Thursday, September 4, 2008

Medical Blogs

There came a time when I had to get an education... just in case my husband died or left me (God forbid) with three children and no real marketable skills. We had married when I was seventeen and had the kids in my early twenties. It was a given during the fifties and sixties that wives stayed pregnant and barefoot. But, when it dawned upon me that I couldn't manage the house payments on my own, off I went to nursing school (I was forty). We had one in college and two in high school, but I never wanted them to do housework in addition to their school studies, extra curricular activities and their jobs in a restaurant. In the end, all three paid for their advanced education and we provided them with room, board, laundry, all personal needs, a car and tons of love.
After I had the education, I went to work in a hospital for twenty years. First on a general med-surg floor with a smattering of peds for seven years, then on to the cardiac floor for four years and finally to maternity/nursery for nine years. I am an absolute fool for anything medical, so when computers finally entered my life I was thrilled to find all sorts of medical bloggers. I avidly approached each new blog and snickered at their rants about weird patients or drug seeking goofballs. Then, I read The Angry Pharmacist and his feelings about old people (oldfartitis...April, 2008) and realized that not all medical people are dedicated to helping the sick and infirm. In his ranting and raving, I saw genuine meanness with a small attempt to be super smart and chic. I love folks who come over here and read my blog and make comments. I love reading their blogs (my favorites are on the blog roll on the left) and making comments. We are a community and feel as though we know each other. I care when people have a problem and anxiously read their work to follow the latest outcome of a problem post. For example, Matty at Running on Empty has been writing a daily account of her grandson's battle with childhood leukemia and bone marrow transplant. This is real medical stuff coming from the heart of a real loving person. She writes of his daily struggle in his blog...Young Warrior, because he is too sick to do anything. Matty and Tayten have been at the mercy of medical types for over five months with two months to go. Working in a hospital is difficult and sometimes it hurts your soul to see the heartbreak there, so when nurses and doctors get a chance to have a laugh and let off some steam... they might step over the line and joke at some of the weirder patients that come across their path. So, I read and thought some blogs were really clever and I admit I laughed at some of their antics. But, then I started noticing that if someone disagreed with their point of view or challenged their dedication to the healing and compassionate standards in the comments sections, the commenter was torn to shreds. Nurse K from Crass Pollination, an ER Blog was one of my favorites and she is truly popular and witty in the blog world, but the further I read, the sharper the point gets on the end of her scalpel. While her views of ER are probably true to life, they are pretty snarkey. I asked a question in the comment section and was rebuffed to the extent that I am afraid to ever comment again. One thing I have discovered is that after finding a blog you like, you can follow endlessly to other blogs from one to another. It would be wonderful if these medical people could change their style just a bit... to educating and entertaining the public without the cruelty and lack of compassion.
I would offer you one bit of information.... be careful when you are answering questions from a medical professional and you get the feeling that they are forming a false idea of what you are saying. If one nurse, doctor, pharmacist or whatever writes a disparaging remark in your chart.... that little bit of information gets passed from shift to shift or person to person and your medical record or care is compromized. Way back when I had my second child, I was gingerly sitting on the edge of a chair to feed him his bottle, because I couldn't actually sit down. He started choking and gagging and I dropped to my knees on the floor and sat him on the bed to have access to him while he did a little projectile vomiting. I jerked on the emergency light and a nurse trotted in and took the little guy back to the nursery for real nursing care. Later that day, my doctor came into my room and asked me, "What's this I hear about you sitting on the floor to feed the baby?" So, from one busy nurse who had misunderstood the situation... I was suddenly some kind of kook or perhaps starting "post partum depression". This is what is happening in the medical blogs and they are supporting each other with such lack of savoir faire.


