Let me tell you a tale of incompetence, hubris, anger and a near total failure of the medical system.
My sweetie of 58 years has several physical problems including spinal degeneration (a failed lumbar fusion included) and atrial fibrillation. She wears a continuous feed morphine pain pump (embedded in her abdomen) to at least partially manage the severe lower/middle back pain from the spinal degeneration and a pace maker to offset the lowered heart rate brought on by her a-fib medication. i.e. one takes medicine to solve a problem which in itself causes two more problems which requires the implant of various devices to offset the side effects of the medication!) Medical science has a long way to go, believe me! (and this is NOT to denigrate the marvelous advances in medicine we have seen and enjoyed during our all too short life spans!!)
To put it mildly, my sweetie and I have had a few not so fun days of ring-around-the-doctor(s) and nurse(s) with merry-go-round-music playing (a lot of “duh’s” to provide the rhythem) and clown performances in the hall, not to mention yours truly coming with in inch – FIVE TIMEs – of being put into handcuffs and tossed in the local hoosegow.
Sound like an interesting story? You judge for yourself.
Four days ago, Annette slipped into a-fib and for 24 hours, using the medication available to us, we tried to bring it under control. Using the maximum allowable of meds suddenly drove her B.P. up into the high 170’s, old Dad rang the alarm bell and as it was 6 AM in the morning, I tucked her into the car and ferried her the three miles to the hospital rather than call an ambulance and wait-wait-wait for it.
(Gold Star here!) She was received at the ambulance entry with very fast care of the appropriate kind by very competent nurses and a retired male fireman who was converting to be a nurse for a second career! Really nice people. Except one.
As you all know, one of the first things they do at an ER (after making sure you’re alive) is inset an IV needle through which various saline solutions and medications may be administered. A little twit of a tech (not a nurse) came in and , taking the wrong, easy and simple way out, started to insert the IV in Annette’s right (dominant arm) elbow joint. I asked, very politely for her to locate it elsewhere so when, as would inevitably happen, she bent the elbow, the IV entry point would not come under stress. I was informed by the twit that she knew far more than I did on how and where to put it and would I butt out (no please). The only way I could have kept her from taking the easy (and wrong) way out was to physically restrain her (this is the #1 incident where I could have found myself, at minimum) ejected from the hospital. MORE on this later).
Immediate room availability, Annette wired for sound, monitor pinging in the background and paper work done we then waited and waited and waited. And waited and waited. I went to the nurses station and asked what was going on and was informed that they were waiting (too) for the Boston Scientific Rep. (Boston Sci. manufactures Annette’s pace maker) to drive down from Ocala which small city is 40 miles North of us down a very traffic full highway) to “interrogate her pacemaker”. No, our very large hospital had no equipment, capability or knowledge to interrogate the pacemaker to see if it; A. was working; or B. needed adjustment. I’m glad we were not in the middle of the desert somewhere.