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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Hospital Roommates from Hell

Now, I can look back and joke about my two misadventures during one of my three recent hospital stays. I'm not even counting the roommates who kept the TV on all night...those I could sleep through for the most part. I'm going to tell my horror tales of two roommates I never expected to encounter.

I was placed in a private room after surgery, but because of a fast heartbeat I was moved to a heart-monitoring floor and wheeled into a double room. Nurses were trying to get me settled when my "unseen" (behind the curtain divider) roommate started yelling about how she couldn't have a roommate and they knew it. She had OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), couldn't share a room, and had already set the room up the way she wanted it.

I grabbed a nurse's hand and asked her to to get me out of there...even if it meant going in the hallway. She told me to push my morphine button (thank God for heavy drugs) and relax. They'd take care of her.

"Ms. Monk" (I called her that based on the character in the TV show, MONK), continued to complain all night, cursing in phone calls and just being a pain in the butt. Thanks to my drugged state, I heard some of it and just kept drifting off to sleep. Thankfully, the next day she signed herself out of the hospital.

Ah. Peace and quiet for me...for just two days before roommate number two was brought in.

"Helen", 82 years old and suffering from dementia, arrived confused and without relatives. Seems someone "dropped" her off at the ER per her doctor's request since her son (caretaker) was in another hospital...although Helen insisted he was in ours and kept arguing with everyone.

As the day wore on, Helen slipped further and further back through the 8 decades of her life and took me along with her. She held conversations...sometimes two or three-way ones...from her past. She wouldn't stay in bed, so would wander and finally the nurse put a bed alarm on her bed....which was constantly going off.

Then they brought in a "low-to-the-ground" bed for her, surrounded by mats in case she fell. That didn't keep her in bed either. She took the bed apart looking for candy because she kept saying they hadn't fed her (she'd had dinner).

I heard everything: the girl scouts coming over the hills, the boys riding horses, buying a horse, taking Margarite and Joy to buy a dress (one of the 3-way conversations), how "he" beat her all the time (later found out there were bruises on her and they wondered about how the son took care of her). Hell, she even talked about us being in a maternity unit and was folding diapers for babies.

Yes, they gave her a sedative. Quiet lasted 1 and 1/2 hours before she was up and talking again.
At 6:20am they finally moved her to another room. I was totally exhausted the rest of the day.

Hospitals are definitely not the place to go to rest as my stories prove.

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