I spent most of the day at the hospital again yesterday. Mother is looking good. Even when she isn't so great she always is the model of politeness and congeniality. While being helped to the toilet by the nurses she'll ask about their background and nationality, whether they have children, and she'll introduce me
"And this is my daughter from Japan. She's lived there 30 years and has a Japanese husband but her two children are studying in America. My son's wife is Caucasian so I have Japanese looking grandchildren and Caucasian looking grandchildren."
The nurses smile and keep up the conversation but Grandma will introduce me to the same nurses every time they come in. And to the doctors. And to the cleaning ladies. I think she is what could be called a "cute but confused" grandma.
Grandma's hospital is a small general hospital and when I was in high school I actually volunteered my summers there. Not really a candy striper (I was given a uniform of white pants and a tan smock) but I'd push wheelchairs and help make beds. I look around the hallways and try to remember those summers but most everything is unfamiliar to me. Here are a few things that caught my attention about American hospitals yesterday.
- RNs and CNAs. I had to ask what the initials stand for. And observe what the differences were. RNs took temperatures and blood pressure and oxygen levels. Flushed IVs, relayed information (minor) from the doctor, brought medicine. CNAs brought meals, helped Grandma to the toilet, did the cleaning up afterwards. I think in Japan a nurse is a nurse in the regular hospitals.
- White board. On the wall where the patient can see it is a white board that lets everyone know the assigned RN and CNA for that shift. I don't think they have the assignment system in Japan. I really liked this system because the nurse seems to have time for my mother and knows her problems and quirks (like being introduced to me three times.) Bad side is that my mom didn't seem to understand why the other nurse couldn't help her when she was right in the room.
- Meals. Obviously these were really different. No soy beans anywhere! Looked delicious!
- Plastic gloves. I was amazed at the number of plastic gloves that were used in the few hours I was at the hospital. This may seem so obvious but my mother-in-law in Japan was required to bring a box of plastic gloves for the nurses to use...and not that many got used. Yesterday every single time a RN or CNA came into the room they put on another pair of plastic gloves and tossed them on their way out the door.
- IV line. My mother does not like the IV needle stuck in her arm. They had her hooked up to something in the emergency room. She is no longer hooked up but the line is still there. She buzzes for the nurse. "This is bothering me. Do you suppose you could take it out?" "Oh no. Everyone in the hospital for the duration of their stay must have an easy access line in case of an emergency. We don't want to be trying to hook you up and can't find a vein in an emergency." I think my mother-in-law was in the hospital a month and never had an IV near her and certainly not for the duration of her stay!
- Accents. This is just thrown in here because I found it interesting that every single person that came into the hospital room seemed to have an accent. Thanks to my mother's chatting skills I found out that 4 of the nurses were from the Philippines. One doctor was Indian, one was Italian, and a couple of the CNAs were from Dubai. Mother's own doctor is Iranian and her hospital roommate seemed to be Hispanic.
And guess what... While mother was napping I took off for a couple hours and visited Jo Anns! I'd make a lousy nurse.