Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Have You Thanked a Healthcare Professional Lately?


Healthcare is something I have taken for granted most of my life.

I've always been pretty healthy, and (in the past 12 years at least) have been pretty fit. I've gone to the doctor for my annual physical and, on occasion, if I've been sick. I trust my doctors, and do what they tell me. I know they have the education and knowledge to truly know what is best for the human body, specifically MY body. As much as I appreciate the training and discipline it takes to work in the healthcare field, though, I had not really "gotten it" in terms of just how much heart and soul are required as well.



Enter my recent reality check.

I took up residence (for an entire week) in the hospital recently, an hour from my home. While there, I was overwhelmed in so many ways...with my emergency surgery (and the severity of my situation and the strict recovery regimen that resulted), the sincerity of the surgeon (whom I'd just met, unexpectedly, on a quick inter-office referral...only three hours prior to the operating room), the compassion of the Infectious Disease doctor (also a new acquaintance), and the unselfish, devoted attention of the numerous nurses who took care of me.
hooked up to the wound vac (peeling skin from the trauma of enormous stretching to accommodate the infection)
I realize all of these medical professionals enter their careers knowing they won't be keeping typical "9-5" hours. They know they will probably never work two identical days. If they work in a hospital setting, many will not have the same patients day after day (and probably not the same work load either). Yet, they show up and give 110% (if not more) of themselves to the "guests" whom they may never see again.

To site a few examples...
**Constant plugging/unplugging the wound vac to enable me to walk to the restroom (and avoid using a bedpan #eeewww)
**12-hour work shifts (half of which began at 7:00 p.m.)
**Vigilantly administering IV medication (and calmly searching for new IV sites --on both of my hands and arms--when the original sites started to leak)
**Explaining all of the pills (and their purposes) at each and every dosing session
**They all got the briefing on my history, so they knew I was a runner. Every one of them asked me about my races and listened with interest as I told them about my recent marathon. One of my nurses was also a marathoner, and also named Kim (yes, we bonded).
**I even had a nurse tell me that my urine looked clean and clear and smelled "normal" (yes, they do unimaginable things for their patients).

Although it was tough being an hour away from my family, friends, and house, it also was a bit scary when it came time for me to go home. After placing all of my care in the hands of medical professionals, it was a bit alarming to realize I'd be on my own here on out.

I was sent home with a supply of wound dressings (and detailed instructions on how to care for the healing 6-inch suture site on my knee). Ugh...would you want to be responsible for all of that?
Gauze, medical tape, and Ace wraps aplenty
I also had an extended list of vitamins and supplements, as well as a regimen to follow, for the next several weeks. I had to break down and buy an "old-person-pill-sorter" to help me keep tract of everything. I no longer had a friendly nurse handing me all the necessary pills at the appropriate times.

And those IV antibiotics that the nurses dutifully administered every eight hours? Well, I now had a PICC line, and would be the sole "caregiver" in charge of the 6:00 a.m., 2:00 p.m., and 10:00 p.m. dosing schedule. They taught me how to "flush the line" (before and after each infusion), and the importance of hand sanitizer and alcohol wipes.

self-infusing totally feels like I'm doing something illegal (instead of something necessary) for recovery
So, I'd like to extend an invitation to think about a few things:

*Do you visit a doctor regularly?
*Even if your doctor isn't a runner, do you take his/her advice regarding injury prevention, recovery, and wellness?
*Have you ever had to administer IV infusions in the "comfort" of your house?

As much as I will miss my running, right now my main focus is recovery. This suture wound is not gonna heal itself after all. Any stress on the suture site (thankfully not directly over the kneecap, but right alongside it) can and will prevent the suture from sealing. Trust me, I don't want another infection creeping in there...this initial infection has wreaked enough havoc. A 2-month sabbatical from running is worth it (and necessary) to ensure being able to wear my running shoes after it ends. The big picture, right?

Not because it's pretty, but because I've had some people ask about it...here's a brief peek at the suture site. The stitches came out Tuesday (YAY!!!) and the healing continues. By the way, at the suggestion of Deborah, I've named it Voldemort. Fitting, no?

Say hello to Voldemort

** I'm  linking up with Suzie and Rachel and Debbie and Lora for the Running Coaches' Corner


30 comments:

  1. The best part about being a nurse practitioner/nurse is the gratitude of folks like you! It's a tough job but knowing that giving your best is not unnoticed certainly helps to make it all worthwhile. Glad you had such a good experience even though it wasn't the best circumstances. Sounds like a good hospital.

