Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The whole story

When Judi arrived on Monday afternoon, we were told that there had been an emergency surgery, so Monday’s patient from Thunder Bay had been bumped to Tuesday morning in Judi’s spot and Judi was bumped to 1pm.

Visiting hours are between 11 and 8 and they stick to them very closely. The staff is quite different here. I’m assuming because Hamilton General is a specialty hospital they need to stick to the rules more closely than at TBRHSC. So, we left at 8pm on Monday and went back to our Bed & Breakfast to watch Dragon’s Den.

Carl and I took a walking tour of the area on Tuesday morning, since the nurses were not going to let us in anyway. Another B&B patron aptly described the area as “scruffy”. I guess we should have known when we were informed that the Tim Horton’s down the street closes at 10:30pm! Because the B&B is literally across the street and two houses down from the hospital we haven’t had any problems, but I certainly wouldn’t walk alone after dark. We arrived at the hospital and proceeded to “stare” at Judi for the next 2 hours. Finally, around 1:30 they came down and took her to the pre-op room and hooked her up to all the monitors etc. While she was there, they gave her a pill to help relax her, and we could see it start to work. Around 2pm she was taken to surgery, and we know the drugs were working because as they wheeled her away, Judi said, “See you on the other side!” LOL, we had a good laugh about that.

When we were finally able to see her after the surgery at 8:30ish, she looked good compared to our expectations based on the film that we were shown. Her colour was good. This morning, she’s looking a little paler, but she is awake at times and able to converse with us a little bit. She is on some major painkillers and so that is limiting our contact with her – she’s closing her eyes and we’re not sure if she’s listening or not. The physiotherapist was in to see her already and had her coughing and doing a few exercises. We were told earlier that they were going to move her to a room this afternoon, but as we were speaking she got bumped and it looks like she may be staying at the ICU just because they don’t have rooms. There were supposed to be 6 available in the Cardiac Wing, but there are only 4. As long as she’s in the ICU only because of a space issue, we’re all happy. And now, as I write this she may be going to a room. Her current nurse, Andre said it just right, “they don’t know what they’re doing!”

So long as nothing else changes, Judi and Carl will fly home this weekend. One nurse even said that it could be as early as Friday if she is doing fine. I’m headed home this evening, so we need to leave the hospital around 5:30 to make sure that I get to the airport in time, but I will continue my updates from home. Carl is able to turn his cell phone on as long as he isn’t near any Cardiac Equipment, so in the coffee shop and Cafeteria. I’ll be able to speak to him throughout the day to get updates on Judi’s progress.

About the Hospital

I have to tell you about the Hospital here and how good we have it at home. Did you ever go into McKellar Hospital through the Emergency entrance? Remember how you knew it was a clean and great facility, but it was old and dark and so it always appeared to be dirty – not germ dirty, but built up over years dirty? That’s what Hamilton General felt like when we walked in the door. The hallways are about 8 feet wide, even in the different units. Put equipment on both sides of the hall and there is just barely room for people to walk. The nurses station is in the wall, like they used to be at McKellar, and you don’t know where it is until you’re right in front of it. There is a small window in each room, 2 feet x 3 feet. There is very little natural light coming into the room. Each room has a locker in the wall for your “things”. Judi ended up with a private room on Monday night, and there was 1 chair. I asked a nurse if she could tell me where to find another one and you would have thought I had a 3rd eyeball in my forehead! So, Carl and I took turns sitting and standing. Also, while sitting in the OR waiting room we were informed that parking is $15 a day, and the daily rate goes into effect once you’ve been parked for 3 hours. If I remember correctly the daily rate at TBRHSC is $6. Not bad in comparison! All in all, we have a great hospital in Thunder Bay. And, we have great people staffing it.

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