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The Staff at SPUH

There is absolutely no worse feeling than your baby being unwell and you can’t take away their pain. For the past seven days we have either been at the pediatrician, at the hospital, or both. These past seven days have been exhausting, physically and emotionally. 

When Arham woke up ill Friday, and wouldn’t improve as the day went on, plus a doctor’s visit later… I knew I had to take him to the ER. I thought I was going in just so he would feel better with some IV fluids.

Little did I know what that night would have in store for us. Or even the next few days that followed for that matter.

To be quite honest, I was dreading taking him to the hospital remembering how painful it was (physically) for Arham when he was six weeks old and hospitalized and how painful it was (emotionally) for me. It’s traumatic and something I  can’t get it out of my mind.

Which brings me to what led me to start writing today:

The staff at Saint Peter’s University Hospital? Godsend. Especially the nurses.

The level of care [and comfort] they provided for not just my precious Arham, but my parents and I during the stay? It’s unforgettable. It’s something I’ll never forget and I can’t begin to express how grateful I am.

From explaining what I didn’t understand multiple times, to giving me time to process the information.

From being available for questions to continuously asking if I (or we) needed anything.

From listening to and addressing my concerns to allowing my parents to stay and be in the room with me when not typically allowed.

From using a flashlight instead of turning the lights on in the middle of the night to prevent disturbing my finally sleeping 15 month old to coming in later to try again to not disturb my child.

From understanding my fears and hesitation to providing any sort of help they could.

From calming my fears to reminding me prayers can change everything.

The list is endless, just as my appreciation towards them is.

It is an innate reaction to complain and not forget when things don’t go wrong, but we need to express appreciation when things go right just the same.

On a side note: I, myself, ended up in the ER one night while Arham was hospitalized — and they were so accommodating. A typical ER visit is hours long. They had me out within three hours so I could go back up to the pediatric ward to be with Arham and each of Arham’s nurses were just as concerned about me as they were of Arham.

Being completely honest, even though I always like to be safe rather than sorry, I wasn’t sure why they were putting my baby through excessive tests that wouldn’t help or weren’t even needed on that Friday.

He just had a terrible stomach virus I thought

THIS is why I was hesitating bringing my baby I thought.

It may very well have saved his life.

Let me tell you, it’s not comforting when multiple people are rushed into the room, each trying to confirm the diagnosis… and in mere minutes a plan of action is put into place and surgery team is prepped for backup. Neither is when you are told it’s “life threatening”.

It was a scary situation, and what could have been is too scary to even think about, but not for even a second did I doubt the level of care Arham was being given.

The level of response once the problem was spotted was absolutely amazing and that may very well have made the difference. I will, forever, be grateful towards the staff at SPUH not for just this stay — but for what they do always.

Ten Years Ago

Ten years.

I can’t believe it’s been ten years, but it is a day I will remember in detail for many many years to come… if not for the rest of my life.

What started off as an ordinary Saturday in July, quickly became a life altering day. Faraz’s graduation party was the following Saturday, and we were expecting a lot of family to start coming over the next few days… starting with that evening of the 16th.

I remember being in my room, when Faraz came in and gave me a heads up that the ambulance was on the way — Abu didn’t feel well and he was literally drenched in his sweat.

The paramedics starting treating him right away before transporting him to the hospital. With Ami in the ambulance with Abu, and Faraz and I [teenagers] having no idea how to get to the hospital… we did the only thing we could: follow the racing ambulance — which meant cutting red traffic lights, speeding, amongst other violations I am sure… to the point where a police officer started following us [but he must have realized the situation because he followed us to the entrance of the hospital and then went on his way].

Parking in a non-parking spot, we rushed in and after what seemed forever [but in reality was not] and countless medical staff in the room, the dreaded was confirmed: Abu had just had a heart attack.

I called Ayaz at work, and let him know what was happening.

