Spending 6 days in the hospital was not planned research for this blog post, but here we are, and I want to share lessons learned in the hope it can help someone else.
The most important thing I learned was how pivotal it is to have an advocate with you at all times in the hospital. Having someone just during the day is not good enough. You never know when you will be woken up at 4 am to run a last-minute test. I was woken up at 11 pm one night to run a CT Scan. I had already had one, but the nurses were adamant. My husband and I held strong and insisted they verify the scan was needed. It turned out that they had called the wrong room number. The test wasn’t meant for me at all. Talk about a huge mistake. Not only based upon cost but also the additional radiation I would have been exposed to.
Insist that your doctors talk to each other. Each doctor has their focus and own opinions, but if they are not on the same page for your health plan, you are the one that will lose.
Write down everything. You will rarely have the same doctors and nurses in and out of your hospital room. Not to mention that there is just so much information to process when they are running numerous tests. Plus, at follow up appointments, you will have your records of what took place. Having specific dates and times written down can also serve you well.
If your illness is not diagnosed or gets worse, don’t be afraid to go back. On the same day, I went to the hospital emergency room twice, and the second time they admitted me. During my stay, they ran every test possible. If I had waited to see my doctor, it would have taken weeks to get the same accomplished.
You can have a vastly different experience in the same hospital depending upon your floor and how well that floor is managed. A great nurse is an amazing gift, but no matter how good that nurse is, if they don’t have solid direction, you will be the one that suffers.
The nurses all talk to each other. The kinder you are to your nurse, the kinder they are in return. Not to mention that when you’ve been in the hospital for a while, you will develop a reputation.
Don’t be afraid to say, “No.” I had five failed IVs, and six blood draws. After the last IV failed, they wanted to put in a PICC line. I knew that they were hoping to release me the following day from the hospital and that there were no more blood draws coming my way. I said, “No.” They wanted to do it just in case, but I was adamant that unless there was a justified reason to do it that I would not comply.
I hope that these points are good reminders or new information that can help you or a loved one in the future. I certainly had never thought before about what I would need to know for a hospital stay.