Comedy of Errors – Or Not!

During the past almost eight years, I’ve learned much from hospital experiences. Some things good. Some not so good.

This past week the device that has resided in Hubby’s chest for the past six years was replaced. This is a so-called “simple procedure with an easy recovery.” He is recovering well, but the hospital experience itself was interesting, at best.

Hubby was prepped and ready to roll out to surgery in what he considered to be a very uncomfortable bed (FYI son-in-law, Michael, it was not a Stryker®). The heart surgeon arrived, looked at the chart she was holding, and remarked to him, “I’m looking at your chart here and I don’t understand why we are changing out your device.” Then she quoted to him the device reading from the chart.

Perplexed Hubby, tubes protruding from his body, gave her a puzzled look. Fortunately, the problem was quickly solved when the technician from the device manufacturer gave the surgeon the reading he was getting. Surprised, the doctor looked again at the chart in her hand and exclaimed, “I have the March 2012 report.”


Minutes later, two people arrived to take Hubby to surgery. He (and I) wanted his hearing aids to stay with me for safe keeping. They wanted them left in so they could talk to him. They won.

Now, fast-forward to the waiting room where the heart surgeon is letting me know that all went well and Hubby is being made comfortable. She said someone would let me know when he was settled and I could go to the room. Past experience informed me that this would never happen. So, after ten minutes, I made my way to his room. He was alone, had his covers thrown back, and was desperately searching the bed. Never mind that he wasn’t supposed to be moving around. He could only focus on one thing. His left hearing aid was missing. I rested his head back on the pillow and took over the quest. I was unsuccessful.

The word “distress” can’t begin to describe Hubby’s state of mind. Not only can he now not hear with his left ear, but those tiny devices cost roughly $1,000 an ounce. He dislikes throwing away money.

Eventually, someone arrived from surgery with the hearing aid cradled in a piece of gauze. It seems that at some point during surgery it had fallen out of Hubby’s ear, and was placed on a side counter only to have its existence forgotten.

After a six-hour stay, we were done with the place and prepared for our trip home. The nurse provided discharge papers, we read and signed them, and we departed.

Once home, I realized the discharge papers did not include pain management instructions. However, Hubby was sure I need not worry because, to his surprise and delight, he had no pain. I argued that he was still “under the influence” and proposed getting Extra Strength Tylenol®. He swore he wouldn’t take this medication because he read that it was recalled for some reason. And, of course, he was fine anyway.

Fast-forward once again to 2:00 a.m. Hubby has located the Ibuprofen that hangs around only because it gets an occasional nod from my bad knee. I won’t let him take it and again offer to go to the pharmacy for Tylenol. Once again, he proclaims that he won’t take that medication.

I could have called the heart clinic, but I already have the message memorized. (Paraphrased): Not an emergency – leave name and phone number and the call will be returned during office hours. Emergency – go the hospital emergency room.

Morning arrives and Hubby emails daughter, Joanne, who is a nurse. She assures him that Tylenol is fine and tells him the dosage to take. He obviously trusts her medical advice more than he trusts mine.

Hubby saw his cardiologist today. I knew he would report that everything went fine. I didn’t even ask.

Troublemaker stayed in the waiting room - lips zipped.


  1. At least you can see the comedic side of this. Even though it seems more than a bit frustrating.

    1. I haven't checked but was thinking maybe there was a new moon.