Speak Up!

It’s been 2 weeks since I was released from the hospital from having my tonsils removed. I think I can actually talk about my experience at the hospital now. Before I just couldn’t deal with it.

Some of you know and others may not I have bipolar, schizoaffective disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, PTSD, and so forth. I am also 37 years old. I had been sick since September 2017. Every couple weeks I was in the doctor’s office feeling as though my batteries were run down. They tested me for a large variety of things but the one test that came back positive was a strep test.

Strep throat, if treated, is normally not a huge deal for most people. However, the top 3 antibiotics that treat strep throat, unfortunately, I am allergic to ALL of them. So they gave me another antibiotic and hoped that it would work.

They wanted to give me steroids to help me recover, but I refused. (Before you get huffy…let me explain.) I know my body well enough to know that they always make me extremely mean, unable to eat, unable to sleep, and they mess with my mental status to the point that I will have a HUGE episode of some kind when they are coming out of my system. So my doctors and I have agreed that they are a last resort drug. We actually had a conversation and discussed the fact that I would avoid them unless it was a matter of life or death. (Take this medicine to help you or you are going to possibly die – kind of thing).

From September 27, 2017 to January 24, 2018 I tested positive for strep 6 times! They had sent me to a specialist and that was an experience all on it’s own. I found immediately that I had issues in his office. All the gadgets and equipment started me into panic attacks. Upon meeting him, I fessed up! “I have generalized anxiety disorder. I am going to sit here with my eyes closed in order for me to deal with being in this room and not flip out on you.” He agreed and joked with me. He asked if he could keep his eyes open.

Surgery was scheduled. I went through pre-op, but received a phone call the next day saying that they wanted to do my surgery at the hospital instead because of other issues that I have. I agreed. But they set me up at the hospital that my daddy died in and to make matters worse I am the exact age he was when he died. (I know this is a matter or mind over matter. I know not to think about it or worry about it, but my brain is my enemy at times. I was extremely nervous about the entire situation. There was no comforting me!)

I have only had to stay over in the hospital once prior after surgery and my Gram stayed with me in order to help keep me grounded and not freak out as bad.  But that was prior to me having Moose, my dog. He’s never spent a night alone and has only been away from me 2 nights in the entire time that I have had him. So I convinced Gram to stay with him (because he is selective about who he will let attend to his needs). Which meant that I was going to spend the night in the hospital ALONE.

I came out of surgery and things were ok. I was attended to and given ice chips and things while my family was still there. Then they left.

Every time the RN came in she would inject pain medication into my IV and leave. The CNA was supposed to keep me with cold stuff to swallow to reduce swelling. I asked at 2pm about my medications for mental health. They told me they would check on it. They injected my IV with pain medication and I was out again.

By 6pm, I called the desk because I no longer had ice, water, or anything. I couldn’t talk or swallow. I was in pain. But I realized I also hadn’t had any of my mid-day mental health medications. The CNA came. She said she would be right back.

Supper was delivered. Orange juice and beef broth. (I just had my tonsils out – no citrus juices or hot liquids allowed to go down my throat.) But I did get a glass of room temperature tea which by this point was a blessing because I had had NOTHING to drink in hours.

By 8pm, I was in tears! I couldn’t find my cell phone or someone would have been coming to get me out. I was now in pain. I had to go to the bathroom because of the IV’s of fluid they kept going into me. I was hooked up to those massage things that stay on your legs to prevent blood clots so I couldn’t get up out of bed myself. By that point I had almost missed 2 doses of mental health medication for the day! I was still stressed out and anxious about where I was. No one was around. No one was helping me despite my repeated attempts at contacting the nurse’s desk.

I feel so bad for the poor nurse that came in. Because I unloaded on her when she came into the room at shift change. Poor nurse Christina heard about all the troubles and I and the fact that at this point I was begging for my mental health medications which are mood stabilizers and panic attack medications. I was hungry. I was thirsty. I still had to go to the bathroom and I was DONE! I was angry.

Angry doesn’t begin to describe it. I was beyond furious at this point. She immediately got the correction of information and gave me a dose my mental health medications. She took the massage things off my legs so I could go to the restroom when I needed to. She brought me ice chips, water, 3 jello cups, 2 pudding cups, and 2 ice cream cups. She did everything she could to help me out and I was grateful. And instead of automatically being injected with pain medications she ASKED me if I wanted it.

In a few short hours things were a ton better. My mood had improved and I even convinced her to remove the IV from my arm and began taking medication for pain by mouth as needed.

So this is my thought tonight….speak up! And keep speaking up until someone listens. Do whatever you have to in order to keep yourself mentally and physically safe. Don’t allow anyone (even if they are trained to do so) ignore you. If you have mental health issues, make sure that they give you your medications. If you need specific things, tell them firmly if they won’t listen. Talk to them about the options you have when you are doing well enough to know what your body needs.

Oh and here’s a side note — some of the pills looked different than the ones I take (different manufacturers) so I made her show me the packaging so I knew what I was taking. You have rights to know what is being done to you. Speak up!


Photo Credit: unsplash-logoClem Onojeghuo

15 thoughts on “Speak Up!

  1. OMG! I’m a mental health nurse (retired) and have also worked in general hospitals. Reading this makes me feel angry, sad, embarrassed. Thank God you finally had a nurse who took the time to really listen to you. And kudos to you for speaking up. BUT it should never, ever have got to that stage.

    Liked by 1 person

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