Day 052 – Melbourne, FL – Hospital Time

Happy July 1st.

I woke up today and headed out to the hospital with my Aunt after lunch. I’m not a fan of hospitals since I feel like they are a place of sickness and dying more than a place of healing and health. It is a view of my own making reinforced by the time I spent working at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle as the assistant to the Head of Psychiatry back in 2001 and 2002. Harborview is a Level 1 public hospital that historically has severed a lot of poor and also severely injured people. I had to walk between the two psych departments multiple times per day which put me in contact with a large portion of the hospital. I remember it being depressing and also being sick a lot of the time from having so much contact and an undetrained immune system. In comparison, the private hospital my Uncle is in, Holmes Regional Medical Center, is a lot nicer, more like a hotel.

I spent the day typing up notes on what has happened to my Uncle over the past month and also getting an overview of his medications and the breathing equipment that he is using. Especially in a complicated case like my Uncle’s – COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), congestive heart failure, low kidney function and he related secondary issues. I thought it would be a good idea to collect as much information as possible in order to help my Aunt Helen double check medications and treatment decisions. It never hurts to have another set of eyes.

The staff at Holmes seem really attentive and patient. Each time they see my Uncle they asked his name, birthdate and scan the ID bracelet on his wrist to make sure they have the correct patient and are giving the proper medications and procedures. Since everything is computerized the nurse would wheel in a small desk on wheels with the computer and medications on it. It reassured me that they were paying attention to detail. They also have a white board with the names of the staff assigned to him in addition to notes on medication and relevant health issues. I can only  imagine what it must be like interacting with so many patients a day all with their special needs and keeping it all straight.

Today the US played Belgium in the World Cup. It was an exciting game and my Uncle has been following the games closely. At one point the nurse ran into the room because there was a spike in his heart rate. Turns out it was just a natural response to the US scoring a goal 🙂

I decided to stay in the hospital over night to keep my Uncle company and to also see what went on since my Aunt said he has been having problems with his breathing mask. He uses something called a CPAP (continuous positive air pressure) machine that help him to both breath (get oxygen) and also reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in his blood.  He needs to keep it for at least 6 hours per night to get the most benefit. There are several different types of masks – from one that plus directly into the nostril to one that coves the entire face like the one my Uncle is using (for all those mouth breathers out there). During the night he knocked the tube out of the mask (really easy to do since it’s a light pressure fitting) 4 times. When the tube is out he isn’t getting enough oxygen or breathing support so it wakes him up and is really uncomfortable. There wasn’t a way to secure it any better, but I did learn how to reinsert it. Since I was right next to him it was much faster for me to do it than then nurse.

He was incredibly thankful that I stayed with him, but I was happy to spend time with him and make sure he was taken care of. It’s not fun being sick and even less fun being sick and alone and Uncle Pino is a very active guy that enjoys doing as much as possible for himself so being in the hospital for so long is even worse.

I stayed with him and my Aunt Helen in April of 2013 when I was pretty deep in the doldrums from the divorce and they both went out of their way to listen to me and cheer me up. One of the really nice aspects of being with family is we have each other backs.  I didn’t take any pictures today so want to share some from last time I was here. I went out played bocci ball with my Uncle and his friends – yes I was the youngest and I also got a nice picture of me and my Aunt Helen watching a sunrise 🙂






2 responses to “Day 052 – Melbourne, FL – Hospital Time”

  1. Alan Avatar

    I’m really glad you got to spend the time with your uncle Adam. Sometimes that expression of love stays with a person forever. Life is precious, and family is everything. It was touching for me to read about how you cared for him…Thoughts and prayers go out for him and the family.

    1. adampomata Avatar

      Thanks Alan. I really appreciate it. I couldn’t agree more with your comment. This whole experience has allowed me to reconnect with a lot of my family.