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Sunday, July 5, 2009

Pediatric Specialist Center

(Note: This is part VI of my story growing up with hardluck asthma. To view Parts I through V you can click here and follow the links.)

I never in my life would have imagined asthma was so complicated until I was a patient on 7-Goodman at NJH/NAC in Denver. There were times I was there I felt like a pincushion and a guinea pig.

Yet I found solace learning there were other people just like me, although I barely had time to get to know these other asthmatics kids as I was so busy being a pincushion.

I was at the hospital 14 days by Jan. 23, 1985, on over 14 new meds, and was still wheezing, had Dyspnea and cyanosis with minimal exertion, and was depressed because of it. Actually, I wasn't depressed because I was still wheezing, I was bummed because the nurses wouldn't let me participate in any activities because I was wheezing.

Finally, one day after I came home from school my doctor decided I was too sick to stay on 7-Goodman, and she had me admitted to a ward on the 8th floor of the Goodman building called PSC, or Pediatric Specialist Center.

While I was there I wrote a letter to my grandma:

"Since I've been here in Denver I've been taking a treatment every 3 hours. Drs been trying to spread the hours apart, but I haven't been getting any better. I barely notice a change since my arrival two weeks ago. So last night they put me in PSC, a room of 8 beds where they put patients who need IVs or special attention or treatments.

I'm in a bed right next to the nurse’s station. A mean nurse poked me several times for an IV, and then lab came to poke me again. Finally night came, the curtains were pulled around my bed, the lights dimmed, but I still couldn't sleep. So I played cards with Brian, the night nurse. He was really cool.

The next day the busy nurses worked again, a TV blared, a baby cried, another kid was yapping, voices were loud as nurses rushed around the room, and nobody seemed to pay me any attention.

The next day I got into a neat discussion with the mom of the 4-year-old kid in the bed next to me. She said her son had been in this place for two weeks. There was a public TV in the far corner and I really wanted to watch something I was interested in, but the honorable thing to do was let the 4 YO watch what he wanted.

She kept asking me if I wanted to watch something else, and every time I said, "No, I'm fine." Besides, I really didn't mind watching the mindless entertainment of Bugs Bunny.

Dr. Mitchel said I would be here 2 more days, but things still would be a lot worse if I were home. Maybe by that time (when I get out of PSC), I'll be able to do physical activities."

Unlike 7-Goodman, PSC was basically a hospital, and it really was boring. The only difference between PSC and the hospital I stayed at back in Michigan was I never saw mom. And, other than my counselor Ric visiting me every day, I had no visitors.

I suppose one or two of the kids might have visited me, but at this point in my stay I didn't have a chance to make any friends. I missed most of school due to tests and appointments, wasn't able to participate in gym, wasn't able to go on off campus excursions, and in a way I felt isolated from the world.

While I was sitting in my bed in PSC I kept thinking of my brother David on the day mom asked me if I would be interested in going to an asthma hospital. I kept thinking of David saying, "It would be like going to camp."Well, so far it wasn't like camp at all, it was like an institution. I wasn't happy about that at all. I tried to keep my attitude up, but that task was beginning to be a major challenge. I just wanted to be normal. I wanted to get out of PSC, to stop having tests done on me, to stop having appointments, to stop seeing doctors, to stop wheezing, and to start being able to do things like the other asthmatics.

And, most of all, I wished the dog gone nurses here on day shift in PSC would pay me some attention.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Rick,

I think your grandma must have been sad to get that letter from you. I sure hope this story gets better :).

Me