Karen Answers Sharon

Comment by Sharon on September 26, 2008 2:29 pm

Hi Karen,

Can you tell me more about the hospital stay written in the prologue? How long were you in the hospital three or six weeks? While you were hospitalized what went through your mind as you lay there? How sick were you? Were you in pain? Were the nurses attentive? I would like to know more about what you believe was going on with yourself? The book was great, and your story was written in detail. I am a nurse and as I read this book I felt enough compassion to ask these questions. I would like to learn how well the staff at the hospital had taken care of you? Actually, I think I may have been one of your nurses? If you were, we had many conversations; the staff wasn’t all that great and your answer will provide me with peace. Thank you for your time.

Sharon

Dear Sharon,

Thank you for asking this question. I was a patient for six weeks, minus two days, at which time I signed myself out after becoming frustrated with the way things were going. I was in severe pain, but because I was dissociating, I couldn’t describe or show it. This caused the medical staff to disbelieve the severity of my pain. How could they respond to someone who couldn’t explain pain? How could they treat me when I didn’t share the truth about my not knowing who I was?

Once, a nurse told me my pain was normal and from the C-section surgery, but I knew there was more. Then one day, out of my awareness, I spoke firmly to a new internist assigned to my case. I heard the words come out of my mouth, but they weren’t mine. I said, “I am not a hypochondriac. I am in severe pain. My left side is paralyzed… do something, now!” It was this moment that frightened me more than anything, because I wasn’t “there”, but somehow, some part from within me, took charge. I finally was taken seriously by the staff and the tests started rolling. I can’t blame the staff for not being attentive. I couldn’t explain what I did not understand myself.

During this six week hospitalization, I tried my best to gather information from everywhere and from everyone who came into my room. I also learned through the television what was happening in the world. And when I couldn’t explain something, I would stay quiet and pretend to be asleep or say I wasn’t feeling well. To my knowledge, no one suspected anything, except for one nurse. Could this be you? This nurse knew I was pretending to be someone I wasn’t, she suspected I had lost time, and she covered for me and answered my million and one questions. I was blessed whenever she was there. She took great care of me. This nurse became my friend during my stay, and if it weren’t for her, I may not have survived. My doctors treated me well once the tests showed the lung abscess. I was very sick from aspiration pneumonia and had to have surgery to remove part of my lung.

Thank you for your questions, and if you are the nurse who treated me so well, thank you so much!

I hope my answers bring you peace.

Karen

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