Fallen into a hospital and can’t get out

Last week Blane’s back went out while he was at the gym. He was in so much pain he couldn’t move and had to be taken to the hospital in an ambulance. I would have taken him, but he needed to be moved on a board. Sad, really, because the hospital is right across the street from the gym. No kidding, across the street. I haven’t gotten the bill yet, but I’m guessing he could have gotten a better price on a ticket to France.

His x-rays didn’t look too bad, but the ER doc insisted on admitting him for an overnight stay because he couldn’t move so well. I told the doc I’m a nurse and can do anything they can do (better, too, I promise you) but I gave up the fight and agreed to let them keep him. They wanted to do another test on his back in the morning. Fine.

They did his test while I was gone and the neurologist told Blane his diagnosis while he was so heavily drugged that he couldn’t remember that he even saw a doctor. I had to go read the chart to see what the hell was going on. That’s where I also read they were keeping him another night.

What? I was the one getting him up to the bathroom, getting him bathed, shaving his face… What? Nurses would not answer his call bell while I was gone. I was really afraid he’d fall as he is not used to taking strong drugs.

So I fight them and at the end of the ordeal they tell me he needs to be fitted for a back brace the next day and if he doesn’t get it while in the hospital, the insurance probably wouldn’t pay for it.

Dammit I’m angry and I feel like we’re fucking hostages in this place.

I walk the halls and gaze into the open rooms. This is a non-specialty medical-surgical floor and all of the patients except for Blane are elderly. I know this workload, it’s rough, the patients need loads of help for everything and there are not enough nurses, ever, on those floors because it is a shit job. I wouldn’t dare complain about a thing to one of those nurses because it is not their fault. They are some of the hardest workers in any hospital, med-surg nurses. Couldn’t pay me enough to do it.

So, the patients on that floor, some of them are watching the news, the Town Hall Granny-Gate stuff, ironically. People out there screaming about Death Panels and carrying on as if they really care about it with all their hearts while my own heart breaks into a million little pieces because not a single one of these old people had any visitors in two days.

So. Fitting for a back brace. I was thinking this was going to be something they were going to custom make right there, some gadget that involved plaster and carving, you know, fine craftsmanship.

No, no, no. This thing turned out to be a pre-made velcro powered brace. Another overnight stay for this stupid thing? Wow, no wonder insurance companies refuse to pay so many bills.

And I have to wonder if anyone realizes that no hospital in America could really keep its doors open on Medicare reimbursements alone.

So we go through stupid shit like this, round and round while insurance companies and hospital corps play their games with our tax money and insurance premiums while people like me have to make a choice between whether to leave my drugged up hubby alone for the night or go home to watch my kids.

Is this really the best way to do healthcare? Is this worth fighting for? Really?

And Granny? If people had to dig into their personal bank account to pay for her care, how quickly would those plugs “fall out of the wall?”

I’ve worked extensively with the elderly. I KNOW how much most people care about Granny, so don’t even start trying to bullshit me.

The cancer patient in the video below is alive because she is getting her treatment through Medicare (aka government healthcare). She admits she couldn’t do it without Medicare. My tax dollars. Yours. She is arguing against that same government healthcare for others, however, because she likes being able to choose her doctors (no one wants to take that away from her). She doesn’t care that there are people out there with the same exact diagnosis as she, people who can’t even choose treatment at all because of inability to pay. Working class people who pay Medicare taxes to save her life.

Wow, talk about complaining on a full belly.

I volunteer in a free clinic once a week and have seen people just like her who have cancer but no money for treatment. The clinic mostly treats common things such as diabetes and high blood pressure, so we don’t carry cancer drugs. Since cancer is not an emergency, we can’t dump them at the hospital ER for treatment.

I wish I could tell you more stories about that stuff, but I can’t.

So now Blane has a “pre existing condition” to deal with if he ever wants to just quit work and start his own business. That means we probably wouldn’t be able to buy health insurance at any price to cover his back. I feel like we’ve lost some freedom this week. I know we have. And yet, we are amongst the fortunate who have access to care. This is good fortune when it comes to healthcare in America.


This is all due to people continuing to choose fear over courage. If they really cared about their children, they’d do something about this Mickey Mouse system of ours and give us what they have. Some security in health care. I’m paying for them to have it, why can’t I get that too?

Why can’t we all have that?



Scanned Image Before Photoshop


I’ve been scanning and doing a little restoration on some old photos. I’m still learning loads about what works best, but as you can see this one needs a lot more work. It was overexposed and either the inks have faded or the photo album it was in did something to it, I don’t know.

The thing is though, doing all this brings back old memories. That is me at the age of about six just after having my tonsils removed. I didn’t always look so grumpy. The reason I chose this photo is I want to tell you about that mailbox behind my right shoulder.

I remember being tall enough to open it, but not being tall enough to see inside of that box. It was a magical mailbox to me because every so often people in my family would get presents from that box.

There was a doll I wanted, a beautiful ballerina doll named Dancerella and she had a pink sparkly crown. When you stuck your hand on the crown, this doll would pirouette. I didn’t tell a soul I wanted this thing, not sure why, maybe it was because we just didn’t ask for things. But I wanted that more than I’ve ever wanted anything (material) before or since.

And I was damned sure it would come via that mailbox. So every day for months I would go to the mailbox, open it, walk over to the oak tree nearby and stand on its roots to get the height I needed to see inside. Day after day, I was disappointed. No ballerina doll.

Then my dad got into a horrible car accident. For my mom, five kids and a broken up husband were too much to care for. So my aunts who lived four hours away came in to help the situation. They were taking the oldest three of us. I was sitting on the steps between the two aunts and they were asking me which one I wanted to go live with. I was confused, but I liked the idea that they were fighting over me.

One aunt had five kids. Three of them girls, one my exact age. The other had only two. One girl, and she was younger than I. Spoiled. Somehow that aunt was the one who convinced me to go live with her. On the way there I realized my mistake. The other aunt had kids swinging around on the ceiling fans like monkeys. It was like a fun house. What was I thinking, going with the one who had two spoiled kids?

Maybe I felt that one wanted me more. Aunt Lorica treated little girls like dolls. Her kids were adopted, thus way harder to get. It was her I chose. She would comb my hair and style it different ways. She bought me pretty dresses. She would also clean my ears out every single night. That was torture because she was convinced I had a piece of paper stuck in my ear. She saw something white in there and had this ice pik looking thing she used to try and dig it out. Very painful and she never got anything.

My spoiled cousin had everything. Every doll you could imagine, even some on shelves we were not allowed to touch. Most importantly, she had that Dancerella doll.

When Christmas came around I didn’t think Santa would bring my presents there, so when asked, I would just say I didn’t want anything. Come Christmas day, however, guess what I got?

Dancerella. With a sparkly blue leotard. She was even prettier than my cousin’s. Best of all, she was mine.

About the ear situation. The white thing my aunt was seeing was an infected eardrum. It got to the point where I was going deaf and reading lips (a skill I have to this day). That’s when my aunt took me to the doctor who said my tonsils were causing all the ear problems. I got my tonsils removed and got to move back home with my Dancerella.

My spoiled cousin and I ended up becoming best of friends, like sisters, and I would spend entire summers with them as a teenager. My aunt is still alive and lives down Bayou Lafourche. They’re evacuating right now because of Hurricane Gustav and going to my mom’s house. I sure would like to see them all, but the hurricane is headed toward my mom’s as well. It just won’t be as bad there.

For those of you who know my mom is in the hospital for tests, so far they haven’t found anything and she might be going home tomorrow. She’s feeling much better and sounds good too.