Thursday, March 08, 2018

By your side

Ebony needs to be fitted with a Gastric Peg, a small valve inserted into her stomach, which will be less invasive than a nasogastric tube. This way she will be able to receive nutrients through an IV line without much fuss. 

They removed the feeding tube earlier and placed her on another IV solution to keep her hydrated and get her what she needs — this time I think it’s magnesium. 

Later, around 9 p.m., a 30ish PA showed up to inform me that she was there to reinsert the nasogastric tube because the doctors don’t think they will be able to take her for surgery until Friday. I explained to the young lady that she needs to be extremely careful and before I finished my sentence highlighting WHY, she cut me off and said, “I do this all the time.”

Well, I thought, “That is the kind of mondaine arrogance that makes for an excellent doctor: she must be good. Soon, she’ll be dining in the cafeteria and leaving her tray on the table when she’s finished with her Thai salad, checking her phone as she sashays away.”

I clutched Ebony’s band tightly, holding it to my chest through the four attempts by Little Miss Can’t-Be-Wrong, glaring at her. Ebony winced as she slid the tube through her nostril and tried to feed it in, meeting with resistance again and again as Ebony’s sore passageway gave rise to gasps. 

Finally she stopped and said, “I think we’ll have to try again in a few hours and let her rest. I’ll let the team know.” 

And then she left without so much as a courtesy “goodnight.”

Later, sometime after 11, the attending nurse came to tell me that “visiting hours are over.”

This has happened twice before and I tweeted about it, writing, “@nyphospital This new visitation policy is awful. Since when do you keep family from being with loved ones who are cancer patients? Because I work odd hours shouldn’t be held against me or prevent me from sitting quietly with my fiancĂ©e. It wasn’t a problem before. @staceysager7”*

*(Stacey Sager is a Channel 7 reporter I tagged, who has beaten Cancer twice. )

The next day Patient Services got back to me around 8 a.m. and apologized. I pointed out that this had not been a problem before and the NYP website states plainly that it has “open visiting hours...with no set times.”

Later, when I was leaving the hospital to go to work, two reps met me to tell me it was a misunderstanding and there would be no problems going forward.

Now, here I was again. But I didn’t fly off the handle, I just calmly whispered and explained what happened and asked her to check with her supervisor to see if there might be a note from Patient Services.

Another woman returned to give the same speech and I repeated myself, calmly. She went away and did not return.

Later, the first girl returned and told me she needed to reposition Ebony and asked if could help her. We removed a pillow from underneath Her right side and placed it under her left side. Movement and repositioning helps prevent bed sores. But when we rolled her she made a face and she had tears rolling down her cheeks. I started choking up. “Isn’t there anything you can give her?”

Ebony has only been on painkillers during and after surgery. So first girl said she would call the doctor. When she returned, she brought something for Ebony and at  1:45, gave her 1mg of Morphine. So, “Yay!” first girl! 

That was two hours ago and Ebony is resting peacefully. Meanwhile, I have been here for 24 hours and awake for maybe 36? Hard to keep track. I need to sleep, but I am still here, by Ebony’s side.