26 October 2011


If you've never been discharged from a hospital, imagine a scene where checkout at the grocery store the day before Thanksgiving was managed by TSA airport security.  Throw in a couple of bright but clueless first year residents who graduated from medical school a week ago and you've got yourself the shit show that was our release from the hospital on Friday.

Friday morning a bespectabled hipster doctor cheerily went over everything that needed to be done before we could leave.  He asked that we be patient and said we may not be able to leave until 2 or 3.  They needed to take care of a blood pressure monitor for Lula and list all meds and instructions in the discharge papers and make sure our night nurses were up to date.

2:00 and then 3:00 came and went. At 4:15 I put on my coat, put Lu in her car seat and stood outside of the nurses station with all my bags, looking like an itinerant mom stuck in an airport.  I really did start to feel trapped.  The morning doctor was long gone and the new resident looked confused and a bit panicked.  She handed me a bunch of prescriptions for all of the things they were supposed to be arranging for us all day. I realized that, in fact, nothing had been done.

Now it was 5:00pm on a Friday. Where the hell was I supposed to get a blood pressure monitor? "Oh, just go to any pharmacy".  Um, I have 16 month old twins and you are sending me out to try to find a cab that will take me to Brooklyn on a Friday at 5:00pm and then find a pharmacy that's open and has everything we need in stock?  Have you ever tried to take a cab to Brooklyn at 5pm on a Friday??  Have you ever tried to accomplish anything at 5:00pm with 2 small children to feed, bathe, dress, and put to bed by 7:30??? Have you ever even changed a diaper???? I kind of lost it.  I just sat down on the floor in the hallway and started crying.

Turns out that while most pharmacies stock adult blood pressure monitors, none carry infant ones, something apparently, that they do not teach you in medical school.  To shorten a long and very frustrating story, we now have a blood pressure monitor (a cheapie one) and no one can get a reading on Lula, including two nurses and a pediatrician. It appears that only a hospital grade sphygmomanometer (aha!) can find Lula's tiny little pulse, especially now that her new meds are making her retain water and she is chunking up like a little sumo wrestler.

At one point a resident at Cornell actually suggested that I take my child to the Emergency Room to have her blood pressure checked.  Her insurance would not cover a visiting nurse or a digital sphygmomanometer but it would cover an ER visit that would have cost 10 times as much, taken hours, and exposed Lula to untold hospital borne germs and diseases.  I finally spoke to a nurse in the Neuro clinic who said we were fine to wait until Thursday to get her blood pressure checked when she is going to Bellevue for other appointments. THANK YOU.

The ONLY upside to this palava is that I have been saying sphygmomanometer every chance I get.

No comments:

Post a Comment