We made a promise to not go back to OSF St. Francis except for our MFM (Maternal Fetal Medicine) checkups with Dr. Leonardi and when we have Baby Joey. We just got home at 10:02pm after leaving our house at 8am this morning. Yeah….14 freakin hours, obviously we’re both extremely frustrated with that experience!!
The good: Dr. Ladanyi made an appearance with his adorable little daughter to check in on Lindsay and I on his off-day. He said he wanted to check up on us to make sure we were doing ok and then communicate his plan for the day with us. Very nice gesture to show the commitment to just one patient on his off-day. Dr. Leonardi came by a little while later to do the same thing, give us a well-being checkup and make sure we understood the daily plan and that our questions were answered. We also had visit from my Dad, who brought us lunch from Sugar Wood Fire Bistro–check it out if you’re ever in Peoria, it was amazing pizza! Then Amber, Will and their adorable, ham of a baby boy, Brooks stopped by to say hello. Due to the craziness of both our lives, we hadn’t got around to visiting with Will and Amber much and we hadn’t met Brooks, who is 5.5 months, until today! He won me over right away in his Bears shirt, Bears bib and football shoes! Top that off with endless baby rolls and his calm (for us, his parents say otherwise! 🙂 ) demeanor and I was won over. He made me all the more excited for our son to get here! We also had visits from my Aunt Sara, who came bearing gifts of candy and a slushy for Lindsay, SOME aunt, didn’t even bring me a slushy! 😀 Before she came to visit, we had her best friend, Missy stop by. For sake of not getting her title terribly wrong, I will just say Missy has been at the hospital for long enough to be pretty well-known all over the place, this plays significance later in the blog.
The bad: pretty much everything else! We started off by getting at the hospital 15 min early (only one’s at registration) but still didn’t get to our room until 30 min after we had checked in despite still being the only one’s checking in at that time. Then we waited for another hour for the pretreatment meds to arrive. After that arrived we got some blood results back that had been taken shortly after we got to the room that said Lindsay’s hemoglobin levels had dropped from the previous 9 g/dl to 8.1 g/dl which is pretty significant and her magnesium and potassium levels were off, to boot! This meant even MORE added time to the end of treatment. Basically we had 2 hours pre-meds (1 hour more than normal), 1 hour per each (2) bag of chemo agents, 2 hours per pint (2) of blood and then 30 min per bag (2) of magnesium. That’s a total of 9 hours we knew we’d be facing, for certain! Keep in mind, this started at 10:30am (arrived at 9am) which meant we were looking at the earliest possible departure of 7:30pm! 😦
Our day nurse and tech, Angie and Janessa, were awesome. They kept everything rolling as soon as they got their hands on the blood and drugs and believe it or not, we were right on track for a 7:30pm discharge. However, nurse turnover is at 7pm and sometime during the discharge and introduction of our new nurse, things went really, really south with our schedule. Not only did our oncoming nurse not come check on us during the last magnesium bag for 30+ min, she then came in and didn’t turn the flow rate up, despite our insistence and the prior nurse’s actions. This meant 30 more minutes in the hospital, which sucks, but isn’t the end of the world. However, at 8:15pm we still hadn’t heard from her and I had lost every ounce of patience I had and went out to the hall to find her before paging the nursing station and asking for her. She showed up and told us that “your discharge papers were JUST called in by Dr. Lococo as he was in surgery.” I about lost it. I’ve had the infamous “waiting on your discharge paperwork” line thrown at me way too many damn times in my life already and I’m only 28! I asked her politely if we could decline the paperwork and just leave if the doctor has discharged us, as we know what is on the discharge paperwork and it will be going in the garbage at home, if not on the way out of the hospital. She went to talk to the discharge nurse but in the mean time I text Missy. 😛 It was 8:46pm when I text Missy to let her know we were beyond ready to leave and to see if there was anything she could do to help out. She called the charger nurse on shift on our floor and apparently must’ve reamed her a new one because she had discharge paperwork in our hand in exactly 10 minutes! Haha It was 9:08pm when we walked out of the hospital and got to the car. That meant it was a 14 hour day from the time we left our house to the time we got home!
