Beg for Water and Drink Germs


So here I still am in Crouse Hospital on Alternative Level of Care which gets me one doctor visit per week. Except that two weeks ago someone sent me a connection to something about Chronic Fatigue Immune Deficiency Syndrome (CFIDS), an illness that I have. I’ve been doing research—lots of research—most particularly to find a physician who has diagnosed or treated the illness. So far I haven’t found anyone. No local physician appears to know what the disease is.

So a friend who is a physician said it’s a neuroimmune illness and since there is no available immunologist, maybe I should look for a neurologist. I found a neurologist at Upstate Medical Center who specializes in multiple sclerosis (which is very similar to CFIDS) and neuroimmunology, so I sent him an email to which he did not respond. My next step was to ask “my” physician to reach out to the Upstate physician.

So this morning I asked to speak to “my” physician. Instead of getting the physician, Nurse Emily came in and told me that he will only see me once a week and it either can be today or not until Saturday, his last day in rotation. (Crouse uses hospitalists who change off every week.)

Today was a bad day with the CFIDS. I ached all over, was depressed, had nausea, and my brain wasn’t processing very well. I was shocked by the information that I couldn’t speak to the doctor. What was I to do? Did I need to see him today or would I need him for something more important later? Was there another way to get the contact I needed? I didn’t know and I couldn’t think so I told Nurse Emily that I had no response at this time.

And Nurse Emily demanded that I give her a yes or no answer. Had Nurse Emily been smarter or more experienced or simply nicer then she would have taken my “no response at this time” and given it to the doctor, but Nurse Emily is a nasty little snot who decided, first, that she didn’t like my answer and, second, that she had the right to demand a different answer.

Nurse Emily demanded and bullied me. Nurse Emily raised her voice, got belligerent, and upset me a lot when I was having a particularly sick day. I give all nurses—not to mention all human beings—a certain amount of respect when I meet them based solely on their humanness, but by the time Emily had flounced out of my room in high dudgeon, she had wasted all the respect that she had been given as a human being and she had not earned any on her own.

Sometime after Emily had left the room, I discovered that I had no water left. Since I put out three or four times as much urine as most people, I need three or four times as much to drink as most people—but I had nothing. So I pressed my call bell, Emily came in, and I asked for water.

And Emily demanded that I say “please” or she wouldn’t get it.

She then proceeded to lecture me on how she should be treated with respect. Emily had already burned that bridge with her previous bad behavior, but her nurse manager also previously had put into writing that I have to treat the nurses with respect. Fact: some nurses are rude children who have no idea what respect means. They think it means getting their own way. People like Emily make no distinction between earning respect and demanding submission. What they want is power, and they abuse it.

In the little conversation that Emily and I had, I pointed out to her that keeping the patients supplied with water was part of her job, and she gets paid for doing her job. What I did not tell her was that I automatically say “please” when I’m talking to a nice nurse, and intuitively did not say please to her because she’s not nice and she made me feel defensive.

Emily’s final announcement before she flounced out of the room was that she ‘would go work with patients who appreciated her.’ She left me bed ridden and without liquids.

I called the director of Patient & Guest Relations (PGR) but only got voice mail. I asked the operator for the general number for PGR but again got voice mail. The voice mail directed me to ask the operator for the nursing supervisor, which I did. The operator kept me on the line and repeatedly asked me to “hold on” “hold on,” “hold on,” which I did until she transferred me to another voice mail, this one for Nurse Manager Colleen.

I did not need or want the nurse manager, and I knew that Colleen was not the nurse manager for my unit. I again asked the operator to connect me with the nursing supervisor, which she again did not do, telling me that Colleen was taking calls—which she was not; she was letting calls go to voice mail—and that the nurse manager for my unit was not in.

By now, three things had happened: the telephone cord had knocked the empty water pitcher onto the floor, I had become frustrated to tears, and it had become time for my 2:00 p.m. medication.

Emily walked into the room, handed me my pills, picked the water pitcher up off the floor, filled it, and handed it to me.

