Saturday, December 15, 2007

Night in Newnan Part 2: The CHAIR....

Oh man. I know everyone reading this has spent at least part of a night in one of those contraptions they have at hospitals for the family to "sleep" on. I've tested my fair share over the years.

Last Friday I met the monster of all monsters. This chair must have been borrowed from an Inquisition era torture chamber.

It was narrow. With arms.

The back let down... about six inches. Most hospital chairs allow you to stretch out flat so you can have the illusion of being in a bed. Not so with this contraption. Forget trying to balance a pillow on the plastic back... you have to hold it up with your head or your hands.

Typical chairs have some semblance of cushioning. They may be vinyl, but there's usually a nice thick pad of cushion under it. Not so with this chair. It was maybe 3 inches thick. One step up from rock hard. I have the sore hips to prove it.

The bottom did open up to keep my legs propped up. However... you knew there was going to be a however, didn't you? However... it stopped right at my ankles. Which meant that all night long my feet hung in limbo off the edge. The nice square edge of the "cushion" cut right into my ankles periodically cutting off circulation. I remedied that by getting an extra pillow to put under my feet. My feet were slightly up in the air, but given my overall state of high discomfort, that was minor.

OK, could have been worse, right? Welllll.... I haven't told you about the piece that connected the foot rest to the chair. You'd think it would have been a solid piece so your upper legs would have something to rest on. Nope. Not in this device. The foot rest was connected to the chair by a piece of vinyl or plastic that didn't stretch tight, it hung down in a nice curve. Which meant that from the top of my hips to knees were suspended in the air. Yep. Hard to believe they expected someone to rest in the chair...

I overcame that obstacle with another pillow. It fit nicely in the void, although it was exactly the kind of pillow that had any give to it, so my lower body was resting on a rolling hill.

Did I mention the crinkly plastic covered hard pillows?

I know in my last post I wrote something about the temperature. Sweltering. At least until somewhere in the 2 or 3 o'clock time frame. All of a sudden the temperature dropped into the frozen zone. It felt SO good. For an hour or so. Then I must have drifted off for a bit because when I next became aware of my surroundings, it was back up to 75. I would have believed I'd dreamed the cooler temps, but I know I slept no longer than 15 minutes at a pop.

Between the nurse stopping in, the alerts from all the medical equipment in surrounding rooms, Greg needing things and THE CHAIR, I was a zombie with out any hope of rest.

No matter how bad I was feeling, it was hard to grumble given Greg's suffering.

He's doing better now, so I am taking time to vent...

We both made it through the night.

After a night of torture, I looked forward to breakfast. Surely they'd have something simple like some scrambled eggs, grits and maybe a selection of toasts (I don't do white bread).

No such luck.

My choices were pre-made biscuits with either egg and ham, egg and sausage and I think maybe egg and bacon. No egg biscuits. They has a little menu that said they offered a breakfast burrito with egg and cheese. However, when I asked, I was told tough luck, not serving it.

I went back to the vending machines to see if possibly, possibly someone had added something other than chicken sandwiches and other similar fare. They had grits in a container, but you had to add water and nuke it. It just seemed like too much trouble to go try and find some water somewhere, especially since I'd tried them before and didn't like 'em.

We were leaving that day, figured I'd probably be home in time for lunch so I'd hold out.

Except... we didn't get out by lunch.

The doctor was supposed to make his rounds in the morning, or so they said, but as it turned out, he was in surgery. We didn't see him until late afternoon. He was just a bit miffed as supposedly the nurse was supposed to have unhooked Greg from all the contraptions that morning and the physical therapist was supposed to have come by and helped him walk. The doctor was just stopping by to double check and say goodbye.

We had to wait while they tracked down a therapist. Still hot. Still a tiny room. No one ever said anything else about getting us into one of the bigger rooms after that first initial burst of nice thoughts. I don't know how they managed to get the bed in the room in the first place. Every time I wanted to do something, like help Greg eat, I had to move something into the hall it seemed...

Which reminds me. I almost forgot GREG's ordeal with the food. He's a type 2 diabetic and has a heart condition. We went through the whole spiel when we first got there, talked about diet, etc., etc.

His first meal? Roast beef with gravy, a white roll, white rice, cooked carrots. He's not supposed to eat red meat. He's not supposed to eat white bread or white rice. Cooked carrots are OK, but given he'd just had surgery that involved his throat he had extreme difficulty swallowing so the carrot's didn't work. Dessert was sugar-free sorbet. He managed with that.

Breakfast? Eggs, which are OK. White bread, a no-no. And, bacon. He's not supposed to eat bacon either. Promise butter, which was good. Sugar free jam, which was good. Orange juice. Another no-no for type 2 diabetics.

By lunch time I'd mentioned to someone that we weren't very happy about the food (very nicely) so they had someone stop in to allow us to choose. You didn't choose individual items, you had a choice of this grouping or that grouping. Every single grouping had stuff on it that was on his dietary list of can't do's (this is per his doctor, and per all the books I've read on heart and /or diabetes...). Anyway, the lady was nice enough to let us select one item and ditch the rest. She brought us extra fruit trying to be nice. Appreciated the thought, but they were all in a sugar syrup. Oh well...

All's well that ends well right? Greg is doing great. The surgeon was great. The people (except the last nurse) were great. I know that Piedmont just bought the Newnan hospital and they're working on improving things. I know there's a new hospital in the works and that at some point in the future Newnan will be blessed with a good hospital.

I also know that when my time comes to get some procedure or operation done, I'll suffer for however long it takes to make sure I can have it done here, in Fayette County, at OUR Piedmont Hospital. I'm spoiled and I'll freely and happily admit it. Greg concurs. He was in debilitating pain, but after his experience in Newnan, he said he'd have been willing to gut it out a little longer.

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