Soon thereafter, signatures taken from Ami for consent [of necessary procedures, etc.], Abu was first rushed in for an angiography and we were told it would take about an hour to assess. By that time, countless family members had showed up and it was the longest hour of my life. When the cardiologist finally stepped out, he informed us that there was a ninety six percent blockage and they were going ahead with an angioplasty at this point and it would take another hour.

By the time he was moved into his CCU room, there were easily at least fifty family members in the waiting room.

Seeing Abu like that was probably the scariest and most eye opening experience for me at that age. Suddenly and very quickly I learned and realized at once how vulnerable life really was. The uncertainty that followed that in the early days, and in some ways, to this day is scary to process or even explain.

I remember a day or so later, the man in the room in the CCU adjacent to him passed away. The nurses closed the door for all the other rooms in the CCU as they moved the body, but it was useless: we all knew. And while we tried to distract Abu, we knew he knew and was well aware of it as well. The tears in his eyes were evidence of that.

Are we overprotective of him, perhaps, a lot of times ? Of course. Do the littlest health issues sound an alarm for us? Definitely.

But all for a good reason: he is, after all, our rock.

I can’t imagine having a better father. He is fun and games when he should be, and serious when he needs to be. He has kept me grounded, showered us with infinite unconditional love, spoiled us, always encouraged us to do our best, and made us strive to be better people. He puts us, his family, first always… and always has. He is a prime example of a selfless role model of the best kind of a parent … and I pray it’s something I am able to emulate in the future.

I Hate Being Sick

4 blood tests, 4 urine tests, 3 ER trips, 3 IVs, 2 doctor visits, 2 flu tests, 1 X-ray, and 1 cat scan. In the span of 7 days. What a week!

Have I set the record for the times I’ve had to visit the ER in the span of seven days?

I could throw in more number facts in there, but these are just the basics.

If you follow me on Twitter, then you probably already knew that I haven’t been feeling well for the last two weeks.

It started off in the evening of Sept 11, with a sore throat. Annoyed I was getting sick, I took a few precautionary measures right away — drank warm tea, took cough drops, and took over the counter cough medicine.

Little did I know what it would lead to!

By 9 PM that night, my whole body was completely sore and everything just hurt.

By early that night, I was completely sore and had a full body ache. That night I was awake the whole night feeling miserable (and now had a fever and an intense cough).

Then it got even worse! :/

Starting Monday morning, I started throwing up A LOT. Sometimes just randomly, but definitely if I ate or drank something. Either I would throw up right away or get a horrible coughing fit which would result in me throwing up soon after. Plus diarrhea.

Fun, huh?

Went to my doctor Tuesday afternoon and she gave me some anti nausea medicine and told me I had some crazy viral that was going around and that I needed to go to the ER if it didn’t improve because I was losing too much fluid.

So that night would be ER Trip #1.

Six or seven hours, an IV fluid, first of many blood and urine samples, more anti-nausea medicine through the IV later, I would come home being told I had a crazy viral. Really? I didn’t figure that out already. More specifically, a throat infection (viral pharyngitis) plus MAYBE a bladder infection. Fun stuff.

What annoyed me was they didn’t do anything about the main things, just the minor ones. I mean, I would rather be coughing and what not then throwing up so much. Anyways, Tuesday was another miserable night and no sleep.

Wednesday morning, because I hadn’t had anything to eat/drink since Sunday, I tried to eat a cracker before taking the medicines. I figured the IV fluid and the anti-nausea medicine through the IV would have done me some good. But of course not — I was still throwing up.

Wednesday afternoon (the 14th), my doctor called to check how I was doing and when I told her I was still not able to keep things down, she told me to go back to the ER again. More IV fluids, tests, and hours later… I made my way back home from the ER for the second night in a row!

Thank god for my iPhone because without it, I would have lost the little sanity I have left after the past few weeks. It kept me from losing my mind the countless hours I was in the ER (three times over), it distracted me when I needed it most, and because I was pretty much laying down or sleeping most of the time it gave my access to read the news, etc!

