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Debra JGL
07-20-2010, 04:57 PM
Just starting to think about after visiting hours are over at the hospital. Did anyone use a private nurse or have a private room where someone was allowed to stay with you while you were in the hospital? Also, for those of you who had surgery at the Hospital of Special Surgery in NY, how did you find the nursing staff?

jsully
07-20-2010, 05:53 PM
I had a private room and my husband stayed the whole time. Luckily because the nursing staff left much to be desired, but this was in Florida.

Back-out
07-20-2010, 06:39 PM
This is a really good question and as such things go, it's one others have been concerned about in the past. I recently encountered a great thread replying to precisely this issue - ran a year or two ago. Can't put my finger on it instantly except to say the search engine found it for me before. ;)

Note that the Best Hospitals issue of Us News and World Report also has rankings in various areas of nursing care (pain management, hygiene, attentiveness etc - not necessarily under those exact names). Sometimes you have to jump around a bit and experiment to find just what info is available. In nursing care, they're ranked according to patient opinion.

Here's the rating in Orthopedics.
http://health.usnews.com/best-hospitals/rankings/orthopedics

And here are some other interesting links there, related to this question:

http://health.usnews.com/health-news/best-hospitals/articles/2009/10/20/which-best-hospitals-have-great-and-not-so-great-nurses.html

Check out links on the left hand side to see related ratings (topics below)!

* Hospital Patients Speak Their Mind in Satisfaction Surveys
* These Best Hospitals are Best at Satisfying Patients
* They May Excel, But They're the Worst Hospitals for Patient Satisfaction
* Which Best Hospitals Are Best (and Worst) at Pain Management
* America's Best Hospitals

gmw
07-20-2010, 08:17 PM
I had someone with me 24/7. My husband, son and daughter-in-law rotated staying with me. Had they not been with me, the stopping of my urine flow shortly after my second surgery may not have been noticed until it was too late. I was in pre-renal failure and had to be rehydrated when someone finally took notice. As a result I was put in intensive care for three days. My family noticed it early on but had to bring it to the nurses' attention several times before anything was done.

Singer
07-20-2010, 09:11 PM
I was at HSS for 10 days. I had either my husband or a friend with me all day during the first week, and I had a private night nurse every night until I left for rehab. The first few days and nights can be rough and the nursing staff at HSS is extremely busy -- everyone there has had complicated orthopedic surgery and everyone is in a lot of pain. My private nurse (the hospital made the arrangments using a private agency) was WONDERFUL -- she made sure I got my meds on time at night (extremely important) and she was extremely kind and concerned.

I had one spectacularly bad nurse (she left me in the bathroom alone -- knowing I couldn't get out by myself -- until I finally had to scream and bang against the door with my walker, at which point some other nurse finally came running) and a couple of really good ones. The rest were generally competent but took a long time to show up when I called and they could be pretty crabby. I can't stress enough how busy they were -- on my floor, it seemed that all the patients did was lie in bed and press their call buttons.

Maybe things are better now; my surgery was three years ago (and it was during the summer, a notoriously bad time for nursing care). Regardless, I urge everyone using HSS to contract a private night nurse -- it's worth every penny.

Debra JGL
07-20-2010, 09:46 PM
I really appreciate your feedback. My only considerations when picking my hospital/doctor were surgical outcomes and complication rates, which is still most important to me. But it's so good to know I have options about my care while in the hospital. I'm going to check into a private room or a nurse at least for a night or two. My surgery is scheduled for 2pm so I'm a little concerned that by the time I come around, visiting hours will be over and that sounds a little scary to be there without my husband or anyone I know. It sounds like having someone there can make a big difference, GMW-thank goodness your family was there watching over you & Singer what a scary experience to be stuck in the bathroom.

barleygirl
07-20-2010, 09:55 PM
Chris,
Just curious: was your private night nurse contracted with your insurance?

