Daily Archives: August 4, 2011


I truly do admire people who devote their lives to medicine.  From nursing tech to the most highly skilled surgeon, they have chosen an exacting field requiring in depth education and a dedication far beyond most other jobs.  But I’ve come to realize many of them missed a critical class, or maybe that class is just not offered.  It would be called something like Communication 101.  As in saying things so everyone understands what you’re saying.

And it’s not just the upper echelon of surgeon and charge nurse.  Early in our hospital experience a Case Manager told me the husband would be going to a Snoof.  “What’s a Snoof?” I had to ask, and she explained it was a place he would go to learn how to deal with any disabilities resulting from long term hospital care, and where his body would be brought back to self sufficiency.  I asked a tech later, who told me the Case Manager was wrong, it was Sniff.  Eventually I learned it was a Skilled Nursing Facility.  Ah, that made much  more sense!

This has continued off and on for the two plus months we’ve been moved from floor to floor, from ICU (Intensive Care) to Step Down (Intermediate Care) to the various nursing floors, back to ICU then to LTAC (Long Term Acute Care) which is actually not the same level of care as the hospital would give but addressed different needs.  Then he developed a slight infection in his incision, which drained and sent him back to ICU at the hospital, since those sort of holes are a huge deal for stomach surgery patients.

Once he’d been there long enough to be poked and prodded and after several visits to I/R which is Interventional Radiology but that unit is nice enough to put X-Ray under their door sign, I had a discussion with his doctor.  I was informed they had thought he had a fistula, but came to the realization it was an “abnormal connection between skin and intestines.”  Now, I have a pretty good vocabulary and can usually follow conversations.  But this one took a minute.  Abnormal connection between skin and intestines?   “Ah,” I said.  “You mean his HOLE.  It’s okay, I can understand the idea of a HOLE.”

What could have been a huge issue became a fortunate incident.  He’d been scheduled for a feeding tube replacement anyway, but first they studied where the hole led, which was nowhere dangerous, and then where the feeding tube was ending up, which was where it really shouldn’t have been.  I tell you, this guy’s going to glow in the dark even more than I did when I worked in Purchasing for ANPP (That would be Arizona Nuclear Power Plant).

He’d been under severe infectious condition restrictions, which meant glove and gown before you went into the room, and leave them in the room along with his germs.  Until yesterday when he came up clear for C-Dif (a nasty germ he’d been fighting) and negative for MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus, AKA the band leader in the Ugly Bug Ball).  Then he could finally feel fingers on his arm, and not gloves.  They’re moving him back to Intermediate Care and this time we just might keep that onward and upward path going OUT of the hospital and HOME.  And we can go back to our own world of BoB, BoS (dog jargon), various specialty watercolor inks, and the sub-genres of the writing world.

We can’t wait

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