"Why Didn't I Take the Day Off? Raylene Update"

My Crash Test Wifey!

God what a night! After Raylene’s  ‘playground accident’ and subsequent four hour ER experience I had a hell of a time falling asleep! I was pretty wound up and didn’t get to bed until around 1:30AM and didn’t actually fall  asleep until nearly 4 AM.  Try as I might I just couldn’t get Ray’s slide incident out of my head. I kept rerunning it over and over again complete with sound effects! Yeah I’ll probably never forget the sound of breaking bones!

At 7:50 AM the phone woke me from a restless sleep. It was Kaiser informing us that Ray’s surgery would take place today.(Thursday)  Thank God, the sooner the better. I just couldn’t imagine having to wait until next week  for the surgery. Check in time was 10 AM and we arrived with 20 minutes to spare. you would think that would have been plenty of time, but of course it wasn’t. I parked in front of the hospital and got out to get Ray a wheelchair. Would you believe there weren’t any? That’s right there wasn’t a single wheelchair to be had!

I mean what’s wrong with this picture? You’ve got patients arriving for surgery or other treatments who cannot walk into the hospital under their own power, Surely a large organization like Kaiser Permanente would see to it that there would be enough wheelchairs to accommodate all of their patients but apparently not. The area where wheelchairs are supposed to be available was completely empty. I went into the hospital and spoke to a woman in Patient Relations and was told that she was aware of the situation and had just gotten off the phone requesting wheelchairs. But unfortunately it usually took 30 minutes or more for orderlies to gather them and make them available.

WTF? I was blown away! I told her my wife was scheduled for surgery in less than 20 minutes and had a cast on her leg so what was she to do, hop all the way to the 2nd floor? She apologized and suggested I go around the hospital searching for a chair myself. Really? Can you believe that?

How in the hell can a hospital like Kaiser not have enough wheelchairs available for arriving patients scheduled for surgery that need assistance. I just couldn’t believe it! With no other recourse I went up to the 2nd floor searching for a wheelchair. After about 10 minutes without finding a single chair I returned to the car where Ray was getting a little upset about the whole situation. Fortunately I found a nurse who was transporting a patient to a waiting car and she was able to assist us. She wasn’t able to simply give us the wheelchair but she said she could take my wife to the 2nd floor and drop her off.  That was fine with us so she took Ray and I got back in the car  and drove to the parking garage. With the nurses assistance Ray made it to check in with a few minutes to spare.

I tell you this mornings hospital experience was off to a terrible start and only got worse.  It took me nearly 15 minutes to find a parking space out in the north forty beyond the parking structure! Again how can an organization like Kaiser have a parking problem this bad? Didn’t they anticipate how busy this hospital was going to be when they were building it. Talk about poor planning. Supposedly they’re looking for an off site location to build another parking garage and shuttle patients to and from the hospital. Terrific! They probably won’t have enough damn shuttles.

Okay enough already with the bitching and moaning. The rest of the day went exceptionally well. We couldn’t have been more pleased with the treatment Raylene received. Although we were told to be there by 10 AM we knew that they were working her into Thursday’s surgery schedule so we might have to wait awhile. As it turned out they took her into pre-op at about 11:30 AM where we met at length with the surgeon and the anesthesiologist. I  couldn’t believe how much time they spent with us explaining things and answering questions, it was pretty impressive. Both doctors had incredible bedside manner. They wheeled Ray into surgery around 12:30 PM. Our good friend Karvel had come by the hospital and joined us in pre-op so She and I went out into the lobby to wait. My son Alan later joined us.

At 4:05 the doctor came out to the waiting room to let us know that the surgery was complete and had gone well. He went over what he’d done to make the necessary repairs. It was pretty much exactly what he had told us he was going to do in pre-op. The only exception was in the way he had repaired her broken fibula. Because of the procedure he used he felt that it would be better for Ray to wear her cast an additional two weeks. We thanked him and waited for Raylene to come around.  About an hour later she was awake and Alan and I went back to recovery to greet her. She was doing well and looked good for someone who had just undergone a 3 hour plus surgery. An hour or so later we were out the door and on our way home.

I have to tell you I couldn’t have been more pleased with the treatment Ray received at Kaiser Permenente. The quality of service was outstanding. While in the Waiting Room I had the opportunity to see several different doctors come out and meet with family members. The way they interacted with the families was absolutely incredible! They were all as patient and kind as Ray’s doctor, even one doctor who had just finished a 7 hour surgery. He sat with the family for nearly 20 minutes. I can certainly see why Kaiser is the model for the health care industry. The quality of care and concern of the doctors, nurses and support staff  was superb! It completely made me forget and forgive them for their wheelchair and parking issues. Okay maybe not completely. They still need to work on those things.

Raylene had a very pleasant evening and slept well. As of this afternoon (Friday) she was feeling pretty well. She is having some pain, but according to her it’s manageable. Yeah, I suppose so, especially when you’ve got good pain meds! Just kidding. She doesn’t really like taking pain medication, only as a last resort. She has a very high tolerance for pain, but then she’s been married to me for 40 years, what else would you expect!

Thanks for all the love, support and prayers!




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