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Ostomy Memories of a Loud Patient

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Sun Sep 13, 2020 7:45 am

My first UC hospitalization was in upstate New York in a hospital that must have been a relic from the 19th Century, grim as it was. They installed me in what was called a semi-private room, a euphemism if ever there was one. A room is either private, or it’s not. A never-ending string of other patients funneled through the room during my one and one-half months there. I remember only one: a miserable older man who had just had his second leg amputated. Whatever pain meds they were dosing him with, it wasn’t enough. The poor man groaned loudly most of the day and night. Yet even when he lay silent, the hospital was not quiet. A woman patient about two rooms down from me persisted in screaming constantly: “NOISE! NOISE!” Had there been any disquiet to speak of, I felt certain that I would have heard it too, yet her bellowing was the only noise I could detect. Thirty minutes might pass, and then: “NOISE! NOISE!” Still, I heard nothing else. I was fairly sure that I hadn’t been deposited in a psycho ward. Who knows what this woman was screaming about. An aide came into my room on her rounds. She stuck a thermometer in my mouth (this was 1963) and reached for the blood pressure cuff. “NOISE! NOISE!” “What is that woman screaming about?” I asked the aide. “Do you hear any noise?” She smiled comfortingly. “Oh, that’s the lady from Brooklyn,” she said. “She’s just calling for the nurse.”

Sun Sep 13, 2020 9:31 am

Yes, hospitals are not pleasant places to spend time. I'm pretty sure the term "semi-private" refers to the hospital gown.

 

Laurie

Sun Sep 13, 2020 9:35 am

Hello HenryM.

Sometimes hospital wards can be like that, especially if there are one or two people who insist on making themselves heard. It was perhaps a 'telling' remark that she was calling for a nurse and maybe if one had replied the calling might have stopped. I recall one occasion, when visiting my wife in hospital, there was a man who was constantly calling for the nurses and getting no response. I went across to him and chatted for a while and he was fine, except that he wanted to phone his wife to let her know where he was and that he was okay. I offered to use my mobile for that purpose and explained to his wife that he wished to contact her. She had a few words with him via my mobile and he settled back to the routine bordom of being on the ward. I never did see a nurse respond to his buzzer, but as I was leaving I witnessed that there were about 6 nurses at their station, all chatting away to each other as if there was nothing else for them to do on the ward. A sad reflection of setting priorities!

Best wishes

Bill

 

Sun Sep 13, 2020 9:50 am
Bill wrote:

Hello HenryM.

Sometimes hospital wards can be like that, especially if there are one or two people who insist on making themselves heard. It was perhaps a 'telling' remark that she was calling for a nurse and maybe if one had replied the calling might have stopped. I recall one occasion, when visiting my wife in hospital, there was a man who was constantly calling for the nurses and getting no response. I went across to him and chatted for a while and he was fine, except that he wanted to phone his wife to let her know where he was and that he was okay. I offered to use my mobile for that purpose and explained to his wife that he wished to contact her. She had a few words with him via my mobile and he settled back to the routine bordom of being on the ward. I never did see a nurse respond to his buzzer, but as I was leaving I witnessed that there were about 6 nurses at their station, all chatting away to each other as if there was nothing else for them to do on the ward. A sad reflection of setting priorities!

Best wishes

Bill

 

In hospitals, I have found, timing is always for the conveniece of the staff.  But it is certainly not unusual that people at work in professional settings do not live up to or abide with their stated goals.  Try explaining "serve and protect" to the families of young black males shot and killed by cops in USA, or "justice for all" to those without the bank accounts sufficient to afford as much justice as they'd prefer, or the stirring words emblazoned upon the Statue of Liberty to immigrants spat upon by Donald Trump.

Sun Sep 13, 2020 2:14 pm
HenryM wrote:

In hospitals, I have found, timing is always for the conveniece of the staff.  But it is certainly not unusual that people at work in professional settings do not live up to or abide with their stated goals.  Try explaining "serve and protect" to the families of young black males shot and killed by cops in USA, or "justice for all" to those without the bank accounts sufficient to afford as much justice as they'd prefer, or the stirring words emblazoned upon the Statue of Liberty to immigrants spat upon by Donald Trump.

