Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Wrong Thing to Tell a Nurse

Sometimes I have to work very hard to keep my straight face on.  At times, I am harshly criticized for my failures at this.  But sometimes people just don't know, and they say things that... well, I struggle not to smile.

In our meeting a few weeks ago with these four who gathered to read us a letter, there was a time when we raised a question.  One of the four answered that we will just do as we are told and ask no questions because these people will know better than us. "It is like", he said, "being sick, and when you are sick and you go to the hospital, you just do what the doctor says, and you don't ask questions."

I was all I could do to keep a straight face.  That was most definitely the wrong thing to tell a nurse!!!

I am here today BECAUSE people asked doctors questions.  Three time my life almost ended or ended in serious harm because of doctors (or once a nurse's) actions, and it is only because people dared to say no and ask questions that I am alive.

When I was a baby, a pharmacy dispensed the wrong medicine.  My dad gave me one dose, and could not wake me for the next dose.  He phoned the doctor who annoyedly told him to just pour it in my mouth anyway.  My dad refused, and instead took me to the hospital.  I was in a coma and stayed that way for several days.  One more dose would have killed me.

Later, when I was very sick with a long-term condition I have, there was no choice but a certain medicine.  I had one dose and it made me too dizzy to walk, and I felt horrible.  I had the next dose, and I couldn't lift my head up more than 30 degrees off the bed without blacking out.  My mom phoned in from overseas and called up a nurse friend of hers who almost shrieked, "No!  They should not use that medicine on her!!  It has awful side effects that can be deadly.  There is a safer drug."  She phoned my doctor herself and questioned him.  The drug was changed, and I lived.  I still live today healthy and happy on that new one.

Another time, overseas, flat on my back in a foreign hospital half unconscious, I was aware of nurses starting hanging IV drugs in my line.  I groggily asked what it was, and the nurse said, "I don't know.  The doctor said you have to have it."  At the same instance, I felt something that could only be explained as liquid fire in my arm, and told my husband, "shut it off, now!"  Thankfully, my husband did.  To this day, I do not know what that drug was as no one could ever come up with an explanation, and it took me days to be strong enough to question and be alert.  But thankfully, my husband shut it off, and the drug only made it two feet down my vein.  That whole arm swelled to the size of a watermelon, the skin went red, and began to peel.  Whatever it was, I was intensely allergic to it, and it could have killed me if I hadn't known to react immediately despite doctor's orders.

Yes, that comment of "well, we don't question the doctors" was not the right thing to say to a nurse!!

In fact, all it told me was that they were using blind, unquestioning judgement, so it became even more imperative that we fully research and check out anything suggested to us.

That's ok, because when the meeting was over, one of the men looked at two other of the men and said, "Ok, we need to go back to the office and have a threesome."  I excused myself quickly to the bathroom where I could bury my face in a towel and silently shake from laughter.  (And yes, English is his mother tongue, but knowing the meaning of words must not be his strong point!)

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