Monday, January 16, 2017

When Things Aren't Going Well at the Hospital

In the past, I've written about my husband's role as Chief of his surgical department. While you may think this is fantastic and full of bullet points to put in the "Pro" side of a list; really, it's not so wonderful. At this point, the "Con" side outnumbers its counterpart.

I mean, seriously, I'm beginning to realize the only thing Shondra Rhimes hit nail on the head in Grey's Anatomy, is that the Chief is always under stress. Don't believe me? Here's my proof... simply Google Dr. Webber and the majority of images are much like these...

Angry and tired, or, "I can't believe you pushed that case on a partner when you have open OR time."
Disbelief, or, "You're getting paid a full-time wage, you're expected to work a full-time schedule."

 Simmering Anger, or, "Don't you ever talk to me like that again."

Schedule inequality, or, "Why the hell am I Chief and carrying the largest amount of patient volume?"

 Shock, or, "Are you seriously hiding in the bathroom with the reading material, while we are being overrun by patients?"

And, ultimately, it's sad and lonely at the top, because no one likes the person who has to lower the boom.

There are hardly any happy photos of Chief Webber until you hit these...

"Oh, thank my lucky stars. I only play a Chief of Surgery on TV!"

"I get my scrubs from wardrobe, not Aramark!"

James Pickens, Jr. is a lucky man. He only plays a Chief. In reality, he's not being squished like an overly-tall sandwich waiting to be devoured by budget croonies, having to justify every move of his department to his higher-up (oh, puh-leeze, don't let me get started on the hospital higher-ups)

I'm just going to say it... there's dead wood in Doc H's department. I'm telling you, there's nothing worse than having a lazy surgeon for a partner.  For Pete's sake, don't become a surgeon if you really don't have a passion for surgery. 

And, *sigh*, here's the deal. Everyone know it. Even Dr. DeadWood knows he's dead wood. Yet, he doesn't seem to care that he's: weighing down the department, causing stress to all his partners, being incredibly rude and unfair, creating a hostile work environment by spreading lies and untruths, and costing his partners and his department money

Despite all this, Dr. Deadwood has the audacity to believe he's being treated like a child, being told when he has to work, how he can take time off, how many patients he has to see, etc, etc. 

Um, no. It's called working a full-time job. If you don't like it, go find yourself a private practice who needs a part-time physician!!

I'm tired of Dr. Deadwood's actions bearing down on my Doc H. 

Can you tell?

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

I Hope You Never Understand How Lucky We Are To Have Husbands Who Are Doctors

So, here's the deal. I knew my Doc H was awesome, but not THAT awesome!

Like I've told my kids, "I hope I never have to give you advice on how to be a step-parent", I'm telling you, "I hope you never REALLY get to understand how incredibly lucky we are to have a doctor for a husband".

Confused? Let me explain.

I am absolutely, two hundred percent certain that my father would not be alive today if I was married to, let's say, an attorney or any other professional.

WE ARE SO LUCKY TO HAVE A DOCTOR IN THE FAMILY WHO CAN UNDERSTAND AND ADVOCATE FOR US WHEN LIFE TEETERS. If you do understand this like I understand this you've been through a terrible medical ordeal with a loved one, and my heart breaks for you.

My friends, I don't swear much, but when I do, it is because I cannot emphasize it any stronger. So, I tell you, this summer the shit hit the fan, and my family experienced a fucking nightmare when my father went into surgery. Not once, but twice, I knew my father was dying when Doc H CANCELED his OR cases to spend the day with us at the hospital. He never cancels. He operates with a fever. When he told me he was canceling his day, well- that was when I began to panic.

My mother, siblings, and I took turns sleeping bedside in the hospital. Even Doc H, despite his hellacious schedule, slept in a chair in ICU several nights as my father laid alive in his hospital bed thanks only to full life support. Besides the vent, we had 24 hour dialysis, no kidney function, albumin levels through the roof (liver failure), low blood pressure, tachycardia, high triponin numbers, yada, yada, yada. You get the idea. Things were bleak. It was quite evident my father was suffering. He had to be restrained; he was removing tubes. He tried to chew through the vent tube. I screamed, and with tears running down my face, I begged him, "Please, Daddy, don't chew!" {I haven't called my father "Daddy" in over 35 years. Yet, somehow, in that moment, I felt so helpless, I resorted to being his child.} His eyes and veins in his temple were popping out of his head. The doctors couldn't come up with the right "cocktail" for sedation without his BP bottoming out and his heartbeat flying too high.

Finally, through a cascade of tears and snot, I asked DocH, "How do you know when it's time to give up and stop? He's suffering!!" I'm pretty sure I would have began the campaign to disconnect my father's support if Doc H hadn't replied to me, "We owe it to your father to give him the time he needs to get through this. Things can still turn around."

We were a mess. Yet, doctors, specialists, were constantly coming by to update with new labs, questions, and changes to the plan. We were in a fog. If Doc H wasn't there, we needed two of us to fully recall the conversation and be able to regurgitate it to Doc H on the phone for advice.

I cannot understand how non-medical families make such life changing decisions without fully understanding medicine. 

