Sunday, July 17, 2005

Hospital tales 5: Nurse blame residents, resident blames nurses

When life sends you into a tailspin, tell the tales.

At midnight on Saturday night I went NPO--an abbreviation for “nothing per oral” or maybe it’s an abbreviation for a Latin phrase. What ever it means, after midnight I could not eat or drink because I was going to have the lysing procedure on Sunday.

Medical people love Latin. In the early 70’s I began to lose small patches of pigment on my chest, arms, etc. Once a doctor and medical student were examining me when the student asked what caused the loss of pigment. “It’s idiopathic,” the doctor said.

“Does that mean ‘I don’t know’?” I asked.

“Yes,” said the doctor.

I woke up Sunday full of gratitude: “I’m alive.” Sarah was still sleeping on a cot beside me.

I pressed my call light and asked the nurse for a Bible. Eventually she came back and said they had searched the whole floor for a Bible and couldn’t find one. “I’ll call pastoral care.”
A sister showed up with a Good News Bible. “I’m sorry,” she said. “We used to keep Bible’s in the room but they kept disappearing on us.” She handed me the Bible.

Now there’s a ministry opportunity, I thought. Keep hospitals supplied with Good News Bibles so that people can steal them.

After a good quiet time I asked the nurse when the lysing procedure was going to be done. She hadn’t been informed yet.

At 1:00 p.m. my nurse came in and said she had called my doctor to ask when the lysing procedure was scheduled for. That’s when she discovered that none of the five doctors I had seen the night before called interventional radiology and scheduled the procedure.

The doctor said it would be fine to do the procedure to morrow.

“Can he eat then?” asked the nurse. Kind nurse.

The next day a resident said that nursing should have arranged the lysing procedure. Hmmmm.

I didn’t get upset by the mix-up. My hope is not in medicine but in the Lord of the universe and I figured he’d make sure I got the lying procedure in the fullness of time.

That evening Rick and Lynn Reha, Heather Munn and Jim Fitz came from Plow Creek to visit Sarah and me. As they were about to leave, Jim said, “How about we pray?” I was so thankful. I was lying in the need of prayer.

At midnight I went NPO again.

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