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The stone removal's aftermath

May 14, 2012
by Kathleen Mears
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The 9 mm kidney stone which has plagued me since January was blown to bits by a laser last week. Since the procedure was short and I recovered well, I returned to the facility that same day. 

After getting in bed to watch TV, I began to have chills that made my teeth chatter. I knew there was a problem. I had a restless night and the next morning my temperature was 103.6° which made the nurses suggest I go back to the hospital.  

I knew they were probably right but the last thing I wanted to do was lay on a hard ER bed for an extended period of time. Eventually though, I did go and spent six hours in the ER. My sister was banished because of sterile procedure for IVs and I spent most of the time alone. 

Eventually they found a room for me albeit on the burn unit. Though it was a private room, it was small. I was given IVs of fluid and antibiotics to curb any infection that might be present. 

The first night I was exhausted and slept. The next day I asked to get up to a bedside commode. I needed to get suppositories and have a bowel movement. I have difficulty doing that on a bedpan. I got strange looks from the staff but I suggested that therapy could possibly help and tried to remain positive. 

I wondered if there were staffing issues. But I felt my well-being and comfort were more important.  

An hour or so later a therapist came to see me. She said they would help me get up to the commode an hour or so after lunch. It was not my optimum time but at least I was going to get up.  

When they brought the bedside commode I was aghast. It had no back! We discussed the commode during my transfer. I questioned its stupid design. But one therapist said, "It was also stupid to buy it." 

Because they had to manipulate the commode to support me, their job was more difficult. Two therapists assisted me to stand and someone moved the bed out and the commode behind me. We made the commode do its job.  

When the therapists put me back into bed, I felt their tense muscles. I knew they had felt challenged helping me and I wondered if it would happen again. I told them I appreciated their help and I felt more comfortable because of it. 

The next day neither therapy nor the floor staff could assist me on to the bedside commode. They mentioned short staffing and the fact that therapy could not help. I was not pleased and protested. Eventually they assisted me to sit on the bedpan on the side of the bed. I had no privacy because they had to stay in the room but at least it made me more comfortable. 

I wondered why at a large university hospital appropriate equipment could not be made available to a patient--even in a burn unit. I know that things are bureaucratic in hospitals, but I intend to write a letter requesting that things be improved for patients like me.

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Kathleen Mears

www.ltlmagazine.com/blog/kathleen-mears

Kathleen Mears has been a nursing home resident in Ohio for 20 years. She is an incomplete...