Staying Alive 4 of 6

Now that you have a puppy on your lap as you read your book and have regular checkups with your female doctor what else can you do to stay alive?

Next: Stay Out of the Hospital!

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There was a time when the term “hospital clean” meant sterile and spotless. Today, unfortunately, the meaning could be the opposite. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lists nineteen nosocomial (hospital-acquired) infections three of which are antibiotic resistant. These can be life-threatening infections and they are transmitted in various ways including, but not limited to, patient to patient. Viruses and bacteria can also be spread by health care workers, contamination of furniture and other articles and through the air.

Hazards other than infection can result from surgery, treatment, immobility, and falls. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) tracks the rate of the following complications resulting from hospitalization: (notes are parentheses are mine)

  • Pressure Ulcer (bed sore)
  • Pneumothorax (lung collapse)
  • Fracture (broken bones from falls)
  • Hemorrhage or Hematoma (bleeding)
  • Acute Kidney Injury Requiring Dialysis (kidney failure)
  • Postoperative Respiratory Failure
  • Perioperative Pulmonary Embolism or Deep Vein Thrombosis (blood clot during surgery)
  • Postoperative Sepsis (serious, often life-threatening, infection of blood or other tissue)
  • Postoperative Wound Dehiscence (incision opening following surgery)
  • Unrecognized Abdominopelvic Accidental Puncture/Laceration (accident in surgery of the abdomen or pelvis)

What Can You Do?

There are times when hospitalization cannot be avoided. During those times one has little choice but given the option of outpatient care that is usually the best recourse. Understanding the risk of infection, in particular, should make one hesitant about visitation in hospitals. Situations vary and there are times when a hospitalized patient needs someone with them. If that is not the case protect yourself and them by waiting until they return home for visits. 

“A hospital is no place to be sick.” Samuel Goldwyn

Writing this reminds me of many years ago when I was in the hospital for a couple of days. My then eleven year-old daughter gave me a book for a gift when I left home to have surgery.   Although I no longer have that book, I clearly remember the title, “Staying Alive!” Thanks for the smiles, Allison!

Theme graphic & photo by Pixabay

3 Comments

  1. Sad but true story, which gives credence to what you say. In 2003, I had the first of two knee replacements. Immediately after the surgery, I was put into a room with an elderly lady whose daughter said had been there six months with a staph infection. In the wee hours of the morning, her immunologist would make his rounds and I would overhear everything. She did indeed have an infection and why I was put into a room which should never have been shared remains a mystery. My visitors reported that our bedpans were stacked one on top of the other without any identifying marks, too. Needles to say, I developed and infection and after a week, the Orthopedist had to reopen, and reoperate. What had been a long straight scar had suddenly become an even longer, now curved one, and part of a muscle in my thigh was also removed. i was put on a regimen of an intravenous IV antibiotic (Vancomycin) for what seemed like 10 days, and then another oral one after being sent to a rehab facility. What would normally have been a six week time away from my job became a 12 week one. That made me swear to never have the other one done. Alas, four years later, the pain was unbearable, so once again, I had the surgery. The good news is, now and to this day, post op orthopedic patients are put into a private room. I recovered quickly, was pain-free- and cane-free within two weeks, and never needed rehab after the second one. This is not to say there is no longer danger of picking up something either when an in-patient or a visitor. I have become almost obsessed with washing my hands before and after entering any medical facility, including an MD’s office. There is a restroom just off the waiting room and I see people go in and come out without hearing the toilet flush or hands being washed. I am also afraid to put my hand on the doorknob both entering and exiting the office. Thanks for reminding us to always take precautions.

    Like

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