We got very frustrated today at missing the head doc, again. He's the slippery fellow who nips in to read notes while the patient is in the shower, makes decisions and writes them down in illegible script, and eels off again before anything nasty happens... oh, like, someone asking him a QUESTION, for example.
We asked to see the medical registrar, as my concerns for M's nursing care/para needs were still rising, and M was getting increasingly frustrated at being left without a buzzer, not showered, ignored, and basically given very ordinary care beyond his chest needs.
Medical registrar came, with her medical student. Two angels! They listened, sym/empathised, took notes, answered questions, and agreed that Dr God was a very difficult fellow to work with. Then they made a miracle happen. They took our questions about why M was staying in hospital with NO idea about the diagnosis, proposed treatment, length of stay, some other fancy ideas about the patient having choices as well.. and got
- Yes M could change over to oral antibiotics (and therefore ditch the cannula and manage at home)
- No M didn't need any further physio (he wasn't getting any anyway, ahem) (and therefore not need physio followup at home)
- No M didn't have any lingering nasties in his lungs or anywhere else (and therefore didn't .. need .. to .. be .. in .. hospital?????)
Yes, M could go home. We hastily begged these two angelic women to write the discharge report, order the meds and perform just the one last miracle before discharge: make it happen before tea time because after 6pm it's pretty much impossible to get discharged).
We quickly organised carers, transport, packing etc. And in record time, only one and a half hours since we got the word, M was rolling into a taxi and I was heading for home with his suitcase.
There never was a proper decision about whether M had pneumonia or was incidentally a bit yukky as to chest but was developing a UTI. There never was an answer from pathology about M's throat swab. He clearly responded to the two antibiotics given, didn't develop any further nasty symptoms, and was mostly suffering from extreme frustration.
But we are so very very glad we got out away from the dangers of hospital super-bugs and insufficient para care and wardsmen who broke bits of M's wheelchair etc etc. I do know and understand that nursing care is heavily compromised by lack of staff, resources, rotten pay, questionable working conditions etc. And I also acknowledge that M was on a respiratory ward whose main business is breathing.
But.. FOUR HOURS to get him showered and dressed?
No buzzer for an hour, in spite of him using his mobile to ring the desk and beg for help, three times? (What if he'd choked, or had an asthma attack?? No-one would have known. I didn't sleep that night, thanks very much).
No protocols for: managing a para on bed rest; catheter care; use of hoists/slings/shower chairs?
It's THE major hospital in these parts. M can't be the only para/quad who has needed help. I got very angry when one particularly diffident nurse kept saying 'but I busy, I busy'. And??? Where is the duty of care? Why were our questions ignored? I could see myself having to find the energy to find the person in charge and sit down for a contained explosion about basic care for paras and writing a list of special needs. The medical registrar had, bless her, already suggested M needed special care (a higher percentage of nurse time to patient) and I have no doubt she would have followed through. I note that Dr God didn't address it at all.
I must!!!!! This is the nature of advocacy.
[WHAT exactly do I get from my cat?? - purrsistence, of course!]