Not So Good Hospital

I really miss the hospital I used to go to in the Chicago suburbs, especially after this last one I stayed at. As you may have expected, I checked myself in as the mixed mood didn’t get better and I got closer and closer to hurting myself as the thoughts bore down on me. I took notes at this hospital because I couldn’t believe how bad my experience was.

In no particular order, and as only a partial list, here are the things that went wrong:

  • Food. The food was cold, poorly cooked, and mostly out of a can.
  • Lack of privacy in the bathrooms. Besides the bathrooms having no doors, the staff doing rounds found a way to always know when I was in there, need to mark down where I was for the every-quarter-hour rounds, and always look in and make eye contact while I was on the toilet or in the shower.
  • Uncaring night staff. The night nurses (7pm-7am) failed to learn any names, even when with you for several nights; and failed to ever do anything that could be “extra work” like look up if you can have melatonin even though I know the dr prescribed it because the day nurse looked it up for me.
  • Not sharing info. I saw a different nurse practitioner every day and no one had read notes about how I was doing from the previous day. Same with nurses between shifts and on different days, case managers, and therapists. I would be asked the same question multiple times a day, by different people, and no one checked the notes anywhere to see what I had said or what the dr had said (who only saw me for a grand total of 5 minutes between 2 visits and never took a history even of medicines I tried).
    Cleanliness questionable. Day room was mopped and trash emptied each shift, but all hand rails were sticky, the bathrooms were only swiffered daily and toilet/sink cleaned every other day, and I never saw the main halls actually cleaned, just swiffered. No wonder everyone upstairs shared a cold, and then it was brought downstairs and everyone went home with one.
    Crickets. In my bathroom, in my room, outside my room, and others had them too.
    Yelling. All day and most of the night from a dementia patient – did I mention I was on the geriatric floor? And others with intellectual disabilities yelled and spoke loud at all times of the day and night.
    Assault on the staff. By a person with dementia. Nothing done about it! She yelled violently at patients regularly too.
    Meds from home not approved. After the main nurse practitioner insisted I get meds from home for meds that were not on the hospital’s formulary (like Advair!) – that would have to be approved by pharmacy and then prescribed inhouse, a process that should take a couple hours, right? – I NEVER got them until I discharged, and then they didn’t give back one of them because they didn’t want me to take it anymore!!!! It was mine, prescribed by my regular doctor!
    ECT brought up. Multiple times, by multiple people. If you read my blog you’ll know why that scared and pissed me off!
    Sleep meds never ready. Even though they were prescribed, and I took what was in the formulary, the nurses never pulled my sleep meds to give me at night, and I would have to wait 20 minutes from the time I asked to the time I got them even when all they were doing was pulling my meds for me.
    Transfer to another hospital didn’t go through. I asked first thing the first morning to go back to the hospital that sent me cuz they had no beds the night before but did after discharges the next day. After getting the runaround about who to talk to, I kept on him all day and he finally came through – though no one else on the staff knew I was leaving. Sigh. Then the other hospital said I’d have to self-pay and that was too much money!
    Diapers. People just left in them for hours. Patients would tell staff about puddles or smells.
    Interns, and bad basic therapy. Every day I was there a therapy intern or a weekend-only staff person led the processing and education group. We would get 2 minutes to say what was on our mind, longer if we had a complaint and then they might jot something down. Super, super basic coping skills like deep breathing or the 10 cognitive distortions (just read off a sheet, not explained) were “taught,” and as someone who knows and practices them, they were not helpfully taught, explained, or they don’t work anyway.
    Intake, middle of the night. Imagine this. Been in a small room with just a couple chairs and a tv for 9 hours. During that time you had an hour-long intake covering everything possible. After several hours, you are told there are no beds and they will transfer you. Then more hours go by. And there is one bed available at a hospital without a good reputation, but legally (to cover their responsibility) they can’t just let you go under family’s care, or let you just sleep in the little room because you have reported intense feelings for suicide. More hours go by. An ambulance finally shows up to transport you to new hospital, sans sirens and lights. New hospital takes their sweet-ass time processing you – 4 more hours until 5:30am – and asks the Same Exact Questions even though your paperwork with all the answers was faxed over hours before you got there. Plus the people were rude!

Despite this and more, I remained model patient, taking meds, participating in groups (just 2 total to fill the day, sigh…), keeping patient, talking to and helping other patients. Just needed a restful place to feel safe and wait for the suicidal thoughts to wane.

2 responses to “Not So Good Hospital

  1. What you described here is precisely why no matter how bad things get for me at home, as long as I am caring for my kid, keeping the bills paid, and not harming myself…hospitals are of no use to me.

    I’m sorry it was a such a lousy traumatic experience for you, I do hope you got some peace at last from this wretched scourge we call mental health disorders. Even a crappy safe space can help when you need it most. Just should not be so grueling to get to that safe space, such a black eye for mental health care quality and sadly…it is universal unless you are wealthy.

    Good luck and hugs.

    • Yeah, I keep trying to stay out of them. I had a really good one that my insurance would cover in Chicago-land. This one, hellish, and it wasn’t a county hospital. Geez. I did get a little rest, but mostly I faked getting well, just to get out. I did get a little better tho.

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