Empress Bee (of the High Sea) said...

hey honey, you were hot!!!

and i do know what you mean. i would not comment at that pharmacy blog because he is a hate filled puke. don't go there any more, do yourself a favor.

after i had my lung cancer surgery i was in the hospital for 10 days. somehow i asked the dr. to get me a private room, that i would pay the difference. well he got me the suite! at no charge. i don't know how or why but it was lovely. but the nurses wanted to know who the hell i thought i was. they were mean and spiteful.

i tried humor with them, it backfired and they made it worse after that.

example: i went to the bathroom, no small thing for me at that time, and i rang for the nurse. she came on the speaker from her perch and wanted to know what i wanted. i told her it was personal, i was in the bathroom and needed assistance. she kept on, what is wrong? what do you want? on and on. i was crying now. finally i yelled i need my ass wiped and i can't move that way at the top of my lungs. that shut her up.

of course it got much worse after that.

i had my friend come to help me wash my hair. they would not let her. they said i could not lay in bed with wet hair. i explained my hair is short and thin and will dry quickly, no, still can't.

sorry to write so much, hot button i guess!

smiles, bee

Empress Bee (of the High Sea) said...

kacey i sent you an email but it was returned:

This is an automatically generated Delivery Status Notification

Delivery to the following recipient failed permanently:

anyway, i added your email as a comment. can you see it?

Dust-bunny said...

You were quite the gal, Kacey!! What a figure!

You are such a lovely being. How nice of you to comment on Matty and her ordeal (she is such a trooper). And the story about you "sitting on the floor to feed the baby" funny. Don't you hate it when people think you're nuts? I get that a lot.

Kacey said...

Bee and Lisa....Thanks for the nice comments. I thoroughly enjoy both of your blogs and am happy to be in this blogging family!
Bee---the reason you got the e-mail back is unbelieveable. It came from my cable server e-mail site. It was spelled bykeye or some such nonsence---by the server???? Since I am in Ohio, it is .... you know, Ohio Buckeyes? Go Bucks! I do have to find a way of commenting at your place. I went over and read the message and there are things menagerie and I swear that it was not that way when I sent it. The gremlins have gotton into my machine.

Matty said...

Hi Kacey,
Thanks for the mention. We are doing great. Right now we are staying at a Ronald Mcdonald House in out-patient.
I haven't checked out the other blogs you mentionned and I really don't want to.
You do speak the truth. When going from one appointment to another within the hospital..each patient has a big binder that goes the rounds with them. They sometimes let me carry this 'binder' as the porter is busy pushing my grandson. You can bet your boots...that I lag behind and use the excuse I need to use the I can read the comments of the nurses in this 'binder'. It would surprise many people to read some of the comments written on patients that are unnecessary.
Some of the comments are personal, rude and non-professional. And anything that happens in the patients room is grist for the mill. Nothing is sacred. Your personal life is an open book.
It's a shame what is happening in the medical blogs....if they're not happy in their line of work...why not quit?
Your post Kacey was a real eye-opener. Let's not forget there are truly some wonderful people working in the medical profession...but yet there are many that shouldn't be there. Maybe your post will remind them of why they chose the medical field in the first place.

Granny Annie said...

Yes, I read the Angry Pharmacist and thought it was funny at first, but you're right. He's downright mean and needs to go into another profession.

I love your medical opinion and comments on my blog worries.

Hey, listen to this. I have an acquaintance who is an Acupuncturist. She arrived at my home yesterday with her laser acupuncture equipment and insisted on giving me a free right shouder treatment to relieve my injured rotator cuff. What was I to do? I let her give me a treatment and maybe it it somewhat better (not sure) but now my middle finger on my right hand is hurting and popping when I straighten it. She is an RN as well as doctor of health and wellness, etc. but I usually stick with MDs and am a bit concerned about exactly what laser acupuncture does. Do you have any idea if it can do harm?

Carine said...

Kacey, I loved your column here-it was not only an outpouring of concern and care for your fellow bloggers, but everyone in general. You're right, no matter if we check in once a week or everyday, we are a community who is interested in the lives of our cyber-friends. I agree with granny annie about the Pharm needing another profession-why make others as miserable as you are?

Big Dave T said...

I used to do some financial counseling of patients and once I had to read through the patient's medical record to get pre-approval from his insurance for some procedure he was having done. This seemed to agitate the patient who was in my office, but it had to be done.

As I read through the notes in his chart, he become more agitated. Just as I read something to the effect of "patient frequently loses his temper and becomes violent" he stormed across the room, grabbed the chart out of my hand and flung it to the floor.

