Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Hospital care

Good morning. I don't really want my blog to turn into a geriatrics blog but I do want to keep track of what is going on in my life, and this is what is going on...

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.
  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. Meals. Obviously these were really different. No soy beans anywhere! Looked delicious!

  4. 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.

  5. 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!

  6. 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.


Mimi said...

Hi Tanya,

It's good to hear that your mother is getting good care and lots of patience from the staff members.

Hope she gets stronger each and every day.

Prayers are with you at all times, dear. Take care of yourself.


Allie said...

Awww, she sounds so sweet. I'm glad she's getting good care. It's interesting to hear the differences in care between our two countries. I'm glad you got to go out and do some fabric shopping.

Quiltin' LibraryLady said...

Don't say you'd be a bad nurse just because you took a little time for yourself. It sounds like your mother is getting good care so you shouldn't have to be there every minute.

Since patients in Japan have to bring their own supplies are the hospital bills any cheaper than in the US? They charge plenty here so I'd say for every pair of gloves the nurses use, the patient is paying for a whole box full.

Your mother is amazing. There she is in the hospital and yet she's interested in what's going on with the nurses & doctors, and making sure they know who you are. My mom did the introduction thing a lot when she was in the nursing home.

Katie said...

Thinking of you and your family. Hope your mom continues to get better. It is so good that you are here in the States now. Your observations on hospitals here and in Japan are interesting. As for the IVs, as least in my area, they are necessary to have the insurance pay. If you don't need an IV the insurance says you don't need to be in the hospital and should be in a nursing home or discharged home, perhaps with home nursing checks. So you never get the IV out until you are discharged.

janet said...

Your mother and your family are in my prayers. I think it is wonderful that you are able to be with your mother during this time.

Take care of yourself and don't feel guilty about going out for a few hours each day.


Anonymous said...

thanks for posting and keeping us updated. I have to agree with the other comments--DONT forget to take care of yourself!

quiltmom said...

I am sure that your mother is glad to have you with her- It is good for you to get away for a little while - see the sunshine and get out and about.
My father in law had a stroke along time ago and I remember being at the hospital each day for awhile. It was very important to us to be there but it was quite tiring. It is good to pace yourself a little too.
It is nice that you are able to be there. It sounds like she is being well taken care of all the way around.

meggie said...

O Tanya, every good daughter deserves a break to somewhere like Jo Anns! Therapy.
The hospital system sounds very much the same as it is here, with each nurse doing different tasks.

roberta said...

guess you are already in Ca. ! i'll be in prayer for your dear mother....Good time management ( i mean going to jo anns during her nap :))) ! Waiting for the quilts....
Love and prayers from italy

The Calico Quilter said...

I am glad to hear your mother is doing pretty well. Please do not overstress yourself. You want to be helpful and be there when she needs you, but don't get worn down by the worry. I have done the hospital bedside thing, and know how stressful it is. Take a break, take a walk, just sit in the cafeteria with a cup of tea and relax. And remember to eat well. Keep yourself healthy so you can be there for her. I'm sending good thoughts your way!

Rae Ann said...

Grandma sounds like she'll know everyone by the time she is released. Sounds as though things are look up for her and she sure seems to be receiving excellent care. Glad you had the chance to sneak off to Joanns, hope you found some fabric you just couldn't live without. Take care of yourself too! Thinking of you and your Mom. Rae Ann

XUE said...

When my father was in & out of a coma for 3 years, we all felt so helpless & didn't dare to be happy for fear that it would seem so disrespectful. I am sorry to hear about your difficult times & smile when I read the humorous parts that you are describing. Take care & dare to be happy.