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Staying sane in a hospital environment

Posted by: barrmar

Tagged in: Untagged 


For the second time in my life I found myself in an ambulance with an oxygen mask covering my nose and mouth. 

Following a mild dose of 'flu, I had been experiencing mild pains just below my left rib cage for a while. As Wednesday evening drew on, the pain became more and more severe. It became impossible for me to lie down, sit or stand. Breathing became a major problem. 

The paramedics wanted to know my medical history, my age, my usual blood pressure (which had suddenly gone to a level way beyond my wildest imaginings). 

The oxygen helped and though it was still difficult to breath the pain began to ease. The ECG suggested that my heart was fine. 

During all this time my family was there. Luckily, my son was able to delve into his library available through his Kindle. Nelson Mandela's "Conversations with Myself" was an interesting choice. 

At the hospital I was wired up to an ECG machine, connected to an IV and given pain killers. Then xrays and blood tests. My phone, watch and everything else were at home. By 2:00 a.m. I was feeling a little better. The blood tests had suggested the possibility of a clot on the lungs so I got a blood thinner injection and was sent home to return the next morning for a CT scan. 

At 6:30 we were back, waiting for the CT scan. I filled in the forms. The medical aid approved. 

A CT scan is a strange experience. You move forwards and back through an arched instrument. The strangest part was when I got an iodine injection as the final part of the scan. First you feel the stuff tingle through your veins. Then your body becomes hot, your brain feels disoriented and high, and next thing you feel warm and wet everywhere. Then it is all over. A rush of new sensations within a couple of minutes. 

Back to wait for the results and to see the doctor. A long wait. This time, I had my cell phone and now felt up to reading so had a look through my emails. I hadn't heard any news for a while so I read the Daily Maverick delivered to me daily by email. I works well on my phone. 

This time the two hour wait was long. Being able to get the news and to read a number of articles on my phone all helped. 

Eventually the doctor returned. No clot. It was (is) pneumonia. So here I am, taking masses of antibiotics and painkillers and resting. 

As these kick in I am able to begin to function once again. 

Hospitals can become very boring places. The assortment of magazines in the waiting rooms are never enough to satisfy waiting patients and visitors for hours on end. Besides, there must be a risk of cross-infection as who knows who has handled these items? While I prefer a book to a Kindle at home or a Laptop to a phone for reading emails, the electronic devices are ideal for the hospital environment. 

So yes, you can bring along your collection of 3,500 books and an email reader all on pocket sized devices. That could help keep you sane rather than staring at the ceiling hour after hour. Can make waiting in a hospital bed a lot more entertaining. 

Comments (6)Add Comment
written by Dissol, June 04, 2011
Barrmar, sorry to hear of your escapades. Hope the antibiotics kick in, and that you are up & running shortly. I can totally emapthise with the boredom that comes with hospital stays... My worst experiences have been after spine surgeries, where you have to remain horizontal (and regularly moved from one side to the other to avoid pressure sores). It is impossible to hold anything like a book or even a phone for very long (even if you have the function of one or both is just too tiring to hold things up for long). These days, I am pleased to have a well stocked iPhone, which I keep with me at all times. A selection of carefully selected podcasts (Attenborough, MotorSport magazine, Ricky Gervais, Science Weekly, etc.) keeps me sane(ish).

Get well soon mate! smilies/smiley.gif
written by Doolally, June 06, 2011
Hope you feeling better! I always wondered why hospitals do not invest in built in computers in their wards. Often patients don't want to watch tellie but prefer to chat to family (who more often than not are available online rather than on phone!)

Any way look after yourself and get well soon smilies/wink.gif
written by flytrap, June 06, 2011
Hope you are much better barrmar. Damn lung infections are no fun, just finished a bout with 'flu after a bout with bronchitis in March.
They seem to sneak up on one as you get older.
While I was in bed and away from my computer, the same thought occurred to me. Fortunately I had a pile of books (thanks to the wife) but I had that exact thought,that an e-book of some kind would be cool for sick people. I scooped up the wifes BB and wandered around the 'net a bit but gave it up as the small screen just irritated me. I'll say a e-book is better than a soggy 2 year old magazine but in the end I picked went back to the book.
written by barrmar, June 07, 2011
Thanks for all your good wishes. I am still recovering. Not a pleasant experience at all.
written by msbodetti, June 08, 2011
Hey hope you get better!
written by atue2000, October 03, 2011

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I believed we can move from here? Remember colour or distance does not matter but LOVE matters allot in life). Reply me back with my email address( hope to hear from you soon yours Helen?

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