October 22, 2008

The unexpected hospital stay, day 3

After being woken at 5 AM for another dose of antibiotics, I was able to get back to sleep. Then the usual -- shower, breakfast, clean clothes and lots of time on my hands with nothing to do. I was REALLY bored Thursday until the afternoon, when I the second parade of people began, this time of doctors.

The hospitalist who admitted me on Tuesday had handed me off to her colleague for the rest of my stay. What is a hospitalist? One site defines it as follows --

A hospitalist is a medical specialist who provides quality medical treatment to individuals while they are in the hospital. Because hospitalists don’t maintain a private outside practice, their time is devoted solely to caring for hospitalized patients.

Hospitalists are based in the hospital and specialize in all aspects of a patient's care - from admission until discharge. To do this, hospitalists manage and coordinate the entire inpatient episode of care, working closely with the patient's primary care physician and/or specialists involved.

Not only do hospitalists offer the patient on-site and around-the-clock access to a physician, but also afford themselves an in-depth understanding of and commitment to, individual patient needs. Hospitalists are also familiar with key departments and individuals within the hospital, allowing for prompt connections with other healthcare personnel.

So. The second hospitalist had warned me on Wednesday that I would be staying another night. On Thursday I saw the infectious disease specialist she had called in on my case. He said I could go home that afternoon but would need to continue intravenous antibiotics for two more weeks. Well, that was fine with me if it meant I could sleep in my own bed next to my husband with my dog curled up at our feet. I was discharged around 6 PM with several prescriptions and a lead to Swedish Home Health Care, who would provide the IV therapy at home.

I wish I could say that my discharge was as smooth as my admission. Unfortunately the whole thing ended on a sour note. We packed up all my stuff and stopped at the pharmacy on the way out. It was almost 6:30 PM, I was looking forward to breathing some fresh air and Rik and I were both hungry. The pharmacy stop should have been quick and easy. But the clerk couldn't find my prescription (called in an hour earlier). Then she wanted me to wait 30 minutes while the pharmacist made it up. It's a tube of ointment in a box, what's to make up? I asked if I could transfer the prescription to a pharmacy closer to home. Sure, says the surly clerk. Just have the pharmacy call us. This woman was not terribly interested in customer service and my fuse was a little short. We made the call, the Rite-Aid near us was happy to help, and we left. Fresh air at last!

After a quick dinner out, we stopped at the drugstore to pick up the prescription. Bonus! Because I had transferred the prescription to them, I received a $30 voucher good on any merchandise in the store (except prescriptions, but what can you do?). At 8 PM we were home and by 9:30 I was in bed snoozing. Three very long days.....

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