You may have heard it said somewhere that when going into hospital you should “check your dignity at the door”. It is unfortunately, true. The other saying is, that “hospital is no place to be if you need rest”. Personally, I am a firm believer in there being a fine line between staying in hospital long enough for them to fix you and getting out before they kill you.
I thought by way of example, I would share a standard day in hospital as documented by me at the time. I wrote this because, as someone recovering from a craniotomy, it seemed as though there was a lot going on around me but I wasn’t sure if that was the case or if it was merely my perception. I certainly had days when I wished I could be left alone to rest, sleep even. I don’t expect you to read each entry merely consider the sheer number of interactions required on a standard day in hospital.
Day Six Post Surgery
6am Water jug collected & meds administered.
6.45am Morning shift receives handover at room door.
7am Morning obs:
Blood Pressure (BP), oxygen saturation, temperature, pupil response, hands & feet strength.
7.20am Fresh water jug and newspaper delivered.
7.30am Fresh towels dropped off.
8am Surgeon visits.
8.10am Buzz for pain meds.
8.15am Breakfast delivered.
8.20am Morning meds dispensed.
8.30am Neuro Nurse Liaison visits.
8.45am Excruciating head pain experienced.
9am Finish breakfast.
9.15am Senior ward nurse pops in to check progress.
9.30am Morning Obs including orientation to time and place.
9.45am IV Gelco removed in preparation of showering.
10am Shower and wash hair with nurse assisting.
10.20am Cleaner through room.
10.30am Neuro Nurse Liaison returns with update.
10.40am Speech Pathologist assessment.
11am Jason arrives for visit.
11.15am Mail delivery.
12pm Pain meds.
12.15pm Lunch delivered.
2pm Pain meds administered.
2.15pm Short walk.
2.15pm Mum arrives for visit.
2.30pm Physio review.
2.30pm Afternoon tea trolley time.
3pm Afternoon shift change.
3.15pm Nurse check in.
3.45pm Guests leave.
4pm Obs performed.
4.30pm Walking with a nurse.
5pm Nurse checks in.
5.10pm Obs performed.
5.20pm Dinner arrives.
5.30pm Evening medications administered.
6.30pm Tired and ready for bed.
6.50pm Evening tea trolley time.
7pm Nurses check in.
8pm Night medicines administered.
8.50pm Pain meds administered.
9pm Lights out until next lot of obs or meds.
This equates to 40 interactions per day. 40 conversations or brief interactions whist I attempted to rest after brain surgery. There appears no difference in the level of intrusion based upon degree of illness or injury. Unless of course you are in the Intensive Care Unit, then the tea trolley doesn’t swing by.
I share this so that should you find yourself visiting someone in hospital and they appear tired and out of sorts, you can keep in mind the seemingly endless interruptions they may have experienced and the equally few, opportunities to sleep. The day starts early in hospital and being rousted from sleep when all your body wants is rest, is enormously challenging to the mind, body and spirit. Patients who still require regular medications or observations will also be woken frequently during the night. So be patient with any patient you visit, they may be a bit grumpy and sleep deprived.