Hello HenryM. 

I was tempted to respond with one of my many rhymes about 'super-bullies' such as 'Trump', Putin and Xi Jinping, as they have been a motivation, inspiration and a role model for many of my recent poems on bullying, narcissism and personality disorder. However, I am aware that there are some who view these traits as desirable, so on this site, have refrained from sharing my versification on the subject. In any case, many of my more recent rhymes are repetitions and re-evaluations of the concepts aroused by the now deceased bully - Margaret Thatcher, so I feel that they are probably best exposed as 'principles'/ 'strategies' and techniques of bullies in general, rather than simply attributed to what may be percieved as the biggest bullies of the day. 

Best wishes

Bill 

Sun Sep 13, 2020 3:55 pm
Bill wrote:

Hello HenryM. 

I was tempted to respond with one of my many rhymes about 'super-bullies' such as 'Trump', Putin and Xi Jinping, as they have been a motivation, inspiration and a role model for many of my recent poems on bullying, narcissism and personality disorder. However, I am aware that there are some who view these traits as desirable, so on this site, have refrained from sharing my versification on the subject. In any case, many of my more recent rhymes are repetitions and re-evaluations of the concepts aroused by the now deceased bully - Margaret Thatcher, so I feel that they are probably best exposed as 'principles'/ 'strategies' and techniques of bullies in general, rather than simply attributed to what may be percieved as the biggest bullies of the day. 

Best wishes

Bill 


I'll trade you one Trump for three Margaret Thatchers.  Churchill too, was a bully of sorts, but when Trump recently compared himself to him, I reached for a large barf bag.  As for any on this website who might be offended by anti-bully comments on any of these autocrats (e.g. Trumpists), as far as I'm concerned, they can stew in their simplistic juices.  He has ruined an entire country.

Sun Sep 13, 2020 4:00 pm

Hi Henry,  After my first ostomy surgery I was put in a ward with three other patients.  The man next to me had some sort of lung disease I think and when not clearing his throat very loudly he was actually vaccuming it's contents out with some sort of machine.  The noise was horrendous and actually nausea inducing.  The woman next to him was Vietnamese and spent all of her time when not sleeping, on her cell phone talking to family in Vietnam with the speaker on so we had the pleasure of hearing both ends of the conversation.  Due to the time change this meant her calls started around 4 a.m.  I think the lack of sleep was what made my recovery so difficult. Hospitals are no place for the sick!

My last two hospital stays were in a private room, what luxury!! There is just no comparing the two experiences!

So now I really don't know when you are pulling our collective legs Henry.  Was there really a lady calling out "noise!"?

 

Regards,

Terry

Sun Sep 13, 2020 4:12 pm
HenryM wrote:


I'll trade you one Trump for three Margaret Thatchers.  Churchill too, was a bully of sorts, but when Trump recently compared himself to him, I reached for a large barf bag.  As for any on this website who might be offended by anti-bully comments on any of these autocrats (e.g. Trumpists), as far as I'm concerned, they can stew in their simplistic juices.  He has ruined an entire country.

I agree with you Henry.  I often find it hard to keep my mouth shut (or fingers still) when faced with the kind of ignorant and blind support he still enjoys with a shockingly large percentage of the U.S. population.  And we should not minimize the impact his re-election would have on the rest of the world, not just the U.S.  We can only hope that some of the revelations that have been coming out recently from people who know him well will have some impact amongst undecided voters.  Fingers crossed.

 

Terry

Sun Sep 13, 2020 5:48 pm

There is an anthropologist named Wade Davis, a dual citizen of Canada and the US, who has written an incredibly interesting article called The Unraveling of America. You can find it by Googling it, or YouTube, as he was also interviewed on video.  It is a frightening look at the direction that the US is headed, and it is something that those of us who live outside the US have seen coming for years. He talks about how great nations have a lifespan, and that America's role as super power has been dwindling for some time, to be replaced, likely by China. He does say that the election of Trump is not the cause of this, but a symptom, but that his presidency has certainly hastened the country's decline. What he finds fascinating is that no superpower, either in history (Spain, Portugal, Britain) or now, in the US, seems to be able to see its own demise approaching, and therefore, cannot stop it from happening. 

