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My San Diego Hospital Stay

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20140126_171246I was at a hospital in San Diego for two weeks but really only remember the last week at best. Yet still, there are so many things that I can share.  I guess I can start with and try to limit this post to only the hospital and treatment while I was there.  The nurses and doctors were absolutely great.  I had never been in a situation that I had to be so dependent on others in my life but those first few weeks gave me a whole new respect for everything they do.  Prior to my accident I had only seen doctors or nurses for checkups, illnesses, and mild injuries.  I don’t think that I ever have had to stay the night in a hospital for my own health since I was born. I found out that there is much more to their job than just healing an injury; they were my caregivers, they were emotional support, and they were educators for myself and my family. I have been able to find a few of them on FaceBook but I am still sad that a few of them I may never see or speak to again.  I wish there was a way to find each one of them and thank them for everything they did at such a rough time for me.  Perhaps at some point I will be able to track a few of them down just to give them my gratitude.

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Despite the great level of care, my situation while there sucked lol. I’m not sure if my fuzzy memory is more about the shock my body was in or all the meds and painkillers I was given but I hated the feeling coming out of the ‘fog’.  I can understand why some senior citizens become somewhat mean when they have lapses in their memory and people have to correct them on events and time.  I was so confused and didn’t understand the time that passed, the people that were there or visited, and what was going on with me.  No one even shared with me what was really going on.  All of the information was pretty much shared with family and friends but I seemed to be some absent third party when anything was communicated.

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There also seemed to be some disconnect in communication among departments in the hospital.  Call me naïve or old school but I always had his picture my head of the clipboard at the bottom of your hospital bed listing what was wrong so when someone else came in they knew what to look for. This wasn’t the case.  One example was when I got taken down for an xray and I wasn’t positioned very well on the bed and my arm fell off the edge.  The xray tech told me to put my arms back at my side unaware that was paralyzed.  I told her that was at able to move my arms and with an attitude she questioned why.  Finally she seemed to get that I literally could not move my arms and helped my arm back onto the table but I just remember how frustrating that feeling was to be questioned about it and not being able to do anything.  It seems like such a simple thing but most of us are so used to communicating with their hands, pointing to where we’re hurt, and using gestures to explain things, that when that is taken away you really have to learn how to communicate differently or rely on somebody else getting that information. That early in my injury I was still just figuring these things out and wished there was better communication so I knew how to direct my care or others knew what was going on with me.  Similar situations happened during my stay mainly around when I needed to be moved or transferred to another bed and people expected me to move myself or help.

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I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised, it’s not common to run into somebody that is a quadriplegic. They had removed my catheter while I was there under the assumption that I was just going to go to the bathroom. First problem, I couldn’t move.  Second problem, your intestines and muscles that control the bladder also become paralyzed so there was no chance of me going. Thirdly, you lose the ability to ‘feel’ when you need to go so your bladder backs into the kidneys causing damage and bowels just back up. They ended up putting the catheter back in thankfully but I wouldn’t have any bowel action until I got to Craig hospital 2 weeks later where they know the common problems associated with paralysis. Of course, between surgeries on my neck, having an IVC filter put in (a wired grappling hook looking device to help catch blood clots), being nauseous from the heavy painkillers, and my own anxiety, I was put on liquid diet restrictions for most of the two weeks until just the last few days. Yea, for my stomach, bad news losing 35 lbs. in 2 weeks as small as I am.

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Other quad life issues we first encountered there; I wasn’t able to press a call light to get nurses help nor are they staffed to handle the high care and needs of someone dealing with paralysis at that level or someone with a traumatic brain injury. Luckily, I had a great group of family and friends that came to visit or lived in the area so I had someone with me almost 24/7. Great support 24/7 is no understatement. Think about how much you might fix your hair, scratch your head, or itch your face… they were there for all of those little things that I couldn’t do in addition to every drink of water and emotional support. I tried to limit my nagging but sometimes I’d ask someone to simply move my legs or arms. I couldn’t really feel it but it helped my sanity to see things moving and trying to make that connection. If the little needs weren’t enough to keep others busy, they couldn’t really sleep. Someone usually had to stay up with me through the night because I couldn’t sleep and we learned that lungs get paralyzed too which meant I couldn’t talk loud enough to wake someone in the same room (specially the heavy sleepers or ones chopping logs lol). For some, a high level break like mine means being hooked up to a breathing machine and tracheal tubes. However, I was able to breathe but not strong enough to speak over a whisper or I only got one word for every deep breath. Likewise, I couldn’t cough hard enough to clear my throat so I would start choking or suffocating until someone could do an assisted cough or suction my nose/throat. Oh the fun times. That about sums up my San Diego ‘hospital’ experience but I’ll get to the non-medical memories another post.

2 Comments

  1. Rhonda Akhihiero on December 10, 2015 at 3:07 pm

    My son went to high school with sherown and ran track together and I love to see sherown run track he was so fast a it was like he was running on airhe would cut that corner it was amazing God is so good I have been following his recovery and I’m so glad to see how far he has come walking again and able to work and take care of his family and to see the man he has become the joy I have he is a fighter I’m so proud of him and glad he did not let what happened to him not stop him God has his reasons and blessing I haven’t seen him since he and Kevin graduated but I’m very happy. To see him doing well



    • sherow6_wp on December 10, 2015 at 4:32 pm

      Thank you Rhonda. Hope you all our well. Good to see Kevin has been enjoying life with his little ones in Utah.



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