I’m a very patient man, and I understand that 90% of the time the people who you interact with in the service industry have nothing to do with the delay or poor planning/process of things but at the same time, I have no tolerance for stupidity in process or poor planning. I don’t know who I’m going to talk to yet, but someone at OSF St. Francis will be hearing from me regarding the entire process from registration to transport to room check-in to staffing to medicinal ordering to discharge paperwork staging. We basically lost 3-3.5 hours of time during our outpatient treatment day. That’s an uncacceptable number and a huge waste of patient time but more importantly of hospital time, money and resources. The difficulty here is I’m a realist, I understand they typically don’t see outpatient treatment and that they typically don’t have anyone that is rushing in and out to get home after living an hour away but the entire process is so broken and between our 4 days we stayed in the hospital there, we can comfortably say we’ve now essentially wasted 9-9.5 hours of time. Based upon our bills from the hospital, that’s roughly $3,600 not to mention a terrible waste of time. Hence our promise to not return except for MFM appointments or delivery! 🙂
All that anger leaving my fingertips felt good, thanks for letting me vent! 😀
Lindsay’s chemo today went pretty well. She said she felt better today during chemo than yesterday so I was already encouraged before we had even started the transfusion. After the first transfusion had completed, she said she felt quite a bit better and could feel the energy returning to her. The second bag made her feel even a little more energetic, though not quite as much as the first. They then ran both of the magnesium bags, back to back, which didn’t bother her much other than making her feel a little flushed and warm, which the nurse said was perfectly normal. During the morning and again at 5pm, we had a visit from anti-partum to do a BST (baby stress test) in our room so we had a baseline before chemo and then a comparative chart for after chemo. The nurse said “we’ll leave this on for about 40 minutes and hope to see 2 baby movements charted and his heart rate move by 10-15 bpm at time of movement and then remain steady for the rest of the charting.” Baby Joey must’ve heard her because as soon as she strapped the sensors to Lindsay’s baby bump, he started moving like a mad man and showing off his steady heartbeat! She came back in to check the chart after about 10-15 minutes and exclaimed “Well I guess he is an overachiever, he already completed what we wanted from him!” Haha. We left the sensors on for a total of 30 minutes to make sure that he maintained the same energy and he did so she left saying he was doing awesome. Dr. Leonardi took a look at the charts and told us that “he might have to steal the charts to show other patients what a chart should look like”, so Baby Joey must be doing something right! 😀 I guess his mama is taking good care of him before he is even here! The actual treatments and drugs went on without a hitch but the process breakdowns led to a very angry and frustrated couple by the time we left!
Regardless of the frustration, we learned once again what an awesome support system we have and how many awesome friends we have! It’s hard to be upset for very long with the amount of positivity in both our lives and the support network we have. Lindsay is fast asleep (I hope) upstairs right now with both Joeys (the dog and human) and Pacey is laying with her snout rested on my foot as I type this. No matter how frustrating things can get in life, I am constantly reminded how good I have it and it doesn’t take long before I take a breath and calm down.
I would like to close with a quick note about the 4th of July, our Nation’s Independence Day.
“America was not built on fear. America was built on courage, on imagination and an unbeatable determination to do the job at hand.” – Harry S Truman
Sadly, many of us forget why we have fireworks shows, parades, sparklers, flags flying and BBQ parties this weekend. Maybe it’s not so much “forgetting” but rather neglecting to take the time to acknowledge the reason. Independence Day, otherwise known as July 4th, was created as a day of celebration to celebrate our independence from Great Britain and the establishment of our great nation. There have been hundreds of thousands of men and women to risk their lives to ensure that our country remains to be the greatest free country in the world. Please take the time out of your busy holiday weekends and parties to at least recognize, if only for a moment, the sacrifice of all of these men and women as well as the bravery of our ancestors that ventured across an ocean to start this great nation.
As Americans, we have to continue to exemplify these traditions of courage, imagination/creativity and an unbeatable determination. We do not back down, we do not show fear and we most certainly do not allow others push us around. America is the home of the free because of the brave and we cannot ever forget this seemingly simple notion. Our creativity and imaginations have far-reaching impact across the entire worldly landscape from technology, to medicine, to philanthropic ventures and more.
I’m proud to be an American, to have fought for my country in the World’s greatest Navy, to be able to raise my child in this great nation and I can’t wait to see what she has in store for us in the years to come. Happy Independence Day everyone, Happy Birthday America!
May God bless all the servicemen and women as well as all their families on this patriotic day. May God bless those who have given the ultimate sacrifice in order to maintain our Independence. May God continue to bless the Stars and the Stripes that fly all over the country today. Lastly, may God bless everyone on this beautiful day and may He ensure for a safe and sunny day to celebrate our Nation’s glory!
I pledge allegiance, to the flag, of the United States of America and to the republic for which it stands. One nation, under God, indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for ALL.
HAPPY 4TH OF JULY EVERYONE and may God continue to bless America! 🙂