My dad just moved into in-house rehab. This is good news. He needed to fit into a very narrow band of criteria in order to qualify for it; too weak, not a candidate, too strong, they can’t take him either. He’s just the right amount of upright but wobbly to qualify. This will give him a chance to gain some strength while buying us some time to prepare for him coming home, so we’re happy.
In the meantime, I’ve had many long days to contemplate things about
the hospital. I think my biggest complaint would be that there is no
organized system of making sure the different specialists can talk to
the family. It’s very hit or miss. Out of 12 hours by my dad’s side
yesterday, the 20 minutes I left to walk around and get some feeling
back in my legs was the same time a flurry of doctors came through to
provide an update. I love my dad, but he is not a reliable source for
relaying medical information, so we have no idea what the doctors said.
I know the medical people visiting his room have charts to refer to, to
keep them up to speed, but there should be a layperson’s version. A
single page report at the end of the day listing the doctors who visited
and what they had to say, along with times of blood draws and what
medicines were administered or any tests that were done along with their
results, etc. How hard could that be? Boy that would be helpful.
Also, the food service seems to have no connection to the doctors’
orders. We kept receiving trays of food for my dad filled with things
he wasn’t allowed to eat. Why isn’t the hospital menu divided clearly
into categories, like ‘liquid diet’ and ‘soft diet,’ etc.? My dad is
easing his way back into eating real food and the kitchen sent up potato
chips. We had to argue with him about how they were too much for his
system and confiscate the bag like he was a kid, but they never should
have sent it up in the first place.
On a less medically related note, I’ve also had time during my
average 12 hour shifts at the hospital to explore the gift shop, parking
lot, and cafeteria here. And there are some things we just don’t
understand. These are my hospital mysteries.
There is the lady in the booth in the parking lot. She waves to us
every morning. When nobody is in the booth the gate still goes up on
its own to let us into the lot, so that appears to be automatic. We
have no idea what the lady in the booth is really doing. But we wave to
her and hope she likes her job.
There is a dramatic staircase to nowhere that I don’t get.
The cafeteria appears to be filled with food, but there is not much
to eat. There aren’t many places to go to get a break from the hospital
room, so we end up in the cafeteria a lot. I think I’m hungry until I
get there. And then I look at each thing and think, “Nah.” Arno ended
up with a tray of cottage cheese, beets, yogurt and a banana. He says
his only regret is he didn’t put more beets on the cottage cheese.
Although, to be fair, that didn’t look that different from meals I’ve
seen Arno assemble by choice, so hard to judge. But I paid almost five
dollars for a sad little turkey burger which I ate while walking around
and then was bored again. But I keep looking at all the food and
wondering why there’s nothing to eat.
But here is the real mystery in the cafeteria: The “multi-purpose spoons.”
In any case, my dad is looking more like himself, and soon my
brother, Barrett, will be here to assist for awhile and I can head home
to Milwaukee. I’m glad I’ve been able to help here, but I miss Ian and
the kids, and I’m sure there is a lot of work waiting for me at the
violin store. But maybe I’ll get caught up sooner than expected now
that I know I can count on the versatility of all the spoons I have
I’m looking forward to being home–no mystery there.