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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Pre-Surgery Day-Checkin' In

As I mentioned in my last post, I knew I was going to be placed in a ward somewhere in the new McCaig tower, on the Foothills Hospital campus. It's a new building that opened late last year, located behind the main medical centre building. Because of its "newness" it was difficult, if not impossible to find a map of the campus online that reflected its location. I knew however that there was a bridge linking the main building to it via the third floor thanks to "Sally" who had visited a sick brother just days before. She had opted to share the info with me "just in case it came in handy". Boy did it ever. You'd kind of think those instructions would come with the admitting info....

I followed the signs from the third floor and weaved my way over to the new building. I should note that the reason I was being put in that building was to keep me "separate" from anyone involved in my donation for privacy reasons prior to the surgery. I was fully aware that would happen as this is normal protocol in Canada (and many US hospitals) currently involved in non-directed donation. Anyway the new building still had that "new car smell" and was very modern-especially in contrast to the dated 60's style of the main building. It reminded me of a trendy hotel. I made my way to the lobby of the building (which had a decorative fire wall...nice touch) and found the admitting area. What was really surprising was how empty the place was.  Mid after noon and there wasn't a soul waiting to speak to anyone at the info desk or admitting,.  In fact I could only see 3 people, including the girl at the admitting window. A big difference from the zoo-like quality of most hospitals, including the building I had just come from where the line up for the six elevators was about six people deep. It was a little surreal how quiet it was.

The admitting lady took my information, made me sign a few forms and asked me if I wanted a private, semi private or multi patient room. I wasn't sure what I'd be covered for but I decided the $47 a night for the Private room, even if I ended up paying full price for it, would be worth it for the privacy factor.  I remembered another donor I recently had spoken to who mentioned her semi-private "room-mate" spend three days attempting to cough up a lung. My choice ended up being highly worth it although I have nothing to compare it to really.

I was directed to take my file and suitcase up to the fourth floor and find my specific unit. It was very "Do It Yourself" health care. I was lucky to end up in the elevator with a visiting nurse on mat leave and her baby who were heading there. Between the two of us we managed to find out way. I presented myself at the nurses station. They took my file and let me know my nurse would come and get me soon. About five minutes later she showed up, gave me a quick tour of the floor (I found out I was in a lock down trauma ward) and took me to my room.

The room looked like a nice hotel room, albeit with a lot of medical equipment and plug ins. There was a bed, a couch and a chair as well as a large closet and bedside table. The room had a large window with a  westward view, towards the mountains-it would have been spectacular if it hadn't been so overcast. There were two doors to the room as I guess it is a quarantine room when they need if if someone comes in with some kind of infectious disease. She showed me around my new digs-she was a bit rushed, explaining it was almost shift change and she needed to get her charting done. Another nurse appeared with a confidentiality pamphlet I needed to sign.  We'll get to that in another post. My nurse and I had a quick, strained conversation about the pamphlet which I then signed.

Satisfied that I knew all I needed to know, she mentioned I'd have some tests coming up and that I could push the nurse button if I needed anything. Off she went.  I sat down on the couch, suddenly feeling very alone and thought "Now what??".

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