A few days ago, I joked that you know I don’t feel well when I haven’t touched my laptop in such a long time! Unfortunately, it’s true.

I’ll follow up soon with another post on the nurses in the ER (at least the ones in my local hospital). It’s been on my mind since the first night I was in the ER.

P.S. Don’t forget to leave me a comment below on your thoughts! As always, I’d love to hear from you.

Observations at a Hospital/Doctor’s Office (Part Two)

This is part two of the post from here on the following questions:
You know what I’ll never understand?
  1. Why patients with heart related symptoms are made to wait an hour (plus) in the waiting room in the emergency room.
  2. Why patients on a “cardiac diet” are fed cheese sandwiches, lasagna, and other such things in hospitals.
  3. Why a cardiologists’ office serves pizza (ESPECIALLY after a stress test).
  4. Why the nurses and technicians in hospitals wake the patients up every 2-4 hours to take their blood pressure, etc.
  5. Why the nurses and technicians are so incredibly loud in the middle of the night.

You can read part one about statements one and two by clicking here.

Statement Three: Why a cardiologists’ office serves pizza (ESPECIALLY after a stress test).
This goes along with my previous statement, statement two, as it also deals with the quality of food (or lack thereof).
After my dad’s heart attack in 2005, he has had regular appointments with the cardiologist of course and has had annual stress tests. Each year after coming back his stress test, he would tell us that they were serving pizza and soda for the patients and their families (fortunately he would choose not to eat that).It’s so absurd that it is almost funny. Here we are at a cardiologists’ office and they are serving oily pizza to a bunch of heart patients.Apparently they have stopped serving food altogether– so I’m not even sure it was because they realized they were serving unhealthy food or if it was just because

Statement Four: Why the nurses and technicians in hospitals wake the patients up every 2-4 hours to take their blood pressure, etc.

Fortunately I’ve never been hospitalized, but I’ve stayed plenty of times with my mom or dad. That said, I probably know my local hospital backwards and forward. But that’s not the point; the point is that I don’t get why they do certain things at hospitals (or the way they do them).

While it’s annoying when they check the patients’ temperature, blood pressure, and pulse rate every couple of hours while you are awake, I understand that they have to do that. I get it. What I don’t get it is WHY they wake up patients to do it when they are sleeping. I don’t think that by not checking for several hours it would be that big of a deal in MOST cases. OF COURSE they are some circumstances where I’m sure it is necessary to check every two hours on the dot– but it’s not all of the time!

Most patients are probably already annoyed and not getting sleep just because they are in the hospital, so a few sound hours of sleep is probably necessary for them. I think my blood pressure would rise every time they woke me up at night ;)… just saying.

Once or twice, I remember, the technician coming into the room and once they acknowledge that the patient (my mom or dad) is sleeping, they just tell me they’ll come back later when the patient is awake. But that rarely happens.

You know what I find the funniest during all of this? When the nurse or technician asks the patient bright and early in the morning how they slept? How do you think they slept? You didn’t let them sleep! 

I’m going to throw in a statement five in here just because I can 🙂

Statement Five:  Why the nurses and technicians are so incredibly loud in the middle of the night.

I’m not sure what the deal is with this one, but it sure is annoying.

I can never sleep in hospitals anyways, so I’m usually up all night… which is probably why I noticed all these little things.

I don’t remember if I’ve noticed this happen before, but this past time – a nurse and technician kept talking really loud (essentially yelling to one another) right outside the rooms. If it was for something related to the patients, that they needed help, or something to the likes – it would be more than understandable. But no, instead they were laughing and joking. IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT!

Several times, my dad woke up from their loud voices. Said nurse and technician even came into our room and continued to do so and I probably gave them the most annoyed look possible because that was when it stopped fortunately.

Have you observed or heard about other similar things happening at hospitals and/or doctors’ offices that you found absurd?