There is no five-second rule in this or any other hospital. If anything hits the floor then it is immediately thrown in the trash or put in the laundry. Nothing is used in patient-care once it’s hit the floor—unless you are Emily and you care more about forcing the patient to submit and less about maintaining the patient’s health and safety. Then sterile procedures go out the window.

So here I still am in Crouse Hospital after 70 days and I strongly recommend that you never come here. The nurses are not under management control.

About annecwoodlen

I am a tenth generation American, descended from a family that has been working a farm that was deeded to us by William Penn. The country has changed around us but we have held true. I stand in my grandmother’s kitchen, look down the valley to her brother’s farm and see my great-great-great-great-great-grandmother Hannah standing on the porch. She is holding the baby, surrounded by four other children, and saying goodbye to her husband and oldest son who are going off to fight in the Revolutionary War. The war is twenty miles away and her husband will die fighting. We are not the Daughters of the American Revolution; we were its mothers. My father, Milton C. Woodlen, got his doctorate from Temple University in the 1940’s when—in his words—“a doctorate still meant something.” He became an education professor at West Chester State Teachers College, where my mother, Elizabeth Hope Copeland, had graduated. My mother raised four girls and one boy, of which I am the middle child. My parents are deceased and my siblings are estranged. My fiancé, Robert H. Dobrow, was a fighter pilot in the Marine Corps. In 1974, his plane crashed, his parachute did not open, and we buried him in a cemetery on Long Island. I could say a great deal about him, or nothing; there is no middle ground. I have loved other men; Bob was my soul mate. The single greatest determinate of who I am and what my life has been is that I inherited my father’s gene for bipolar disorder, type II. Associated with all bipolar disorders is executive dysfunction, a learning disability that interferes with the ability to sort and organize. Despite an I.Q. of 139, I failed twelve subjects and got expelled from high school and prep school. I attended Syracuse University and Onondaga Community College and got an associate’s degree after twenty-five years. I am nothing if not tenacious. Gifted with intelligence, constrained by disability, and compromised by depression, my employment was limited to entry level jobs. Being female in the 1960’s meant that I did office work—billing at the university library, calling out telegrams at Western Union, and filing papers at a law firm. During one decade, I worked at about a hundred different places as a temporary secretary. I worked for hospitals, banks, manufacturers and others, including the county government. I quit the District Attorney’s Office to manage a gas station; it was more honest work. After Bob’s death, I started taking antidepressants. Following doctor’s orders, I took them every day for twenty-six years. During that time, I attempted%2
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8 Responses to Beg for Water and Drink Germs

  1. Nancy says:

    You are more likely to get help from a rheumatologist than a neurologist.

    • annecwoodlen says:

      Nancy, I’ve tried multiple rheumatologists. The last one had never diagnosed or treated CFIDS. The one before that won’t see me in the hospital. The one before that was a dinosaur doctor who said the tests were normal and there was nothing wrong with me.

  2. FED UP!!!! says:

    Nurse Emily should be fired…you shouldn’t have to be treated like that, I am so sorry for what they are doing to you. You are so right on this one! I can’t believe she gave you a water pitcher that had been on the floor…ughh!!! That goes against everything they were taught in nursing school….shame on Crouse!!! i wish there was something I could do for you…i will pray for you and hope you find some answers or at least a doctor to help you. Again, I am sorry…Keep figh
    ting the fight!!

  3. Jack Joe says:

    Becky Stone…
    you need a dip in the pool of compasion.. a mud bath in empathy.. and a long swim in the fountain of humanity since you have an obvious feeling of being better than others.
    We shall all live and at some pint die. Hopefully both with some degree of basic kindness.

    her comment may be disgusting Anne..
    But You are wonderful.
    Please know those kind of meanies don’t make up the world in general. I’m also sorry to hear about the recent medication problems.

    • annecwoodlen says:

      Thank you, Jack Joe, for your compassion–particularly for Becky Stone. Creflo Dollar preached yesterday about “the problem and the promise.” I will try to leave the problems behind and focus on the promise.

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