Sunday, December 4, 2011

Hospitalized: What's It Like?

So I've had a few questions from friends about what it's like in the hospital, and figured it might be worth giving a detailed post. No, I don't wear a gown that's open in the back, and no I'm not bothered every 2 hours with vitals.

I am at Chelsea Community Hospital in Chelsea, Michigan on their head pain unit, which is the inpatient program of the Michigan Head Pain and Neurological Institute. So I am at a regular hospital, which means regular hospital room, regular hospital bed, regular hospital food, etc. But I wear my normal clothes. I have my own TV in my room with cable, and obviously my computer with internet. The room is 'semi-private', with just a curtain separating me from my roommate. We share a bathroom in our room, which is a decent size with a shower. Currently I do not have a roommate. There are 20 beds on the unit and right now there are 12 on the unit. They're getting 2 admits tonight and 2 are supposed to be discharged tomorrow. For meals, they prepare your food tray and put it outside the dining hall and you are supposed to go get it. I have yet to do that since I haven't felt well enough. Either Chad goes and gets it for me or the nursing staff brings it to me. They want you to get up as much as possible, so you can eat in the dining room, or bring it back to your room.

I am on IV drugs every 8 hours, which they call your protocol. Currently I am hooked up to a constant saline drip to help with my spinal headache from the lumbar puncture. Between the protocol, you can request an abortive drug, up to 3 a day.

Every weekday, they have 'rounds' (which is more like treatment team at my old job at the psychiatric hospital), where you go in and meet with the treatment team. But you mostly talk to Dr. Saper, the attending physician and director of the program. He started this program in 1978, as the first hospital specialty program for headache patients in the world. Also in rounds are the Physician's Assistant is in there, along with the psychologist, anesthesiologist, nurse, and other people that I don't know who they are. On the weekend, the doctor doing rounds comes to your room. During the week, they offer groups throughout the day, around three a day, lead by psychologists, nutritionists, and recreational therapist. Some class titles are Nutrition, Relaxation Techniques, Spiritual Wellness, Living With Pain, Pain and Mood, Coping with Pain, Relationships and Pain, Taking Charge: About Exercise, Care of the Neck, Yoga, and visits with a therapy dog!

Chad is here with me, and it is great having him here. He is staying at an inn on the hospital campus, so he walks through the woods on a trail for 5 minutes to get here. The security is really laid back (or non-existant?), because he can just wander in, go get me my food tray and more water in the unit kitchen.

Let me know if you have any other questions about what I'm doing here. It's a great program, and I am under great care. I'm grateful to be here and know I'm on the road to recovery. 

Laying in bed getting my IV treatment.

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