Sunday, November 28, 2010

What I’ve learned this week.

Having someone close to you being treated in a trauma center ICU provides you with a lot of down time.

Which means I've had an opportunity to observe a few things:

  1. The next time you are zipping down the interstate, going the speed limit, or faster, and someone comes up on your tail and obviously wants you to get out of the fast lane, do it. I know its annoying, and you want to teach them a lesson & send a message to back off. But it just might be that they have someplace they really need to get to – like an emergency room because someone they love is going to beat them there because they are in a helicopter, and they are limited to a car. Odds are, most people who get up on your butt are not headed to a hospital – but you just never know.
  2. Yes, we know that neurosurgeons have studied for years, work God-awful hours, have paid a fortune in student loans, and save lives every day. That really doesn’t buy them the right to be jerks. If mere-mortals ask stupid questions because we’re hanging on to any positive signs we can find, and don’t easily absorb the idea that there are no absolutes when it comes to brain injury recovery – please don’t make us feel like idiots.
  3. Nurses are the best. Period. Especially ones that understand that some families have to find humor in strange and sometimes inappropriate places to get through tough times. They usually know more than the doctor, so save your stupid questions for those who actually see the patients as people (see #2 above.) At least if they are going to roll their eyes, they have the good grace to do it behind your back.
  4. If you are ever asked to renovate a hospital, do NOT put the Critical Care waiting room in the middle of the building. Sitting and waiting numbs the butt and the senses – without natural light to give you a frame of reference, it is even more disorienting. And no one should ever have to watch Fran Drescher reruns for longer than 30 minutes a day. I know health care reform is going wreak havoc on medical expenses, but maybe a deck of cards could be available for check out?
  5. Forget what your mother told you – don’t worry about the condition of your underwear ‘in case you are in an accident’ (they just cut it off any way.) Instead – make sure your feet are presentable at all times. This is primarily directed to men – although I’ve seen some pretty knarly women-feet, too (I won’t name names.) Keep in mind that the medical team is going to pinch, poke, and prod any available extremities to get a response from you. This could explain why the doctor is a jerk (again, see #2 above.)

Finally, never underestimate how important the support of family and friends can be. We may not be quick to return phone calls, or acknowledge emails – sometimes its hard to relay the same info over and over again. But to those sitting and waiting for something to change, knowing you are in our corner means the world to us, and we thank you for it.