Sunday, October 20, 2013

What I Learned While in the Hospital

Several weeks ago, I had the experience of spending five days in our local hospital. As hospital visits usually are, this was quite unplanned and unexpected. I had worked late on a Friday evening finishing up a presentation I was to give the next day. As I was finally leaving the office at 8:00 p.m., I called my husband to let him know I was driving to the local E.R. as I was having chest pains. I wanted to have it checked out as I have had previous issues.

Arriving at the hospital, I anticipated having an EKG and other standard tests completed and then being sent home with instructions to follow up with my primary care doctor and perhaps cardiologist the following week. Soon after arriving however, I found this was not a typical visit as the nurses began an IV and informed me I was going to be admitted. My blood work showed I had rhabdomyolysis. My first reaction was "Rhabdo what? I soon learned that I had elevated CPK levels due to a combination of the statin I was taking and an overly strenuous session in the weight room earlier that week. I soon found myself texting numerous people to obtain the appropriate contact information for the individuals in charge of the faculty development day to let them know I was out of commission. I was very thankful that my student workers had their phones with them and willingly responded to random text messages from the boss on a Friday evening and had the number I needed.

After being admitted late on the Friday evening, I wasn't released until Wednesday when my blood tests showed that my CPK levels and other enzymes being monitored had dropped enough to go home but were not quite normal yet. Spending several days in the hospital gave me plenty of time for reflection and the opportunity to learn a variety of things.

1. To begin with I spent a great deal of time being thankful. I'm thankful that we have a wonderful hospital facility in our community. Being at our local hospital rather than a larger hospital in a nearby city allowed my family to visit me every day. I'm also thankful that I have access to health care and have health insurance, although I'm still not looking forward to seeing the bill.

2. I'm thankful for my husband who kept everything going in my absence. My kids were fed, had clean clothes, and arrived at church and school on time. They even attended their regular after-school activities. He also with my instruction and the promise to shred my passwords was able to load the video I had completed and send the URL to the appropriate dean so at least part of my morning presentation could take place.

3. I'm thankful for friends who looked in on me while I was in the hospital and have continued to check to make sure I'm doing fine since coming home. I purposefully only alerted people on a "need to know" basis but am very thankful for all who prayed for me, looked in on my family, and visited me. One particular friend actually visited me while doing her rounds and drawing my blood each morning. We even arranged an after-school pickup and play date.

4. I learned not to take my privacy for granted. As a mom, I'm used to a lack of privacy, but privacy was non-existent my first few days in the hospital. I even had the experience of having a student who attended an information literacy session earlier that week serve as the CNA and help me change my clothes. I'd really rather not be top less in front of a student again.

5. The above situation and needing to be waited on by all of the various staff members increased my willingness to let others serve me. I'm typically an "I'll do it myself" type of gal but being in the hospital quickly brought that to a halt.

6. I greatly enjoyed the opportunity to rest and read while being in the hospital and for the next couple of days as I continued recuperating. I really needed the reminder of the importance to focus on what is most important and to cut back on non-essential activities.

7. This experience was also a wonderful reminder of my need to depend on God and draw strength from Him.

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