Brenda

kennedy
07-20-2010, 10:08 PM
I was at uc davis medical center for 7 days all my nurses where great to me. my mom stayed with me the whole time. My spine surgeon came to see my last day in the hospital that really made me happy to see him he always smiling to brighton your day:):)

Back-out
07-20-2010, 10:35 PM
I was at HSS for 10 days. I had either my husband or a friend with me all day during the first week, and I had a private night nurse every night until I left for rehab. ...

Maybe things are better now; my surgery was three years ago (and it was during the summer, a notoriously bad time for nursing care). Regardless, I urge everyone using HSS to contract a private night nurse -- it's worth every penny.
This is VERY frightening, as using the above hospital rankings links I posted I see HSS comes out on top almost without fail in all measures of nursing attentiveness.

You say "it's worth every penny" but I have a feeling that private duty nurse must cost at least 500$/night in NYC. Don't know what insurance would cover it...Of course, maybe a policy that would please Dr. Boachie would be generous about that too.

For someone w/o friends and family there in the day too, one would be out abt $10K for a ten day nursing stay - if not more. And rehab facilities aren't a bed of roses either. I think one would be well advised to have someone looking in there to insure one has adequate care. (At which point one had probably just as well be home with a private duty nurse. Only thing missing would be the medical equipment in case one requires special feeding or other monitoring).

I've been told that the choice of rehab facility is made at discharge too - based on where they have beds (and accept your insurance).

Seeming like there's just gonna be no place to be comfortable! Or (more to the point) - safe. :( Without good nursing care (including pain management ) one is that much more likely to get an infection too. Immuno-suppression has been shown to be pronounced after major surgery like this. For someone having a staged procedure, when is one more apt to be open to a serious infection than waiting between stages?

And let's face it, an angry over-worked nurse who acts out her frustrations on defenseless patients (eg, leaving you in the bathroom unattended) - can you picture her washing her hands as often as she ought to?

Au contraire, you don't have to be a psychologist who believes in the power of the unconscious mind, to figure it's JUST such a person who is going to take chances (your life chances) with say, her personal hygiene. What a great way to get "even" with the world! Angry people are NOT safe in patient care, ESPECIALLY in the "little ways" (little, HA!) they can get away with. Who's watching THEM in the lavatory? :eek:

I'm scared.

JenM
07-21-2010, 04:33 AM
Debra-

I was at the Hospital for Special Surgery for my surgery from June 8 to June 16. I have to stay the one this I wish I did that I didn't do is get a private nurse. The main reason I didn't is because they were $990 for each 12 hour shift (a regular RN) and the next was $330 for a 12 hour nurse (but that wasn't for a RN, it was for somekind of a caretaker who is like a nurse (forget the exact name) who could not do alot of the things the nurse could. I didn't find the nursing staff at HSS to be too great. I had about 2 great nurses. But the other nurses were not so great. I would call my bell and no one would come sometimes to bring my meds. Two of them that I had were horrible. It was like they could care less about you and your pain. The two good ones I had were SUsan and Jesse and they were on the spinal floor (the 6th) floor. One day I got soooo frustrated because I had asked for ice chips on my 4th day there, which I was allowed to have, and all the nurses or aids kept forgetting to bring it to me. Sometimes I think they just ignored my request. I do have to say my PACU nurse was really good. I'll write more tommorrow.

JenM

Singer
07-21-2010, 10:31 AM
Brenda -- my insurance (New York-based) paid for a portion of the nursing care, but I have to go look in the records to see what percentage it actually covered.

And Amanda, just to add some perspective to my experience: bear in mind that I had ZERO problems with infection, and in fact, HSS is considered one of the cleanest hospitals in the country. Remember, everyone there is having surgery, not being treated for infectious disease. I wouldn't read too much into the nurses' motives: they were simply busy, overworked, and tired -- I don't think they were out to get me!

I would go there again if I ever need more surgery -- as long as I had someone to advocate for me at all times.

rohrer01
07-21-2010, 10:51 AM
My surgery is scheduled for 2pm so I'm a little concerned that by the time I come around, visiting hours will be over and that sounds a little scary to be there without my husband or anyone I know.

As far as ANY hospital stay I have ever had, they always let family members stay with you past visiting hours if that is your wish. I would check the hospital policy just to ease your mind.

