Medical Sloppiness and the Need to Micromanage Health Care: Day 1 Part 1

By: Loolwa Khazzoom, Founder, Dancing with Pain

February 15th, 2009 • Patient AdvocacyPrint Print

The past four days have been a circus of medical sloppiness, propelling me into type A-style, incessant micromanaging that has left me depleted, depressed, and possibly on the losing side of the battle against getting sick.

It started off when I arrived at my mother’s hospital at 5 p.m. on Thursday.  She was still completely psycho.  I asked the nurse if my mother had been taken off the morphine, as I had requested before flying up north. He said no.  I told the nurse to get her off it immediately and instructed him not to give her any more narcotics that evening.

Next, I noticed the IV needle, dislodged and bloody in my mother’s arm — which by then had become terribly swollen around the insertion point. I pointed it out to the nurse (how could he not have noticed?), and he promptly took out the needle.  Because my mother’s arm was in such bad shape by then, he said we could wait for two hours until the night shift; and the incoming nurse could then reinsert the IV in a different position.

My mother was in such a state that she barely was able to speak.  In the few words she could utter, however, she was begging me to run for my life, so that the hospital staff would not kill me too. 

Since I had been through the scenario many times before, while my mother was in critical care in the previous hospital, I felt very calm and grounded.  I repeatedly explained to my mother that she was on narcotic pain medications, that we have been through this before many times, that she was just hallucinating, and that both she and I were safe.

While on the one hand she didn’t buy it for a minute, on the other hand she calmed down.  I think the dynamic that played out was very much about energy: My energy field was confident, serene, and grounded, and she responded to it on the physical plane, even though her mind was still racing around with delusions.

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