Updated 12.17.2010: I was quite surprised to find this question in a survey online at http://www.hospitalcompare.hhs.gov because that indicates that it is a consistent problem, not something that happens on a rare occasion. For the category, ‘Patients who reported that the area around their room was “Always” quiet at night.’ — only 52% of the people who answered the survey in relation to the hospital we were at. That’s pretty low. Worse, the number was lower for the other hospitals in our area!

P.S. Don’t forget to leave me a comment below on your thoughts! As always, I’d love to hear from you.

Observations at a Hospital/Doctor’s Office (Part One)

You know what I’ll never understand?

  1. Why patients with heart related symptoms are made to wait an hour (plus) in the waiting room in the emergency room.
  2. Why patients on a “cardiac diet” are fed cheese sandwiches, lasagna, and other such things in hospitals.
  3. Why a cardiologists’ office serves pizza (ESPECIALLY after a stress test).
  4. Why the nurses and technicians in hospitals wake the patients up every 2-4 hours to take their blood pressure, etc.

I’ll expand further on each of the above statements, but don’t you find each of them absolutely ridiculous and hypocritical?

Statement One: Why patients with heart related symptoms are made to wait an hour (plus) in the waiting room in the emergency room.

This past Tuesday my dad went to the emergency room because he felt tightness in his chest (he had a heart attack in 2005 so of course it was a concern for all of us). We sat in the waiting room for atleast an hour and a half (probably even more) before we were finally taken back into the emergency room. Another 30+ minutes later, he was finally seen by a doctor.

A chest x-ray, blood test, and 2 EKG’s later to see if it was indeed heart related we were told that the tests would need to be done several times (one at about each eight hour interval) because just one or two times would be inconclusive. If that’s the case, it brings me back to my original question of WHY they take so long in the first place.

I would assume, and rightfully so I think, that if the symptoms indicate that the problem is heart related, immediate action would be taken. I had always assumed that the emergency room was ordered based on the urgency of the situations, but apparently not based on what I saw.

Not surprisingly, my dad was hospitalized — for two days.

This wasn’t the first time, unfortunately, we had to to wait way too long for something that could have potentially been serious (but thankfully was not) — it happened to my mom in 2008 as well.

Statement Two: Why patients on a “cardiac diet” are fed cheese sandwiches, lasagna, and other such things in hospitals.

I’ve noticed this happen before as well, but at the same as I talk about above — I went to ask the nurse if my dad could have something to eat since he hadn’t had anything to eat for several hours (he had came straight from work to the hospital). The nurse told me he would ask my dad’s doctor and let me know. Can you imagine how surprised I was when the technician came back sometime later and told us that my dad was being put on a cardiac diet for now and asked if a cheese sandwich would be okay when we told him he could eat halal food (kosher-like) or vegetarian.

What part of a sandwich with two cheese slices fits into a cardiac diet? How does that even make sense?

The next day he had vegetarian lasagna (again with lots of cheese) for lunch. Oh, and with each meal came a roll with BUTTER. I can’t recall exactly what else he ate during his hospital stay, but a lot of them sure were questionable. When did a cardiac diet come to mean that only the salt quantity needs to be controlled?

Part Two to come soon.  Update: You can read Part Two by clicking here.

P.S. Don’t forget to leave me a comment below on your thoughts! As always, I’d love to hear from you.

I Hate Being Sick

You know what’s worse than being sick for about two weeks? Spending about eight hours in the emergency room while feeling miserable!

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – nurses – my god, are they the most patient people or what? I don’t know how they do it. I’m a fairly impatient and stubborn person as it, and to throw in the usual crankiness that comes with being sick… and to multiply that with however many patients the nurses are dealing with at a time…. my goodness.

On Eid, I woke up with a little sore throat that progressively got worse and then I developed a cold (runny nose, sneezing, coughing, the works) from that. That, as annoying as it is to be sick, was manageable with plenty of soup and liquids.