Amanda, I really feel for you not having anyone. Honestly, if you lived close to me, I would stay with you and help you out. It seems aweful not to have ANYONE. Are you sure no one will stay with you? I can't imagine the fear you have, but honestly you'll be okay. I would let the hospital staff know that you don't have anyone to stay with you. I would also let the rehab facility know the same. Usually if people know you are "alone" in the world, they afford more effort to be more attentive. At least that was how I was when I worked in health care. Maybe even a social worker could help get you a companion to be with you. Where I live there is a Department of Aging and Disability within the Human Services Department for situations like this.
((((HUGS))))

Debra JGL
07-21-2010, 11:44 AM
Hi all. I checked in with HSS about private nursing. As you said Jen, the nurse is $900 and a nursing assistant is $300 for the 12 hours overnight. I'm leaning toward the assistant who could help me if need be (drink of water, bathroom, getting up and down) and keep an eye on me. It's such a relief to know this is an option... breathing, breathing. Singer - that's a perfect way to put it, having an someone to "advocate" for me overnight. I figure you just never know how busy things will get for the nurses, how many emergencies that come up or how demanding the patients will be (or if the coffee machine breaks and the nurses are tired). Dr. Boachie's office did say I would be in intensive care for the 1st night since I have an afternoon surgery. Thanks Debbie too for getting me to think about this.

gmw
07-21-2010, 01:32 PM
Debra -- I had family with me in intensive care as well. The need for them there was as great as when I was in my regular room. The night shift of nurses in intensive care left a bit to be desired. It wasn't like they were all that busy, I was the only one in intensive care at least one of the nights and the other nights there was only one other patient. They were on 12 hour shifts so if you did get one of the not so good, you had them for a long time.

That's not to imply that all of the nurses were not so good. I had some excellent nursing care as well during my 10-day stay. There were certainly more good than bad.

Back-out
07-21-2010, 01:44 PM
Amanda, I really feel for you not having anyone. Honestly, if you lived close to me, I would stay with you and help you out.
((((HUGS))))

You are a real sweetheart, rohrer. :) Actually, I wasn't referring to myself in my comments about social isolation and the need for help. I want to remind everyone blessed with quality insurance coverage and social support, how lucky they are!

Also, I'm reflecting on the costs of nursing care said to be "essential " ("worth every penny") when so many of us don't have the disposable cash to pay for it, however advisable it may be (and indeed it sounds like it is).

I remain horrified too at the nursing care at this facility which ranks so high in the US News and World Reports survey, especially since
a) like most, I worry greatly about the risk of infection. If it's like that at HSS what can we expect elsewhere? Likewise, at rehab?
b) I have a special concern about maintenance of hygiene on the part of staff who are (as described) angry and "acting out". My psychological training tells me they endanger patients, especially ones having P/A procedures (thus even more immuno-compromised, hence vulnerable to infection). This is not a matter of being "out to get us"! It's just how the mind works, unconsciously.

My specific outlook, though, doesn't look so bleak right now (KNOCK MUCH WOOD). In fact, my SIL has said she WILL help after surgery for a good while - contingent on work arrangements. SIL is very experienced in this role, wants Wolpert book to read and authorized involvement. Also, my dear younger son will be able to be there for the surgical period to spell her and as needed afterward (he's taking a year off school). He's great but we're glad he doesn't have to be primary care-giver (male and 21?). His willingness and concern has been a great comfort to me right along, though.

Even BOTH my present insurance plans ought to provide (or help with) some hours/daily of at home care/assistance indefinitely - depending much on what the surgeon "prescribes" and the built in time limits of the policies (too anxious to spell out, exactly). Compared to many, I feel fortunate - neither uncared about nor unsafe - overall. Again, this is as things stand now.

I only wish I didn't feel so much pressure to commit to the surgery - way before I'm ready. Most seem to incubate the decision for years; I've only had since March. This in entirely a function of social, geographic and financial factors imposing a time limit. Meanwhile, medical reasons changed as more information was forthcoming. This is confusing me about the absolute need for the surgery. (Repeat Xrays show that, in fact, my COBB angle remained stable in the last years - NOT deteriorated by 18 Degrees in the last year alone, as I'd thought. Looks like that was an artifact of measurement in different facilities).

