HodgePodge: Hospital holiday

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HodgePodge: Hospital holiday

By Charlie Hodge.

I hope ‘Nicholas’ finally escaped.

If he hasn’t managed to break his shackles of intervenes tubes and medical monitoring machines yet I have full confidence it will only be a matter of time. One thing I learned during my five days of hanging out with the elderly Croatian – he’s a feisty, determined ole guy who does not take to being told ‘no’ well.

During my forced stay at Hotel Hospital (aka Kelowna General) last week Nicholas was my roommate and main source of entertainment. We shared the end of the room in a four-bed suite, thankfully with a window view (of a wall).

Most of the time Nicholas was either fairly medicated or simply dealing with other cognitive issues. Regardless the reason after two days of good behaviour a flustered and frustrated Nicholas decided enough was enough and that home was a better place to be. More than a dozen times Nick took advantage of the night shift (low lights and sleeping roommates) to get dressed (though not always) and attempt to escape. I was awake most of those times so played quiet witness in the corner. Seems the nurses had other thoughts on Nicki’s escape. The ongoing catch and release scenario continued on and on.

I only ratted on him twice. Once when I saw him attempting to leave while still plugged in to all his tubes. I pushed the night buzzer and the nurses responded quick enough to stop a potentially nasty scenario.

The second time I ratted was when it dawned on me he may have actually succeeded since he’d been gone much longer than normal. Sure enough Nicholas had made it all the way to the elevator.

Obviously Nicholas forgave me. On night four he woke me up around 4 a.m. banging the bottom of my bed to wake me.
“Hey Nicki, what’s up,” I asked wiping my crusty eyes.
“Come on get up, let’s get the car out of the garage. Your driving,” he said in his thick accent, dangling a set of keys in his hand. That’s when the nurse walked in and scolded both of us. Thanks Nick.

I can hardly blame Nick for his desire to escape. It was all I could think about from the moment I was admitted. I’d checked in with my lung specialist on Saturday moaning about my lungs hurting more than normal from my emphysema. He ordered blood tests and some imaging scans. Tez and I were anticipating a few antibiotics at the worst or perhaps a lecture about being a wimp, but Dr. (God) McCauley had other news.

“You have full blown pneumonia, loaded with it. I am admitting you right now,” he said trying to look as ferocious as possible for a gentle bear.

“But I want to go ho…,” I started to protest.

“You are not going home. If you go home you will die and that is not happening on my watch. Be a good boy and do as you are told,” he smirked.

I learned a long time ago not to argue too much with the good doctor.

Like most folks, I hate hospitals. That said I have a tremendously huge respect and praise for the nurses and doctors that work in our local hospital. I’ve spent significant time there during the past four years and with the exception of one or two memorable nasty, miserable sorts – the staff have been awesome. Different floors and wards have their own sort of ambience and staff attitude – no question, however clearly the dedication and desire to help others is impressive. I also have full praise for those working in the respiratory field, and the many specialists that have kept me alive.

So McCauley analyzed my scenario, prescribed the right solution, and the marvels of modern medicine kicked in. Despite his effort though two key factors worked against quicker healing: lack of sleep and horrible food.

A room (or ward) of moaning, screaming patients is not conducive to sound sleep.

While thankful I’m still alive and can eat without a feeding tube (considering where I was two years ago), there’s no way one can improve their health eating hospital food. Twice they served me mushrooms though I’m allergic and three times they served me food that need teeth to eat – knowing I have none.

I’m not sure what the answer is and understand the complications of feeding so many patients, however it’s difficult to comprehend how patients can heal without proper diet.

After six days of being locked in not-so-solitary confinement I was set free of my four-room suite and sent home. Consensus was that since I was no longer on intervenes that I was better off at home in my own bed eating real food.

My bed and stove have never seemed so wonderful. Home sweet home indeed.

I hope Nicholas gets to see his home soon as well. Go Nicki go!

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Charlie Hodge is a best-selling author, writer, a current Kelowna City Councillor, and a Director on the Regional District of the Central Okanagan Board. He spent more than 25 years as a full-time newspaper journalist and has a diverse background in public relations, promotions, personal coaching, and strategic planning. A former managing editor, assistant editor, sports editor, entertainment editor, journalist, and photographer, Hodge also co-hosted a variety of radio talk shows and still writes a regular weekly newspaper column titled Hodge Podge, which he has crafted now for 41 years. His biography on Howie Meeker, titled Golly Gee It’s Me is a Canadian bestseller and his second book, Stop It There, Back It Up – 50 Years of the NHL garnered lots of attention from media and hockey fans alike. Charlie is currently working on a third hockey book, as well as a contracted historical/fiction novel. His creative promotional skills and strategic planning have been utilized for many years in the Canadian music industry, provincial, national, and international environmental fields, and municipal, provincial, and federal politics. Charlie is a skilled facilitator, a dynamic motivational speaker, and effective personal coach. His hobbies include gardening, canoeing, playing pool, and writing music. Charlie shares his Okanagan home with wife Teresa and five spoiled cats.

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