Unfortunately, a few days later it turned into a nasty viral. I went to the doctor’s on Tuesday last week and was told if it didn’t get better within 24 hours, I need to head to the E.R. Well, I waited over 48 hours and then bright and early on Thursday morning headed to the emergency room.

An I.V plus three shots via the IV line, a couple of tests and over eight hours later I made my way back home.

The last week for me has comprised mostly of sleep, plenty of rest, and LOTS of liquids… and fortunately, I feel so much better (just not completely fine yet).

Now, if I could just get rid of this cough too…

P.S. Don’t forget to leave me a comment below on your thoughts! As always, I’d love to hear from you.

Rant

What a week! Actually, January in general has been a-not-so-great month for us.

But first of all, I want to wish my brother, Ayaz, a very happy 24th birthday!

January 1st – on the way back from my cousin’s house after his anniversary party, we barely avoided what could have been a very horrendous accident, which I still can’t believe we were able to escape – thank goodness!

On the 2nd, my grandfather fell and hurt his leg… and then just now, we found out that our grandfather’s foot is actually fractured! When he fell about two weeks ago, he had an x-ray at the hospital (which came out clear), but then had an MRI this week – which just revealed the fracture.

My mom was in the hospital earlier this week from Monday morning to Tuesday night, which was an ordeal in itself. My mom didn’t finally get a room until about over 12 hours later and then would you believe the hospital personnel decided at 2 AM that I couldn’t stay in the hospital with my mom overnight? I have ALWAYS stayed with my mom every time she is admitted, so I found it a little ridiculous… especially after the long day we just had! But I have to give credit to the nurses – they are absolutely amazing, and I can’t even imagine how they do this day in and day out.. and especially the amount of patience they have!

It was quite a shock to me that, considering my mom went to the E.R. for chest pain and shortness of breath, she still had to wait in the waiting room for like 3 or more hours before she was actually taken to the emergency room to be seen by the doctors and what not. You would think a patient going in for chest pains would be immediately checked out because of the dangers of heart-related problems. Undoubtedly, the population is rapidly growing and therefore there are a lot more patients, but it’s still interesting to note – and a bit worrisome. Fortunately, after MANY tests it didn’t look like it was anything serious (though I think not being able to figure out what’s wrong is even worse in some situations) in my mom’s situation – but what about the other patients?

I wish the rest of the year runs a lot smoother than the month of January has so far!

Tuesday is the first day of classes for the spring semester (which I’ll be missing because it’s also inauguration day and when Barack Obama will officially be the President of the United States). I can’t believe how fast my break flew by (and of course, I got like absolutely no studying done for the LSATs! :/ )

I didn’t get much time to just relax this break, which is definitely a bummer.. and I’m not looking forward to most of my classes for the coming semester either because they seem pretty boring, but I guess I’ll see how they turn out.

E.R.

Hospitals. Ugh. I hate them.

Monday evening, my mom was hospitalized for a pretty severe asthma attack and although she started receiving treatment right off the bat in the emergency room, we had to wait over six hours before she was seen by the doctor. Not only that, but the sight was shocking – patients were laying around in the lobbies and hallways and basically anywhere the beds were able to roll. I have to admit that I was pretty surprised to see that in New Jersey.

But what matters is the care my mom received in the hospital.. and fortunately she received pretty good care. Overall, the nurses and doctors were really nice and took pretty good care of my mom… but of course nothing beats being home.

At this point I have been up for well over 48 hours and I am exhausted (Monday night my brothers and I got home from the hospital really late and then I couldn’t sleep because I am a worry-wart and then last night I stayed in the hospital with my mom). Throughout the night, I felt like every five minutes a nurse, an aide, or someone would come in to do one thing or another. But, my god, I have to give them credit for their patience and the way they carry themselves. I know there is no way I would be able to do what they do day in and day out. Throughout the day, considering it was the summer, many student doctors would be coming in and out and it was interesting to see the contrast between them and practiced doctors.