Now, I'm REALLY losing it. So, GOOD = care and finances appear quite doable, if I "get with the program". BAD = I'm going mad because of conflicting opinions.

JenniferG
07-21-2010, 04:08 PM
Amanda, I didn't have anybody stay with me and it was fine. Actually, it had some benefits. I was able to sleep or watch tv if I felt like it, rather than try to make conversation when tired or in pain. If I'd had someone there, I'd have felt obliged to ease their boredom rather than sleeping, reading or watching tv.

I did have a few dud nurses and I don't think overwork was the reason they were unhelpful. It's just that every profession has its duds, I suspect. Mostly the nurses were great.

One night, overdue for meds and in pain, I buzzed for a nurse. None was forthcoming and when she finally did, half an hour later, I was upset and in bad pain. (I actually think getting upset worsens the pain, and vice versa.) When she showed, she breezed in, saying "You can always bet that just when I've made a cup of tea and some toast, someone buzzes." I was speechless. Lucky I wasn't having a heart attack - I was only in pain!;)

loves to skate
07-21-2010, 04:32 PM
Amanda, I was alone in the hospital most of the time due to some bad snowstorms preventing my husband from getting in to see me. I insisted he not try to drive in the snow and ice because I would be too worried. I was fine even though a couple of times when the nurses were very busy, they were a little late getting my pain meds to me. They were very sweet and very careful to make sure I got the correct medication; how important is that! I slept a lot and really didn't call for the nurses unnecessarily, and when I did call them, I made a point to let them know that I realized how busy they were. I never had a bad nurse.
Sally

Karen Ocker
07-21-2010, 05:57 PM
Currently, only very sick or newly operated patients stay overnight in the hospital. Insurance companies refuse to pay for stays over their set limits.--cuts into profits.

That being said, scoliosis surgery is very complex and painful. Before my revision 7 years ago I used another forum and members there recommended hiring one's own private duty nurse/practical nurse/ or nurse-aid. I did that and my former insurance covered it provided the doctor wrote: "may have private duty nurses". As a matter of fact, every time I need to stay overnight after surgery, and I've had many assorted surgeries not scoliosis related, I always hire someone, especially overnight. That person, even just a nurses aide, can make one more comfortable and run out to the nurses desk to ask for your pain meds.

My niece had hip surgery at Columbia-Presbyterian and stayed just 2 nights. Her roommate was an elderly lady who needed a blanket and no-one came. So she gave the lady her own blanket.
Rehab hospitals are a different story; care is better there.

Back-out
07-21-2010, 06:13 PM
One night, overdue for meds and in pain, I buzzed for a nurse. None was forthcoming and when she finally did, half an hour later, I was upset and in bad pain. (I actually think getting upset worsens the pain, and vice versa.) When she showed, she breezed in, saying "You can always bet that just when I've made a cup of tea and some toast, someone buzzes." I was speechless. Lucky I wasn't having a heart attack - I was only in pain!;)
One of an increasing number of posts on this forum that make me want to leap into the monitor screen and boarding a time machine, throttle someone. Mercilessly. HARD. :mad:

jsully
07-21-2010, 06:27 PM
My problem with the nursing care was that they simply did not understand why I was in so much pain. One nurse said, " I do know how it feels, I had a disc fused". OK lady, I had 12! Then another nurse asked, " what pain meds did you take at home?" I answered "none, only Motrin". Then he couldn't understand why I needed so many now. I think maybe scoliosis surgery is so rare, they simply do not understand, being a nurse myself, that is all I could figure. One time my husband had to text my MD in the middle of the night so I could get pain control, and moments later it came. Lucky for me, my DR gave us his personal phone number. I did not like feeling like a drug seeker mainly and I definatly know how it feels to be on both sides of the bed. (However, I never withhold pain meds, if it's ordered, the patient wants it, they get it, end of story. No one can judge another persons pain.

titaniumed
07-21-2010, 09:18 PM
Karen Ocker offers valuable advice here. I always read her posts. Proper nursing is so important!

