5 days of chemo/post-chemotherapy was better than this.
I had major spinal surgery (fusion and decompression, requiring 6 hrs of combined abdominal and back surgeries) that required 5 days of post-op stay. Their daily and overnight care was haphazard, including several mistakes, some of which were the result of laziness, some indifference, and some sheer incompetence. Twice during my stay I informed them I was going to unhook the IV and catheter and walk out.
As an example, I found it necessary to learn, monitor, and report 3 unique signals, like buoys in a fog: 1) out of pain med drip 2) out of IV fluid drip 3) breathing and oxygen saturation levels unacceptably low. Once I was actually scolded (in all seriousness) by a nurse for not reporting a depleted IV, although the signal could be heard down the hall.
I was placed on a clear liquid diet for 4 days during which I was also placed on a restriced liquid diet. As a result, I received 4 glasses of water per day for 2-3 days. This was finally resolved by an aid who, nearly hysterical in her advocacy on my behalf, obtained food for me on day 3. At one point, the cafeteria worker who delivered my lunch of one small jello container said in 40 years of food service she had not seen anything like it.
I lost 8 lbs of solid weight in 5 days. It took me months to gain this back.
When I finally checked out, the discharging nurse refused to order home after care for me, even though my insurance would pay for it. She asserted that, since I could walk 100 feet of level hallway with a walker and a physical therapist with me every step of the way, I did not qualify.
During my stay I assumed the place was full and the staff overworked...that is until an aide informed me they were unusually slow in that wing, with occupancy about 50%.
A few days later, I received a call center survey call asking about my satisfaction with my stay. When I tried to discuss the home care (I also have a chronic nerve-damage condition in one leg and hip that makes standing and walking difficult) she talked over me repeatedly, reasserting their policy. When I finally responded that if she continued to talk over me it would be a waist of time, she responded: "well, if I am waisting your time, their is no point in continuing", whereupon she hung up.
Not once did I receive a nurse follow-up call to see how I was doing medically...a service we can count on from just about any vet when one of our pets has routine surgery.
I have had thoracic surgery twice, shoulder surgery, cancer involving serveral surgical procedures, and spinal surgery - all in three states, involving 3 major medical centers, and I have never experienced treatment so lacking in professionalism and basic human care.
To top it all off, the hospital billed my insurance a staggering $207,000 for my surgery and stay. For their part, the insurance company (Anthem Blue Cross) promptly paid the contract amount of $155,000 in full.
I have never received another follow-up call, though I did not expect one. I did receive a written questionaire from a third party survey company. I chose this avenue instead.
I hope my account of my experience helps someone else make the best healthcare decision possible for themselves or their loved one.
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