There Are No Strings On Me

Finally out of the fucking hospital and back at (my temporary) home, swollen and bruised but de-tubed. I wish I could say it went without incident, but we all know that’s not how hospitals work.

First off, they had to run an IV for a few hours — a regularly scheduled anti-rejection medication. Thanks to the other shit they’ve been running all week, it took three nurses four tries to get the damn IV in, and I now have track marks and bruises running up and down my arms. Heroin addicts look less fucked up than I do right now.

Anyway, after that was all over, The Dept. came to remove the chest tubes sometime late in the afternoon. Literally all the guy had to do was pull the tubes out and put gauze over them. He failed. I mean, he pulled the tubes just fine; it was the covering up the resulting holes where he failed. Instead of suturing them or even putting a wad of gauze over the top, the surgeon put a literal Band-Aid over the sites and walked out. This, not surprisingly, started leaking immediately. The nurse came in and gauzed it up, which kept for a few more hours, until the night nurse got in. She had the common sense to dermabond the sites — dermabond is a kind of magic skin glue; they use it after surgeries instead of stitches — and then throw more gauze on top of it. I’ve been dry ever since. Third time’s the charm, right?

So, with that done, it was time to go home. One of the Doc Transplants comes down to talk to me and get the paperwork for discharge started, except, hey, maybe I wouldn’t mind staying overnight? Totally my call, but they heard about the leaking and, yes, that’s totally normal, but, you know, maybe I could stay anyway? For fun? There’s no medical reason for it and, OK, sure, the leaking was ’cause The Dept. was stupid and not because of any actual medical reason, but, one more night? Also, they can’t guarantee I’ll actually be discharged first thing in the morning because, you know, they suck, but it’s not like the hospital is the single worst place for an immunosuppressed transplant patient to hang out, right? I politely — and I know it was politely, because I was still hooked up to a heart monitor; alarms would’ve gone off if I got worked up — I told him that ten days was more than enough, that I was tired of being punished for the hospital’s ineptitude, and that he could take his “one more night” and shove it straight up everyone’s ass. I was out within an hour.

None of this is to say I don’t appreciate what they did. I am breathing better than I was. I get that this was necessary and that sometimes things come up unexpectedly and changes need to be made. I get that being a doctor is hard, and that there’s a lot of heavy shit going down in a hospital at any given time, but these last two weeks have been fucked up. I’ve been doing this a long God damn time, and I know the difference between shit hitting the fan and people just dropping the ball. Between the multiple failures of communication and general lack of a plan, my opinion of the entire fucking medical system took a serious hit. And it was pretty God damn cynical to begin with. I mean, this started over two fucking weeks ago, with an estimated three day run-time. The fact that it spiraled into a two week ordeal is complete bullshit. They had the x-rays, they knew there was fluid on both sides; they could’ve started both tubes at once. And the lack of consistent metrics still gets me rankled. You’re fucking DOCTORS. You should know whether 200 ccs is better or worse than 20, or whether an x-ray showing zero fluid pockets is acceptable proof of success.

Woo. That rant was a long time coming. Hopefully that’ll be the last of it for a while. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to watch the Avengers: Age of Ultron trailer again.