After I came out out of ICU, I was a little rough with the nurses, the male nurses, not the female nurses. Its hard for me to explain this one, but its true. I was just run over by a train, and they had me tied down as I was a hose puller, and didnít remember too much. The pain was very intense while I was awake. It seemed that the only relief I got was when I was knocked completely out. My shoulder was also broken, and they didnít know it, neither did I at the time.

I think that by the time I made it to the orthopedic wing, they "knew" Ed was coming. I'm sure that Dr Menmuir prepped them. I was by the nurses station.

If anyone was exited, it was me. Finally, a graveyard nurse and I had a long talk. I guess thatís all I needed, she said the right words. I realized that even though I was being "bombed", I was going to have to tough this one out. They were giving me the strongest meds they had. I feel that meds are overrated, and expected more from them. I now know this, and yes I was pretty beat up. I'm always telling people to take care now, donít get into an accident, and donít get hurt!

I later found out that she moved on, that she was a "hopper" and had worked at many hospitals all over the country. When I rang that nurse bell, she would come quickly. I would try 5 minutes early for a shot, and she would make me wait the 5 minutes. We eventually came to an understanding, or maybe it was just me. It was really new to me. Communication is very difficult when lightning is striking.

They rotated Morphine, Dialuid, and a very powerful Lortab through multiple Ivs and shots.

Please remember that I had serious work done. Extensive corpectomies and grafting on each level from L1-Sacrum from the front. My vascular surgeon also did exploratory looking for cancers as I've been exposed to metals and elements most of my life. Ileus, and drains and tubes everywhere. I hated my NG tube, but was necessary.

I always pay attention to posts here from nurses. Proper nursing is necessary in our recoveries, and I thank you all. It was a very scary time for me and I was also alone. I had friends who came against my wishes, who really couldnít help all that much. I had many who came down, and I donít remember them coming at all.

There would be nothing better than to have a scoli to talk to, or a scoli nurse.....It would have made ALL the difference for me. Having a private room and at least someone there (significant other) would have helped.
Ed

naptown78
07-21-2010, 09:28 PM
I just wanted to jump in here and say that I had wonderful nurses and also patient care techs during my 5 day hospitalization in Indianapolis for my recent revision. My husband stayed in my room during the day but went home at night. I was sleeping so much anyway.
Everyone was responsive to me, and my pain control was tended to in a professional manner.

sccrm08
07-22-2010, 12:38 AM
I had someone with me the whole time. My husband was waiting for me in ICU and between him, my sister in law and other family members I was never left alone. I was in so much pain I would of never been able to find the call button let alone use it.

debbei
07-22-2010, 06:55 AM
I agree with Karen--it's nice to have someone there in the middle of the night. Right after my surgery when I was in the ICU, there was no need to have a private nurse--there were always there. THe first night I went to my (private) room, I told my husband I didn't need a private nurse as I thought i would sleep. I was awake crying most of the night and it seemed to take forever for someone to come. After that I had a private nurse at night after my husband left. She was able to do everything the normal nurses could do, including giving me meds. When I couldn't sleep at night she'd keep me company and chat with me. She knew what I wanted before I needed it. She gave me a sponge bath every morning before my husband and the doctors arrived. She was an angel and I couldn't have done it without her.

Paying her was cash and totally out of pocket, but worth every cent. I must say though, even though I was at another NY hospital, it was half the cost as Debra mentioned for HSS.

leahdragonfly
07-22-2010, 08:57 AM
Debbei,

How did you arrange for your angel-nurse? Did you just have to ask and the hospital provided her, or did you arrange it ahead of time?

My husband will not be with me during the night, so I am starting to wonder if I need someone.

debbei
07-22-2010, 09:29 AM
Debbei,

How did you arrange for your angel-nurse? Did you just have to ask and the hospital provided her, or did you arrange it ahead of time?

My husband will not be with me during the night, so I am starting to wonder if I need someone.

Hi,

I asked ahead of time through my Dr's office, and the hospital provided her. It was the smartest thing I could have done.

