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Monday, 16 March 2015

In and Out of the Hospital

[EDITOR'S NOTE: Two weeks ago, Chuck told us about his fainting spell. Readers asked to hear the follow-up and here it is.]

By Chuck Nyren

It's annoying to be wheeled into a hospital room when you know nothing is wrong with you.

The normal stuff is happening. Tubes shoved into my arms, pads with wires plopped and taped, arm cuffed and hugged. I'm handed a menu.

A doctor walks in and announces he's not a doctor. That's okay. I'm not a patient. He's a student. A hospitalist.

He wants my entire life story. I tell him. He leaves. I enthralled him, or so my significant other tells me, who doesn't leave.

The hospitalist returns, towing along another hospitalist and a real doctor. My team, they tell me.

They start yacking, sort of taking turns, and it's just like House, MD. I'm expecting Hugh Laurie to come limping in, throwing things around and yanking tubes out of me and accusing me of - I don't know what - and then having some sort of epiphany.

None of this happens. My team drones on.

Everybody finally leaves. I'm alone. It's dark, shadowy. The night nurse enters. She reminds me of a character from The Twilight Zone: perfectly coiffed, old-time makeup and lipstick, moves confidently, briskly. If she didn't move she'd be a mannequin. I'm waiting for her to say, "Room for one more, honey," and wheel me down to the morgue.

Early next morning. I grab my smartphone and search for orthostatic hypotension, find out there's a good chance certain prescription drugs cause it, I search for a medication I take right before bed. Bingo. Recent studies link fainting to the med. If there's a culprit, that's the culprit.

My team is back. The hospitalist who interviewed me drones on again and suggests I stop taking the drug that I'd already decided not to take anymore.

Finally some drama in this soap: the real doctor overrules him, saying I should continue taking the drug I'm never taking again and stop taking another med instead.

Dilemma. Do I cause tons of trouble and tell the real doctor she's wrong and the student doctor is right and that I'm going to completely ignore her? Or do I smile and nod like a passive, unquestioning clod so I can get out of this place as soon as possible?

I smile and nod like a passive, unquestioning clod. She signs the release form.

The next day I get an email saying my Health Summary/Continuity of Care Document is available online. It's no summary. I scroll through fifteen pages of charts and graphs and very important results. Nothing is overlooked.

I now have all the information there is about my bones, muscles, organs, fluids, chemicals and whatever else happens to be roiling and pumping and galvanizing and sloshing inside of me. It's a narcissist's dream. Those ignorant Ancient Greeks had no idea what "Know Thyself" really means.

I keep seeing the word unremarkable. I figure out it's med-speak for normal. At age 64, after abusing my mind and body in every way imaginable throughout my life, I'd say that anything normal is remarkable.

A week later, an appointment with my regular doctor. He snips the stitches, agrees with me that I should stop taking the medication I've already stopped taking and continue to take the medication the real doctor in the hospital told me not to take anymore.

On the way out, I notice this on a table. Probably for an erection that lasts more than four hours:


I'm glad I only fainted.

Posted by Ronni Bennett at 05:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post


LOL You made a serious, scary incident work for you. But it makes me a little nervous to know that the "real" doctor is still loose out there.
Even worse, there's always that little worm of worry that maybe she was right. Keep us posted on how you're doing on your revised med regime.

Thank you for the followup story.

It gets more difficult daily to know who to listen to.
When the doctor relies on a hospitalist, is it to save time? Does the doctor not read the pertinents re: all medications you take?

Does the doctor have the hospitalist give his diagnosis and treatment first, so the doctor can correct that information--is that a teaching position—never mind the real-live patient who needs clarity.....

Fortunately you have a mind of your own AND at least 2 people, one doctor and on hospitalist
who agree with you.

Moreover, my computer doesn't think the spelling of hospitalist is correct, but I am going to go with your brain over the computer's.

A sense of humor is a valuable asset and it is obvious yours is intact. The fainting did nothing to dislodge it, thankfully. Your story is told with humor and style and most of the readers can relate to being surrounded by folks who look as if their Mom had to drive them to work---and they are all talking gibberish.. Thank you for the follow up!

OMG, I can't stop laughing. I would have stolen that thingie. (I am only half joking.)

I am glad the fainting was caused by something so easily fixed.

It is scary to me that I know several people who have "fainted", ie passed out and been told it was due to their blood pressure meds. You are wise to be your own advocate and figure out what you need to do to avoid another incident. Thanks for the laughs - like my husband's cardiologist told him, "stay away from doctors they are bad for your health".

Excellent follow-up!...and the kicker was the photo and comment of the reflex hammer!
I'm still laughing...thanks.

Stay well...and happy.

Absolutely delightful piece!
Hospitals are no place to be if one can avoid it. The line about staff being so young their Mother drove them to work reminds me of my eye surgeon (blephoplasty) and her little helper back in the late 80s.

Great comments. Thanks.

The reflex hammer: Actually, I picked it up and asked the doctor about it, jokingly. Like most doctors, he's very literal - and started in on a long explanation about pharmaceutical company reps giving away medical implements with logos imprinted on them. I listened, and pretended to be enlightened.

I wondered how they got rid of those four hour erections! LOL Great piece. Thanks for your wonderful sense of humor.

Delightful. I had one of those hospital stays too.

Well said....love the hammer...I need to go to the hospital to check out why my balance is suddenly screwed up ...have to have a second mri/cat scan but don't want the tube again....so I stay home and wait for God know what to happen...very scared in Brockton, Ma.

I was just relieved to hear that that thing is a reflex hammer, you had me worried there for a sec!
I just visited my doctor wanting a letter to say that I have been well in the last 3 months.
No, she cannot give me such a letter. I may think I'm not sick, I have had no problems over the last three months, however I am not qualified to know! I need a mammogram, a pap smear, a blood test and two poop tests. For some reason she let me off the wee test and the bone density tests. My blood pressure was needed but unfortunately the machine wasn't working, so I got sent out because everybody was busy & being old I have all the time in the world to be kept waiting around!
Then they discovered that my medical records have been lost because I committed the sin of not actually going to the doctors. (Listen, I wasn't sick do you hear!) While I wasn't attending, the doctor moved several suburbs away. My cry that "I wasn't sick" is not appreciated. They need to go back more that ten years to make sure that I haven't been sick in the last three months.
I am another who subscribes to the view "don't go to the doctors if you are not sick - you will be by the time they have finished with you."

Love that "hospitalist"!

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