Family Connection

FamilyMy husband Steve is doing well. He had a CT scan of chest and abdomen this morning and this afternoon we will see the bladder cancer specialist to discuss the results. He is a little tired but feels good generally. I do my best to take care of him but I am tired and my vision pulsing appears to be worsening this week. We are fortunate to have our grandson here to drive us to appointments.

Steve has had lots of people take care of him, since he spent 5 days in ICU. He said the most important part of care was the human connection. He said the best nurses are the ones who connected with him, were in the present moment, and did not have a personal agenda. Happily, almost all of his nurses and care providers exhibited those qualities.

A word about families of patients. Most of Steve’s care providers treated me very well. There was just  one time I got the runaround when Steve was in surgery. My daughter and I went to ICU to  see if he was out of surgery  yet and he was not. We proceeded to the surgery waiting room and called the hospital operator from there. She  said Steve was already out of surgery and in ICU. I told her no, I didn’t think so. She checked again and said he was out of surgery and the doctor would come right out to talk to us. That was good news. AN HOUR LATER the doctor had not shown up so I called the operator again. I was very concerned and was picturing a negative scenario. She said sorry, but the doctor was in surgery with another patient. She did not know why he didn’t come talk to us. She finally, as a last resort, connected me to the Recovery Room. The nurse there said that my husband was still in surgery! Why did nobody else know that? A half hour later the doctor spoke to us and all was well. My learning point of this story is that family members can get distraught while waiting for their loved ones in surgery. They are traveling the journey together with “the patient.”  There should be systems in place that keep the loved ones in the loop. I have always taught my nursing students that family members are included as part of patient care. We should care for family members (and visiting friends) the way we care for patients. Surgery and illness are family events.

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