Thursday, January 31, 2008

Medical Communication

In the age of the internet, I thought medical communication would be pretty fool proof. Well I don't know why I spent that time studying nursing - it just makes things more confusing.

The nurse said, "I think you should come to Halifax". My heart almost stopped. In my day, that's what they said when it was already impossible to get there fast enough to say goodbye.

When they said pneumonia, I didn't ask what kind. I thought I knew. Aspiration pneumonia used to be referred to as aspiration pneumonia. If I had typed aspiration pneumonia + average length of hospital stay into google and saw 28 days, I would have taken the time to find my boots, fill a prescription, put a little thought into my packing.

And mostly I'm scared. We're going to walk out that door and I'm not going to know his labs or have seen his xrays or have privy to any of his assessments. I'll take him out into the cold, get into a taxi carrying all his stuff and then have to get him to his 3rd floor walkup apartment. Then we'll flip his futon mattress down on the floor and one of us will have the mattress and one of us will be sleeping on top of a sleeping bag and both of us will have a struggle getting up off the floor again. Finally there's the chest tubes. What do I remember about chest tubes. Only thing I remember is that a girl in my class grabbed her nursing scissors instead of the clamp and cut one off by mistake. Guess I'll let the hospital worry about the chest tubes.

And what about my real life? The life I have been away from for 3 weeks. The responsibilities that have backlogged beyond the tipping point.

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