Home Is Where the Pickles Are

When I said last week I would write more about doctors, little did I know what was about to transpire. Flying to a major US city to attend a meeting, I told the flight attendant a couple of times I was having trouble breathing.

His reaction was along the lines of “Uh-huh.”


Then I remember a brief moment of moving and the word “ambulance.”

Nothing more until: “Do you know where you are? What’s the date? Who’s the vice president?”

And thus began my weeklong stay in a well-known east coast hospital. If it’s Tuesday, I’m probably still there. At any rate, I missed the meeting. And I met a lot of docs.

And, by the end of the week, I had questions of my own, such as: “They’re still using NPH? If I say I need to use the bathroom, why does it take seven hours to get a bedside potty there? Why isn’t there a bucket on it? Is the prisoner next door dangerous?” And last, but not least, “why do I never get the dill pickles I request for my hamburger?”

Or perhaps that should be, “Will I ever get out of here?” They may have figured out I have private insurance and wanted to keep me! They certainly put up enough hoops for me to jump through.

They took my insulin pump off in ICU. Hey, I can relate. I wasn’t exactly what you’d call “conscious.” From then until they handed it back over to me, I got injections of NPH. This was ordered by an endocrinologist. Then she messed around with my pump settings. I was not amused. I was running high.

Because my blood pressure dropped low, they messed with those meds. My blood pressure ran high.

Other meds I take on a regular basis just kind of…disappeared.

So what happened? First, you should know that I’m terrified of flying. However, I like to go places, so I take an anti-anxiety drug when I fly. Have been for decades.

This time, I’d been prescribed a new drug for phantom pain. I had taken that in addition to my usual “flying pill.” One doc noted the combination may have started events that led to my being hospitalized. And my carbon dioxide levels were too high.

So here I am. It’s Tuesday and I’ve been in here since last Tuesday. I’m supposed to be discharged today. It will be good to get back home, where the computer is familiar (I’m on my husband’s laptop), I can take my own meds, nobody is panicking if my glucose goes below 200 mg/dl, and I know where the pickles are.

  • jim snell

    Holy hannah. hope you get back to normal after all
    the busy bodies messed with your gear.

    Best wishes getting well again.

    My biggest fear is exactly what you went through. Here you have your routine, settings down and then due to an incident; well meaning souls drop on in and set things according to some other rig a ramole according to some local rituals and approaches. What you have special needs and an approach and it works? Good luck there!

  • Beth

    Jan, I am reading this on Wednesday. I hope you are home by now, with pump, pickles, and personal persnickety-ness intact. :-)

    I looked for you at the ADA meeting – now I know why I couldn’t find you.

  • Mary G

    I can relate. I, too, was subjected to “standard of care treatment” in a well-known east coast hospital. Apparently the hospital doctors and nurses thought their way was better than what my doctor prescribed. They messed with my drugs constantly and my BP went down to such a low level that I needed an IV for 3 days to bring it back up! I also received insulin against direct orders from my doctor. I was dizzy constantly. My meals were pathetic and I had to play a guessing game with the “dietician” as to what I was allowed to eat at any given time. They didn’t have a “Diabetic” Menu. They were more than willing to have me live on industrial strength artificial orange flavored diet jello. I, too, wondered if they were keeping me longer than necessary because I had private insurance. My doctor thought 3 days were all I needed before going to rehab, but the insurance company allowed up to 5 days…so, guess what…the hospital found reasons not to discharge me until day 5. Go figure. Coincidence? Also, when I really needed help, the nurses were conveniently not available. When the IV bag I was hooked up to to bring up my BP was empty and started a loud alarm, I called the nurse twice and waited more than 30 minutes for help(all the while listening to that infernal alarm). Apparently my need in Telemetry was not “urgent” enough. I would have liked a pickle,too….

  • jim snell

    Thank you Mary G.

    Hospital could not let you go early – what a live real money paying client at full rates.

    Thank you for sharing your experience as well.

    The mess in medicine today mirrows the mess and costs in government as well.

    Its no wonder we no longer explore space like going to the moon. When was that -43 years ago.

    Absolutely frightning.

    Science – what is that?