Susie*Bee
07-22-2010, 11:03 AM
My husband stayed the first few nights, but then we decided he could come back and forth when he wanted-- it was a 2+ hour drive and he needed to get some work done too. I was fine during the night (and day) by myself, although hubby did manage to come most every day at some time. The staff took good care of me. Rush is also a teaching hospital and there were 2 "fellows" working on their spine/scoliosis fellowships who would stop by occasionally (actually, sort of often) too. I did not feel neglected. BTW, one of them was Dr. Cahill who now works (or did a couple years ago) with Dr. Betz at Shriner's in Philly. He did his fellowship at Rush under Dr. H. He was such a nice young doctor! :) (I have a pic with him and me in my scoli scrapbook...) See, I have such fond memories of my time in the hospital, even though the surgery was grueling. :rolleyes:

KathK
07-22-2010, 06:22 PM
I'm trying to understand the role of the overnight support person when it comes to pain medications. The first several nights, you are not yet taking oral pain medication, right? So, is the pain medication in the form of shots, an IV or a PCA (or all three). Would the overnight support person then keep track of when the pain medication should be delivered and contact the nurse of your behalf for shot or IV? Or does the support person wake you up so that you can push the PCA pump? Or both?

Thanks! :confused:

jsully
07-22-2010, 08:14 PM
I had a pain pump 1 day, then switched to oral meds. I also had shots ordered as needed. That is what I had to beg for, they didn't want to give me the shots for some reason. I assume they though I was "drug seeking".

Singer
07-23-2010, 07:43 AM
I was on a pain pump for a couple of days and nights and was able to push the button, but I was so drugged up I couldn't find the button half the time. Also, I was completely helpless after my surgeries and needed help to turn over or change positions -- which I wanted to do a LOT in the beginning. Once I switched to oral meds, the night nurse made sure I got dosed every four hours so the pain didn't get ahead of me.

I checked my records by the way, and I did have a nurse's aide, not an RN. Aides cost a lot less than nurses and are really all you need.

SandyC
07-23-2010, 08:56 AM
I had my surgery, AP from T4-S1, at UC San Franscisco and was very happy with the nursing care. I expected to be treated like one of a herd of cattle, because the hospital is huge with a great many patients. Instead I was treated like an individual with compassion and respect. The nursing staff was prompt when I needed something. I was in 4 times because I contacted MRSA. One of the times I was in was on 4th of July. I was in ICU and was going to be transfer to the regular floor the next day. My nurse and a respitory tech asked if I wanted to see the fireworks. They moved my bed so I could see out of my window, which was a lot of work, because of the tubing and assorted IV's etc. One of my "visits" I started into CHF, my nurse responded quickly and with professionalism. I knew what was going on, which was very scary, especially when you can't breath! She had a Doc and respatory (sp) therapist within seconds at my bedside.
On the regular nursing floor, I recived my pain meds quickly, I was helped out of bed gently everytime, and my general care was excellant.
SandyC

Debra JGL
07-23-2010, 09:20 AM
Wow - thanks for sharing your hospital recovery experiences, the good, the bad and everything in between. It helps too to get my expectations of after surgery in line, (actually, just throw them out of the window) I'm going to be in alot of pain. Hope for the best, prepare for the worst. Ed - that was really something you went through, I'm so glad it's over for you. They probably still remember "when Ed was here". Chris - thanks for the info. on the registered nurse assistant, I'm able to pre-book it through the hospital. For those strapped by funds, there is the option at HSS to book for as many or few nights as wanted.

Back-out
07-23-2010, 12:30 PM
Do you think a nurse or "registered nurse's assistant" is necessary if you have a family member with you at night? What about a young adult son (almost 22)? If he can stay awake, could HE "work the night shift"?

I am concerned about two things:
1) whether he'd be up to it in terms of my medical needs
2) whether he'd be up to it in terms of the emotional stress.

