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Lessons from a Week in the Hospital

Sometimes I wonder if my mind or body is in control.

I googled “average stay in a hospital” and the answer came up “the national average for a hospital stay is 4.5 days, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, at an average cost of $10,400 per day.” Last week I posted that I had just been admitted the day before for a bad asthma flare to receive IV steroids. That was a Thursday. I ended up staying for 7 days. I couldn’t wait to get the hell out of there. In addition to asthma, I developed an infection that was treated with IV antibiotics and mild anemia, which was treated with iron supplements.

© Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels
Source: © Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels

I was impressed with the quality of care. Once I got upstairs, I had the same doctor, every day – my guess is he was a hospitalist, and he was nice and answered all my questions. All of the nurses were terrific and the techs as well. And then the respiratory therapists who gave me my nebulizer treatments (even at 2 AM), and the phlebotomists who drew my blood with which my veins on steroids is no easy feat. And Tina from the kitchen, who took my meal order and delivered my trays three times a day, and the woman who cleaned my room. I had my own room because with the nebulizer treatments, there are breath particles being spewed into the air and even though I tested negative for Covid twice, they don’t take any chances.

I had to keep updating my work about when I thought I might be discharged. Before I could go home they had to transition me off the IV steroids to oral steroids and every morning when I got the Solu-Medrol, I knew today wasn’t the day. Thank goodness I had my computer. Hospitals aren’t the greatest place for rest (did I mention the 2 AM visits from the respiratory therapist?). Add in steroids and the chance for a decent night’s sleep goes out the window.

One morning, I think it was Tuesday or Wednesday, my boss texted me that they had closed off my cases to me. I wasn’t sure what that meant exactly, but I burst into tears. A couple of weeks ago, I posted “Am I Heading for Another Cycle of Self-Sabotage?” about my tendency to start off well at a new job, then sabotage the good work I’m doing. It was as if I was a fortune-teller. I immediately e-mailed my former psychiatrist, Dr. Lev, and she was able to set up a time to talk with me the next day.

© Andrea Rosenhaft
Source: © Andrea Rosenhaft

We talked about how I put a lot of pressure on myself to go above and beyond and it’s as if my body has an “off switch,” where it says enough. She didn’t say anything like I care too much, but she did say it’s as if I’m suffocating myself, which I thought was an interesting analogy.

I was finally discharged Wednesday at around 6 PM. Seven long days. First, they were, then they weren’t, then after the second round of bloodwork came back better than in the morning, they decided it was okay as long as I saw my PCP and pulmonologist in the next 2 days. Which I have. I took a cab home, hopped into the shower (no shower for 7 days, ugh), picked up some scripts at the pharmacy, and ran up to my brother's house for a joyous reunion with my rescue dog Shelby. She had been staying with them for the entire week. I felt as if she must be thinking I abandoned her.

My sister-in-law said she’d never seen Shelby so happy. So now the two of us are back where we belong. Home, sweet home, and my queen-sized bed. Which she takes up most of.

Thanks for reading.

© Andrea Rosenhaft
Source: © Andrea Rosenhaft