14 December 2005

Hurry Up and Wait

...seems to be the motto of every hospital, not to mention government and military organizations. We got to the hospital in Blackfoot a few minutes after Grandma did and went up to see her. At first, they weren't sure if they were going to put the catheter in that same day, or wait a day (since she'd been sick the day before). An hour later, the anesthesiologist came by to get info from Grandma, which meant they'd decided to go for it. They did 3 things: connected a vein to an artery on her left arm for the dialysis catheter (there's a fancy name for the procedure that is floating just above my head at the moment; maybe if I ignore it, I'll remember it[Addendum: Ha! Fistula! I remembered!]); drained the fluid out of her lungs (*); replaced the catheter on her chest(**). They also had to get an IV in her...and this was a challenge. They couldn't use her left arm, because they were working on it. Her right arm has been horribly swollen since her mastectomy in the '80's. Her neck didn't cooperate. They wound up putting the IV in her shin...

(*) I was mistaken in thinking they did this during her last hospital stay. She had too much coumadin in her system at that time, and they were afraid to operate. See, a nurse at the place who was supposed to be monitoring her coumadin levels didn't actually bother to look at the levels, and just told her to take more of it. She deserves to be fired, especially if she does this a lot.

(**) Surgeons in Pocatello put the original catheter in and it has never worked right. I don't know for sure, but I suspect this is why she was sent to Blackfoot for the one in her arm and to get the original one fixed.

Incidentally, Grandma's room in Blackfoot is one of the more comfortable hospital rooms I've been in (for visitors, at least). There was a couch in her room, so while Grandma was in surgery I was able to curl up and catch up on some sleep. Mom had gotten less sleep than I did, but she seemed to think the couch was too small to sleep on... *shrugs*

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