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Wednesday, April 18th, 2012

Time Event
7:21p
New adventures
Well, we got to the hospital in good order this morning and everything went perfectly. As I was waking up in the first recovery area and talking with the nurse there (drifting in and out), I heard her say I was ready to transfer to the second recovery area. She called me "cooperative and nice." I told her to make me a certificate to that effect.

I was not "cooperative and nice" in the second recovery area. I had the urge to urinate and I couldn't, no matter what I tried. As we went through the usual recovery room procedures, my distress (combined with my not-quite-with-it-ness from the anaesthetic) made me a difficult patient. They eventually sent me home anyway, saying that things should come back on line soon. I hoped that in my own quiet environment things would relax and work better.

They didn't. By 4:30, I was in terrible distress. I called my surgeon's office. As God is my witness, the official advice I got was to put my hand in cold water while running the bathroom faucet. (!) If that didn't work, I was to go to the ER. So before too long, it was back to the hospital we went. I was in agony almost as terrible as my original gall bladder attack by the time I hobbled into the ER, whereupon we had to do the whole intake, triage, take-your-turn stuff.

Finally, they got me in a room, where a male nurse came in and tapped the keg with a catheter. I felt immediate relief. For the next two hours, as people consulted about my care, I lay on the gurney and cracked jokes with various medical personnel. No pain from the surgery, no worries from the bladder. Life is good. They even gave me a pair of paper scrub pants so I wouldn't have to walk out with a leg bag visible beneath my shorts.

So, here we are, home again home again jiggety jog. Deanne is making supper and walking the dog. I'm typing this here epic. I will get an appointment for Friday to check up on the bladder situation. I also need to call for a followup with my surgeon for 7-10 days from now.

Looking back on my experience in that second recovery area, I think it was an obvious mistake to send me home. We could have taken care of all this then and there. At one point, the nurse said I did have the (last) option to have a nurse install a catheter, but the way she said it showed that she didn't favor it. It was my decision to make, apparently; though keep in mind, my decision-making capacity at that point was distorted both by discomfort and by having recently awakened from surgery. The nurse(s) were all veterans, but they were simply going down their routine; they were not listening to me, nor observing the situation for all possibilities.

So now, not only do I get stuck for a much larger bill (since a visit to the ER is now to be included in the total day's run), but their Medicaid stats get a black mark for having a patient return to the hospital too soon. I'm not blaming them, mind, nor am I angry; as long as I come out of it healthy I'm not going to revisit the issue. But as one who faces similar situations in my Wilderness and Remote First Aid training, I see a problem here.

As opportunity arises, I will make sure my surgeon knows about what happened; but I will also apologize to the staff, if I see them, for being such a bear. And my wife deserves extra credit for driving back and forth several times to the hospital today. And all of you who were praying have my deepest thanks. I've had all kinds of adventures today, and the Lord has seen me through them all.

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