Wouldn’t believe it if I hadn’t experienced it…
My father had a motorcycle accident at the age of 61 in 1999- he hit a guardrail went over it down a small embankment. He was rushed to a local hospital and my mother and sister, both of whom have only high school education, were strong-armed into signing to authorize what turnde out to be an unnecessary, and tragic surgery to be conducted the next day. There seemed to be a hairline fracture in my father’s tibia, teh left one, I beileve. Unfortunately, in the course of this surgery, there was an anesthesia error that to him being anoxic for a few minutes, which was long enough to destroy the part of his brain what makes new memories. So, the man who earned top score on the ASVAB I’m his cohort of about 400 and who was assigned a full scholarship at Renssalaer by the Navy, could no longer make new memories. Further, he came out of that surgery telling mixed up stories about hunting trips from long ago but was he involved nurses and staff from his current hospitalization.
The man who genuinely obese – he was about 270 lb at a height of 5 10 even though he was very substantial build – for reference, he left Navy Boot Camp at 165 pounds. As a result, he was on Vasoted for his blood pressure and Zocor for his cholesterol.
The first meal I saw him serve for the cheeseburger, which I assumed was simply an error… But the second meal I saw him served was roast beef so I called for The Dietitian. The “dietitian” was an extra-large woman who had to have weighted close to 300 lbs. – she was gigantic I have a 6 ft wingspan but I have my doubts as to whether I could have put my arms around her and I tried. When I pointed out the irony and the inconsistency of my father, with his weight on his prescriptions, being given such foods she did at least respond that possible indeed have a cardiac feeding program. Trying not to be overly sarcastic I said “let’s try that”.
So, being a modern medical facility they keep the MRSA bacteria circulating and my father had a small open wound on his leg and managed to pick up some MRSA in there. The doctor said to me that my father needed to put be put on IV Vancomycin because that’s the only thing that kills MRSA. That seemed very extreme to me, AND expensive, so I asked him, “Where is it?, just in that one divot?”. “Yes”, was the reply , to which I replied “Is it going anywhere?” To which he replied “No” – “Well, then we really don’t need to do IV Vancomycin then, do we?” And sheepishly, softly said something like “Well, I have to say that, it’s Standard of Care”. Nothing ever came of the MRSA issue.
Meanwhile, the cardiac diet included angel food cake. It’s pretty well known that concentrated sugar downs the immune system, and, to me, my father was fighting an infection that he hadn’t arrived with or asked for, so the least they could do was support him, with more than IV Vancomyicin. So I called for “dietitian” again, and, oh, the Earth shook. When she arrived, I pointed out the ongoing illogic. The response, oh, but I will never ever forget, was that “Angel food cake is a Fine Food, I even give it to my diabetic patients”. Holy Cow! I am rarely at a loss for words but, this was one of those times. The surreal multi-dimensional intersection of irony of the 300 pound “dietician” telling me that angel food cake is not only a food but “A Fine Food”, let alone for someone fighting a hospital caused infection was just too much for me.
Oh, and well, no surprise, there was never any official explanation of what happened, let alone an apology. The Orthopedist, when I asked why the surgery was so urgent, mentioned that my father’s knee makes cracking sounds occasionally. As my sister said, “My knee’s been cracking since I turned 30!”
So, beware – and be an advocate for your friends and relatives who are hospitalized – they need all the help they can get.