Mark Twain

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do ...
Explore. Dream. Discover." Mark Twain

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Hospital Journey

Saturday night! I sit in a dark, quiet hospital room typing away on my computer while my mom sleeps nearby.

Thank you all for your notes both on the blog and by email regarding our return trip to the hospital. Your well wishes and shared experiences really were wonderful. She is very much improved this evening. I must admit that 6 months ago if anyone had said that we would have 5 hospitalizations, 2 sub acute rehab experiences and 2 home care experience, AND I would be changing my mom's doctor to a person who makes house calls ... I would never have believed it! It has been a challenging 6 months, but we are both "still standing" and as of today, she looks and sounds great! We are hoping for a discharge tomorrow.

Her health continues to be fragile - many serious conditions to manage, and as with all elder care, the future is unpredictable. But while I sit here in the dark of this hospital room, I am content. We have made huge changes to support her many needs and our knowledge base has grown significantly as well.

I have gotten to know this hospital very well. I'd like to share a bit of it with you.

Howard County General Hospital is an excellent facility. Thirty-five years ago this month my daughter was born here. It was very much smaller and things were very different. Today, patients have private rooms (mom's room is in the new wing - very state of the art). Here is a shot of the one side of the room. To the left is the patient's bed and to the right is a couch that opens up to a bed for family members. I don't open it, because I need very little space to sleep. But it is comfortable.

The physician, nursing and support staff are excellent. The patient's food is great. In fact, they call it "room service" because you order what you want off a menu and all the choices mom's has had were excellent. I even love the gift shop. I purchased a bag there that is perfect for these hospital jaunts - it holds everything I need including my iPad in an organized way - many interior pockets. There is a great little coffee stand in the lobby with great salads, sandwiches, and coffee. The cafeteria for staff and guests is adequate - except when you have 5 hospital episodes in 6 months ... then it looses its charm.

We are lucky to have this facility within 15 minutes of our house.

To conclude: I have developed a "short list" of things I wish I didn't know about this hospital. For example:

I now know a few of the ER staff. I would rather meet them for coffee outside of work hours rather than visiting them at their place of work all the time. :-)

I know how to adjust this thing-a-ma-jiggy! It is part of the fluids and meds administration for mom's IV. When the alarm goes off (which is does alot), the flow of the IV is automatically stopped, adjustments to the patient's position are made, and a restart button is pushed. I have even learned to read the screen as it is working. (You have been somewhere too many times when you can work their professional equipment.)

I decided to get a "frequent flyer" card for the coffee shop in the lobby. Ten cups and I get one free! I have one cup marked off. I wish I took a card the first time it was offered to me back in December. I am sure I would have earned quite a few free cups by now.

I discovered exactly where the hospital "behavioral unit" is located. No, they didn't need to send psychiatry after me. I was well behaved this trip. In December, however, I was close to taking out one little old lady at the main reception desk who was totally absorbed in her name tag duties. I still remember her eyes shifting from side to side as I leaned over the desk giving her a piece of my mind and waving my ratty name tag in her face. She was probably all of 90 pounds and very smartly dressed in a little red blazer. I was very tired, very sick myself and very worried about mom. I am sure my hair looked stringy and in a disarray. I know I was rumpled from sleeping in my street clothes. I was in no mood for her rigid adherence to "name tag protocol". I haven't seen her since and I feel badly now about that episode, but at the time, I am sure she was thinking that a call to the "behavioral unit" might be in order for this guest. I found the location of that unit on a floor plan this trip . It isn't something I really want to know.

Tata for now.

Hoping to report good news tomorrow!


  1. I know what you mean. By the last time mom was in hospital I knew where to find just about everything that was needed and how to get it without being observed.

  2. I am glad she is better and am glad that you are retaining your sanity, sense of proportion, and your humor. Take care as best you can on this journey....

  3. So many things are so fresh in my mind (and heart) since my mom...I can only send you (((hugs)))
    Sometimes you don't know how you manage at times likes this...but you just do because you have to.
    Wishing your mom well wishes and remember to take care of you.

  4. I will keep you both in my heart and prayers.

  5. You and your mom are in my thoughts and prayers. My parents are 73 and thankfully - so far- in good health. I know the day will come when things will change and I try not to think about it!

    Know that people care and you are not alone!

  6. You are so strong, I know your Mom is grateful for everything you do. Pat yourself on the back every now and then, you're doing a great job. The hospital (even if it is a hospital) is better than many, another blessing. Both my parents (who have now passed) were in Walter Reed Medical Center for extended stays at various times. There, people are treated by rank and service, not by illness. Admittedly, I lost my temper a few times. I hope you both are home tomorrow.


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