quite inflamed during the weaning off period, and the inflammation has become chronic.
It hurts to perform the most simple of every-day tasks:  washing/drying my hands; cutting my food; making the bed; lifting items of minimal weight; holding a pencil/pen; holding my coffee cup (or, horrors -- my wine glass!); and yes, working the keyboard!
Thus far, the weight hasn't started coming off.  Not one ounce so far.  The doctor assured me that it would happen once I was off the Prednisone.  Well, helllllooooo, it's been a week already!!!!
I'm back on the treadmill again too.  Not up to very much time yet but at least I can do it again so that's progress.  Yesterday I managed 15 minutes with relative ease.  I'll keep it at that time for a few days so as not to sabotage my own efforts.
I had a wonderfully refreshing seven hours' sleep last night too.  It's amazing what a massage can do.  What I need is a daily massage.  Would that it could be possible!
Yesterday, I received the appointment for my MRI -- April 8th at 6:00 am and I'm supposed to arrive 30 minutes earlier.  That's going to be a trick!  Have to arrange some fancy footwork to pull that off.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Oh dear, I've really been delinquent

I'm so sorry for the lack of posts.
Time flies when you're in pain, I guess.
Since my last post, I went into the big city for my physio session on Tuesday.
Wednesday was another 'down' day so nothing got done.  It was also the day we had the worst snow storm of the season, receiving in excess of 20 cm of snow.
Thursday was supposed to be my massage day but my therapist got stuck in a snow bank on her way here and had to be towed out.  Once she was rescued, she turned around and went back to the clinic.  We rescheduled for Friday, but I was to go to the clinic instead of her coming to me.
However, Friday was yet another bad day and I had to cancel.  I slept the day away instead.
But going back to Thursday, I saw my doctor to let her know what I had done with respect to going off the Prednisone (and that I had suffered withdrawal anyway).  She was OK with my changing the last few reductions but she warned me that I would be in for a rough week-end (she was right).  She assured me, though, that I'd feel much better by Tuesday.
Yesterday was a 'not bad' day but because I was feeling so-so, I had lots to do around here.  I managed several loads of laundry, and filed our income taxes.
AND I watched my boys of summer, which is always a delightful way to 'rest.'  We get a bonus game on television today, which pleases me no end.
Of course, because I did so much yesterday, I had a terrible night last night.  So I'm in for a rough day today.  Which means it's yet another 'take it slow and easy' day.
This will end, I know it will!  The doctor said it will end by Tuesday, but she also said that I am 'more resilient than most' so I'm thinking it should be over by today or tomorrow.