Sunday, April 10, 2011

Life as a Patient

Finally nearing the end of my hospital stay, I have gleaned a great deal of information and experienced my share of ups and downs. Surgery was a difficult experience as it left me with pain, wounds, and the after effects of anesthesia. Being in the ICU with all of its high-tech glory was much less fun than I remembered from rounds.

Post-Operative Recovery

Fortunately, I was able to avoid catheterization. Nonetheless, the anesthetics had a long lasting effect that disturbed both my gastrointestinal and urinary tracts. Every time I tried to drink fluids, my stomach would have nothing to do with it. I had to keep the emesis container within reach as there was no way of judging how my body would react. It was more annoying than anything as the cottonmouth was rather unpleasant. Between medicated naps and side aches from my freshly placed chest tube, all I could do was wait for the anesthesia to wear off with my barf bag in hand. Learning to adjust to my new wounds and pains was going to take some time, and all I could do was wait. As the clock rolled, I became hungrier and dared to try solids. It tasted good, went down well and sat well...but only for 10 minutes. It was then that I wished I had an emesis bag the most; a simple device I could put on and forget about. Luckily, it became easier to hold the food in and now I had to get my bladder to cooperate. With some serious concentration, faucets running and a friendly coaxing from my visitors, the bladder situation was overcome in due time.

Little did I know that the next few days would be worse. Inflammation, muscle aches, tubes, wires, medications and the list goes on. Now I was starting to understand what my post-operative patients had been experiencing. From one unpleasant experience to the next, I was now on the doctor's schedule awaiting instructions and decisions. My job was to report any problems, stay attached to all my wall connections, exercise my lungs and generally get better. I was happy to hear I was the most stable patient on the ward, which was to be expected as I was also the youngest. The TV was boring, my neighbor's moans annoying and the food not always appetizing. Getting up and walking around the unit was the most enjoyable activity I participated in during my stint. Something we so easily take for granted had now become the highlight of my day. At last discharge is in sight and I can soon recover in the comfort of my own home. This experience, however, has made a significant impact on my perception of health care and the way I intend to approach my future patients. What a great way to spend my vacation month.

Question of the Week
As a new patient on the surgery ward you are asked by the dietitian make your next meal order. Which of the following will have the worst effect on your health and recovery?

A. Turkey roast with mashed potatoes and broccoli
B. Chicken fingers and French fries
C. Meatloaf with mixed vegetables and a dinner roll
D. Shrimp pasta alfredo with garlic bread
E. Chicken salad wrap with clam chowder soup

Answer & Explanation


  1. Glad you're on your way to recovery!

  2. Thanks for your support Beth, hope you are well.

  3. The main purpose of this website is to do with my life as a kidney patient. I was born with Chronic Renal Failure and Bladder Failure although this was not recognised until I was two years old. Since I was two I have had twenty seven operations on my kidneys and my bladder. In September 1996 I started kidney dialysis as my kidneys deteriorated to the extent that I could no longer survive on my own.


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