Re #1. Will I need someone very medically alert and experienced to keep on top of meds, danger signs and so on?
Also (if not a paid aide) will I really need a same sex family member for help with personal care (toileting, etc.)?
Re#2 My understanding is that in the initial recovery period, the patient is pretty "out of it". That would leave my son with enormous responsibility, medically. What's more, I worry that despite his most appreciated willingness to help, it might end up being too traumatic for him to see me in that condition. He might be too stressed by it.

I've read here about spouses who passed out seeing their wives post surgically - uncontrollable sensitivity to the sight of blood and radical changes in physical appearance, obvious major pain etc.

If so, all the more true for a scarcely adult child with any degree of emotional fragility. It seems to me most children are apt to have trouble coping with a severely impaired mom. Just seeing his "Rock" temporarily reduced to pebbles, is bound to be disturbing. Also simply feeling "too needed". It's very early for role reversal, even short term.

Those of you with children, especially around that age (and especially sons) what do you think?

Back-out
07-23-2010, 12:48 PM
For reference:
SIL would be there the rest of the time, per present thinking. Being there round the clock seems to me way too much to ask.

Reminding me of a different concern. A member here remarked that having her husband with her most of the time turned out to be a mixed blessing. His presence was taken so much for granted, she did not end up with more care.

On the contrary, they relied on him. He OTOH was often forced to spend much time seeking out nurses for his wife. They were needed to administer care he wasn't able to handle. That meant it was more or less "a wash" in net benefit and he ended up exhausted from trying to be available 24/7.

hdugger
07-23-2010, 12:53 PM
I haven't been through major surgery (my son is the one with scoliosis), but he's 22 and somewhat emotionally fragile.

My experience during lesser emergencies is that he more than rises to the occasion when needed, and he's less upset by my physical problems then I would be by his. (By that I mean, in general, parents *feel* their kids pain more then kids feel their parents pain.)

My only hesitancy would be whether your son felt he could be forceful enough in dealing with the nurses. I could see a younger adult being more hesitant to go and bother the nurses because it felt socially awkward.

Back-out
07-23-2010, 02:11 PM
Thank you hdugger! Very helpful observations. I think I'll turn this into a separate thread. Otherwise, I'm not apt to get the (parental) responses I need. It's an important decision for all of us and I don't want to destabilize my son.

JenniferG
07-23-2010, 05:26 PM
I agree with dhugger that it could be difficult for a young man of that age to seek out help forcefully if necessary, without a struggle. But on the other hand, I think being with you and helping you in that way would be a huge growth experience. All sorts of possible eventualities could be discussed before-hand to gauge his reaction to being called on for these things.

If it was discussed with him ahead of time that you will be receiving "bed baths" which would require him to leave the room, injections, the possibility of seeing you in great pain etc. and that once you are up and about and tubes removed, you may need help to get to the toilet etc. (once there, he could leave the room) I feel that you will be able to gauge his willingness or ability to cope.

I see the experience for him as being quite beneficial in terms of personal growth and could strengthen the bonds between you.

If you need help with showering, toileting etc. then his role would simply be to find someone to help you.

If you find that none of this help is necessary, then it's possible you may be able to relieve him of his night duties after a couple of nights. But warn him, it might be for the full duration of your hospital stay. The way I see it, so long as he understands the full implications and that it's fully discussed, then you can make a decision as to whether he could cope with the task.

ADMoul
07-24-2010, 12:14 PM
I was at NYU hospital for joint disease and didn't even know there was an option for hiring pvt. duty nurses. Looking back, I think I would have considered it. I was on oral meds from day 2 on. I don't ever remember using a pain pump. (I was kept sedated/intubated in post op recovery the first night since I had so much bleeding and fluid build-up from transfusions.) Anyway, most of my nurses were fine, but so frazzled and over-worked. There was a crazy high-maintenance patient right down the hall who just screamed for assistance day and night and at one point she had to have some kind of one-on-one care when the floor was already under-staffed. Fortunately, I was coherent enough to keep track of when I needed pain meds but nights when I had to go to the bathroom so frequently from the drugs and the thirst they caused were rough. I almost envy the folks on here who talk about sleeping through their first few days. Anyway, in hindsight, I think I would have opted to have overnight private duty help.