Sunday, March 21, 2010

Hospital and Home

Baggage came quickly, even the large box with the broken espresso machine I was hauling with me. No wait for a cab and I headed to my parents house. Light rain was falling. My mom and my dog were both glad to see me. After a good scratch to Bernie’s ears, we headed to the hospital.

It was quiet there. My dad was in pretty good spirits and looking forward to heading home soon. I couldn’t help comparing the pure luxury of his simple hospital room to a few I had recently seen in Nicaragua. Still, there is no way a Nicaraguan hospital would have sent him home so soon.

The Hospital Director came to visit my dad because he saw he had come in as a result of a bike accident. He was able to identify the part of the Burke Gilman where the accident occurred before he even heard about it. Someone comes in about once a week from there. He hit it off with my dad as a mature, bike riding, administrator type and encouraged him to ride again when the leg was healed.

The big bummer is my parents’ bike trip to Holland in two weeks had to be cancelled.

The first day home, it really took two of us to sort everything out. It was hard. I felt like my dad was sent home with very little information about what to do if there was a problem. I did call the doctor on call at midnight to make sure shin pain wasn’t a blood clot. She said, no, but the fever could be a sign of a UTI and we should take him to his GP the next day for a test. She clearly had no clue what it had been like for my dad to make the trip to the bathroom, let alone out of the house and into the car again. And even after that call, his surgeon didn’t call to make sure everything was all right. Everything is all right, but still, if my dad was alone or had less on the ball caregivers, it wouldn’t be - and who would know?

So for all of the technology and advanced medicine, for which I am truly thankful, the simple human connection, coordination and follow-up was oddly missing. But I am nitpicking. My dad just had some major surgery the moment he needed it and nothing went wrong. The people he worked with in the hospital were attentive, supportive and professional. It is easy to lose sight of that bigger, better picture in the moment uncertainty and confusion.

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