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    1. I felt like a princess (with a nasty post-op suture), the nurses (and entire staff) at the hospital were wonderful.

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  2. Ooo, is that suture right on your knee cap?
    I am wishing you a speedy recovery and hope you have no problems taking care of your wound from home.

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    1. It's on the inner "edge" of the knee cap. So far, things have gone well ;-)

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  3. Looking forward to watching Voldemort heal very quickly :)

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    1. I should have given him Deborah as a middle name....but somehow that just didn't seem appropriate (because Deborah is not evil LOL) ;-)

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  4. For the most part, I'm pretty healthy, but I always make sure to get my yearly physical and blood work. I always say that teachers and nurses deserve the utmost respect. They have such hard jobs!

    I'm so happy that you are home and on the road to recovery.

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    1. Teachers and nurses are the most over-worked professionals out there, in my opinion as well. They obviously do it because they have a special kind of heart ;-)

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  5. I'm so sorry you had to go through this but thank goodness for those docs and nurses!!! You'll be healed up before you know it. And then we'll have to run another dumb marathon together because I miss your face. :)

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    1. Ha! I'd LOVE to run another dumb marathon with you!!! (just not in 2017)

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  6. I thank my doctors and nurses every chance I get. I even wrote a blog post years back called "hug your doctor!" There are bad apples in EVERY profession, but the best doctors? Life changing, literally.

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    1. Absolutely, the medical peeps who are doing their jobs need constant accolades. As you know, their hours and stress loads are not what most people could handle.

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  7. Oh what Susie said! That is me too.
    I am sorry you had to go through such an ordeal, but hopefully you are on the road to recovery now and I am glad you had great care.
    I have done home IV's - my hubby had a motorcycle accident years ago and had three surgeries - he was in bed from June till September...tough stuff!

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    1. Recovery is going alright...I'm almost two weeks post-op already!

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  8. Unfortunately, I was a sickly child who saw more than her fair share of doctors and had a few (not life threatening or serious) surgeries. Add on that I've also had a stream of sickly furkids and had to learn how to do all sorts of things for them, and of course, now dealing with the elderly parents in & out of the hospital at times. The nurses have always been angels -- and severely overworked.

    Even though my family thinks I would have made a great vet, I know that I do not have that in me. People who choose a caretaking career are special. I'm thankful you found so many good ones when you needed them!

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    1. The caretakers are indeed special. I managed doing all sorts of icky things for my own kids (because that's just what parenting is all about), but I don't think I could have done that (with as much love & devotion) to other people. I don't have it in me, either.

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  9. I have had some great doctors and some not so great ones, but whenever I've been in the care of a nurse I knew that I was in good hands. They truly are angels of mercy, and definitely not appreciated enough by the rest of the medical community.

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  10. Some of my favorite people are in the health care profession. It always amazes me how much they give and give in their careers.

    Glad you are home and healing well.

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    1. Thanks, Erika! I'm ready to get this recovery party started ;-)

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  11. Wishing you a speedy recovery. I know you'll be out there before you know it.

    I agree with you. Nurses and doctors make or beak a good hospital experience. I have been a few times - not lately (Thank God) and some have been great and some -- not so much.

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    1. Absolutely. I was very lucky...all of my nurses and doctors were top-notch.

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  12. It is good to know that in a scary situation you were surrounded by great people. Great post!

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    1. Yes, indeed! This entire experience has really opened my eyes to how serious things can get, and how fortunate there are intelligent, caring people who are willing to do what needs to be done.

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  13. Here's to a speedy recovery! I know that its hard to focus on the big recovery picture, but its so important that you don't rush your recovery. Slow and steady progress will get you back in your running shoes sooner than later.

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    1. Exactly ;-) That's my game plan #thebigpicture

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  14. Speedy recovery vibes!!
    Nurses are definitely far less appreciated than doctors, unless it is school nurses - them I value their weight in gold for dealing with non-stop germy chaos!!

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    1. I was so humbled and appreciative of all the "little" things the nurses did for me ;-)

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  15. Great post and thanks for the appreciation. Working in medical is no joke and it's nice that people do realize that. Nursing is rough. Glad you are on the mend!

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    1. Thanks, Toni ;-) I always knew nurses were special for the patience they had for their jobs, but my eyes were opened (even wider) to be experiencing it first-hand.

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