Let's back up a bit...

My father's initial surgery went okay. But, without going into a longer story, he had complications on top of complications after surgery. One early morning, we found ourselves talking face to face with his surgeon, who wasn't sure if taking my father back in the OR was the right thing to do. We were faced with two options: 1- surgery, but it would be high risk thanks to new heart issues- he most likely would not survive, or 2- wait and see, but he (most likely) would go septic. Gee, let me do some risk assessment and analysis here... on one hand we have death, and on the other, -oh-look!- again, we have death. {Excuse me? Last month my father was cycling 10-20 miles a day.} 

And, here is the point where DocH swung in like THE FUCKING SUPERHERO HE IS. He made phone calls, went over labs, and convinced my father's surgeon and the other supporting surgeons there was a third option.

That is the option we took, and through happy tears, I tell you it all worked. Today (almost six months later), my father is alive and well, almost back to his pre-surgery baseline. He still has some strength to gain back and some weight to put on, but he is back to living life. And, it is in large part due to Doc H. My father knows it, I know it, we all know it. So, later, when we all thanked him, Doc H was true to his humble self, and just said, "No, it was my pleasure."

My family and I are so, so, SOOOOO LUCKY to have Doc H in our lives!! If you have a husband who is a doctor in your life, I pray you never realize how truly lucky you are, because this is a chapter of life we can all do without.

And, to Doc H... I know you'll get around to reading this someday.. no words, just tears (you know the ones) of sheer happiness, gratitude, and love. YOU are my Superhero.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

A Blogger Derailed, or, What Brought on My Writer's Block

I started this blog January 12, 2012... almost 4 years ago. For two years I wrote religiously; little could stop my blogging habit. I had plenty to say and did so without regard. Never once, had I experienced writer's block.

Then, a funny thing happened- I discovered some of my daughter's friends (who were interested in nursing school), began following this blog and it's social media accounts the summer of 2014.

I panicked. My anonymity has allowed me to write the truth. Anyone close to us and who read the blog would be able to connect the dots.

I did what any sensible blogger would do. I blocked them and (temporarily) deleted the entire Beau Hunk series despite it being the most popular story line. I admit, it chipped away a little at my blogging spirit a bit, but I continued blogging. (FYI- as of 7/26/18 the series is back online.)

Then, in the Fall of 2014, a terrible thing happened- so terrible I said to the male voice on the phone, "This can't be real. Someone is trying to pull a prank on me. If you really are a Sheriff, give me your name and I will call the station and talk to you." I called the station. They connected me with him right away. It was all real, heartbreaking, devastating, confusing, and subsequently has driven a wedge in my (normally close-knit) extended family.

In early 2015, I spend more time sitting in a courtroom than any one person ever should unless you are employed by the court or are an attorney. There I sat, as my family was represented on both sides of the case. I was, and still am, Switzerland. I don't understand what happened. I don't have the whole story. I have so many unanswered questions. I don't know what to write. So, I wrote nothing and my blog went silent and for the first time, I fully realized I was suffering from writer's block.

Then summer of 2015, brought more heartache as we quickly and dramatically lost a beloved member of the family to lung cancer (she never smoked). Her passing brought on more issues, questions, and family drama. As that wasn't enough, because she was a bit of a public figure, we had to hold a public memorial attended by dignitaries and some high profile people. I spent the rest of the year accepting posthumous awards on her behalf. It was bittersweet, but also sucked the life out of me.  All this activity brought about a seat on a Board of Directors. I am proud and happy to be continuing her legacy. But, my blog still laid silent.

Then, my closest cousin, the one person who I can consider a sister, was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer. I was upset and angry; yet, I just stared at my blank post page with no words. My blog remained silent.

Then in April 2016, my father went to the ED with what we thought was kidney stones. I'm going to make a very long story short here... Whipple done, complications ensued. We spent eight weeks in the hospital,  in and out of ICU, time spent on life support, round the clock dialysis, liver function practically nothing. Medically speaking, my father should have died two times over. Doc H even claims his full recovery is nothing but a miracle. My father is a pancreatic cancer survivor! Yet, still, my thoughts locked up in my head, and my fingers froze on the keyboard. My blog was to remain dormant.

Then, one of our girls was admitted to the hospital with an infection. Doc H had the chief of every department working on her case. I can't tell you how crazy it makes them all when they CANNOT figure out the cause of an infection. I spent another week in the hospital at her bedside (with her mother!). Surely, that would open the locked blogging gates- but, no- I still could not write a thing and my blog laid in its own type of life-support.

Then, one of our son's (he's in high school now) classmates and friend died in a horrific car accident right after school one afternoon. I can't even think about that tragedy. I will never write any more on it.

Then, the day of the election, we learned my beloved sister-in-law was ill and had been admitted to the hospital. Next day, we are told she has stage 4 (aggressive) breast cancer. She is receiving treatment and with broken hearts, we pray for her.

There is more, but I cannot write it. This is enough. I am trying my best to revive this blog and overcome my writer's block. I simply don't know where to start. There is so much compiled in my brain. But, this is a start.

This is how this blogger derailed.

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