The patient may not have appreciated the comment I read, but I sure did.

Molly said...

I was especially interested in thispost Kacey as my mother in law [89] is always going to see one doctor or another. She is a sweet little lady. But. Her husband always goes with her [she never learned to drive, and anyway is too weak]and he is very outspoken with his opinions when the doctors and nurses don't hop to attention and bow and salute when he shows up! I know he must have quite a reputation in the local medical community. Your post convinced me! I just feel bad that she is maybe not being cared for by those people as well as she should be because of Mr.Squeaky Wheel......

Cathy said...

Kacey, you are right on with this post.

As for those 2 medical professional blogs you mention. I have never read more unprofessional garbage in my life than what I have at those 2 blogs. They would neither ever make it onto my sidebar. I don't visit either one of them anymore.

As for Matty. I think she and her entire family are so strong. They have faced so much and especially her grandson. Her's is a true medical blog. She is inspiration for many.

Now that bit about a nurse or Dr. not understanding and then it spreads like wildfire is also true to the core. When I had my TKR (total knee replacement) I could not get out of bed on my own first 2 days, I had no catherater and had not went to the bathroom in over 24 hrs. They brought me my blood pressure medication which included two diuretics. I told her I had to go to teh bathroom so she put me on bedpan. Well I hadn't peed in amny many hrs so that thing ran over. Then because they had given me all those diuretics I had to go again in about 30 minutes and when I buzzed she came to my door and screamed at me " I am getting you out of that bed and you will go to the bathroom and you will empty that bladder completely this time, because I cant keep running in here." I started crying and told her to get the hell out of my room.

At shift change the new nurse came in and said "I heard all about you giving the nurse a hard time this morning." They were horrible the entire time I was there and I had never experienced anything like that before. I always got along great with nurses until that time and it was all over one bitch. It felt like I was in prison instead of a hospital.

Great post Kacey and sorry my comment was so long, but like Bee said, you hit a nerve.

Loving Annie said...

Great post Kacey.

And oddly enough, the people I've encountered in the nursing community blogs were nastier to me than anyone had ever been on the web.

The kicker for me was from a nurse named Barb, who used to have a blog called Just Peachy. Redefined the phrase 'insecure, jealous without foundation, uncaring of fact, and irrational, all with a poisonous tongue.'

And boy, was there a twister going on back then (2 years ago) about Nurse K.

I stopped visitng them. All of them.

I am sure there are those that are nice, but wow, the lack of intelligence, insight and compassion can be staggering from people who are supposed to care as a profession.

I know there are things and people that are aggravating when you work in medicine, but the sad part is when the workers don't care enough to understand the difference between a good person having a temporary difficulty - and a bad person being an ongoing difficulty.
As your story indicates.

Cathy said...

Kacey, I forgot to tell you that when you get time you should visit oncRN blog. She is the sweetest thing ever made. She cares so deeply for her patients and really for everyone. I have read her since she started blogging about 3 yrs ago now. She doesn't update often but when she does it was worth the wait. She is everything good compassionate nurses should be.

Kacey said...

Matty... You are truly an inspiration to all your readers. I'm thankful that you have enough nerve to stand up to medical people who fall short of the mark.

Carine... Thanks for stopping by and putting in a great 2¢ worth. Your comments are always appreciated.

Big Dave...I'm sure glad that the crazy dude didn't throw you on the floor. Some chart entries are valuable, but not the ones that are strictly personal opinions without any real backing. You'd be surprised at how much casual conversation around the nurse's station affects your care.

Molly.... Your M-I-L needs to send a quiet note to her doctor asking for a HIPPA form to have private time without Mr.Squeaky Wheel getting all the grease.

Cathy... I've seen awful things done, because one nurse planted a wrong idea in the minds of the care team. Usually, it makes the patient think they are nuts or afraid that they will never get an accurate diagnosis.

Loving Annie... I think you are right and I sould follow your lead and stay away from the offending blogs, but being retired... it is the closest I ever get to real medical talk and I do miss it.

jack said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


Anonymous said...

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A conscience does not prevent sin. It only prevents you from enjoying it.