Unfortunately for the US, the rest of the world now understands that Trump cannot be relied upon - on trade, on security, on anything. The result, of course, is that countries who were previously close partners of the US are now looking to form partnerships elsewhere. Again, hastening the demise of the US, in trade, as well as security.

 

 This, of course, is frightening for the west in general, but for Canada in particular. We are so tied to the US on so many fronts, and most of us have relatives, friends and colleagues who are American. None of us finds any pleasure in the direction we see the US heading.


Laurie

 

Mon Sep 14, 2020 2:28 am

Hello Henry. - Back to the wards.

 One of the most irritating things I found on the wards was when hospital staff walked about in the early hours in high-heals - which sounded like clogs. This was not usually ward staff but admin. who seemed to be oblivious to the noise they were making with their footwear. With all the modern soft soled shoes on the market today, you would think that people would have some consideration and wear them in this sort of work environment.

On the other hand, my experience of inconsiderate people, leads me to believe that there would probably need to be legislation and severe penalties to get some people to comply to what seems like common-sense and decency.  

Best wishes

Mon Sep 14, 2020 5:33 am
delgrl525 wrote:

Hi Henry,  After my first ostomy surgery I was put in a ward with three other patients.  The man next to me had some sort of lung disease I think and when not clearing his throat very loudly he was actually vaccuming it's contents out with some sort of machine.  The noise was horrendous and actually nausea inducing.  The woman next to him was Vietnamese and spent all of her time when not sleeping, on her cell phone talking to family in Vietnam with the speaker on so we had the pleasure of hearing both ends of the conversation.  Due to the time change this meant her calls started around 4 a.m.  I think the lack of sleep was what made my recovery so difficult. Hospitals are no place for the sick!

My last two hospital stays were in a private room, what luxury!! There is just no comparing the two experiences!

So now I really don't know when you are pulling our collective legs Henry.  Was there really a lady calling out "noise!"?

 

Regards,

Terry


It's part of my job to keep you guessing, Terry.  The "noise" woman is essentially a true story. 

Mon Sep 14, 2020 3:24 pm
HenryM wrote:


It's part of my job to keep you guessing, Terry.  The "noise" woman is essentially a true story. 

So a slightly embellished version of actual events? I can see it happening.  During one stay, a short one thankfully, there was a lady across the hall from me who carried on a conversation with her husband non-stop.  The problem was her husband wasn't there.  She rattled on and on repeating the same things over and over and would often ask questions, then after a brief pause, say "Well I don't know".  One of the nurses informed me the poor woman had dementia and that her husband visited her every day.  Sure enough he showed up shortly afterward and the amazing thing was that when he was there she hardly spoke at all! As soon as he left she started up again.  I commented to one of the nurses that I was looking forward to night time so we could get some peace and quiet and his response was "Oh, I don't know about that, she doesn't really seem to sleep much"!!  Luckily I got sprung that afternoon!

Terry

Mon Sep 14, 2020 5:57 pm
delgrl525 wrote:

So a slightly embellished version of actual events? I can see it happening.  During one stay, a short one thankfully, there was a lady across the hall from me who carried on a conversation with her husband non-stop.  The problem was her husband wasn't there.  She rattled on and on repeating the same things over and over and would often ask questions, then after a brief pause, say "Well I don't know".  One of the nurses informed me the poor woman had dementia and that her husband visited her every day.  Sure enough he showed up shortly afterward and the amazing thing was that when he was there she hardly spoke at all! As soon as he left she started up again.  I commented to one of the nurses that I was looking forward to night time so we could get some peace and quiet and his response was "Oh, I don't know about that, she doesn't really seem to sleep much"!!  Luckily I got sprung that afternoon!

Terry

You read me correctly, kid.  "Slightly embellished" is always going to be the case with stuff based on fact.  Fact by itself doesn't usually read real well...   

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