Occasionally I wonder what it would be like to be a more simple person — one that did not need to know stuff all the time. One that could live in blissful ignorance.
I wonder what it would be like to not care when people cheat at dog shows, lie on their resume, or submit plagiarized papers.
I wonder what it is like to not feel the need to really understand things when bad stuff happens or to DO SOMETHING in the face of perceived wrongdoing.
But alas, I suspect I will never know the sense of contentment that I imagine comes from not giving shit.
A curious mind and caring heart are sometimes a burden.
My elation at the last-minute reversal of my cardiac fortunes lasted only as long as it took my brain to catch up with things and realize my adventures in heart failure was not caused simply by two transposed values on a report.
Not even close.
It has taken me a great deal of time to sort all this out and it is complicated, but to give you a sense of the issues, this is the final line of an email sent Friday to one of the hospital administrators: “If this were one of my university students, I would be very concerned that there was a cut and paste error involved in all of this...”
And guess what?! It turns out that is actually a real thing! Who knew?! You can read about cut and paste errors in medical records HERE.
I spent two horrible days contemplating my short life expectancy, the loss of my health, the loss of my future, the loss of all that I love and love to do.
Then I sat in nothing but a hospital gown that morning while an insensitive jerk mansplained and all but rolled his eyes because I asked to have ONE SMALL THING be less awful in all of that with the use of buffered lidocaine before IV insertion.
And the absolute and unspeakable relief that I had been right — that there was a mistake — I still have no words for that. How grateful I am to that nurse and the other staff who paid attention and had the humility to understand that mistakes happen in medicine.
I am not upset that the original explanation was transposed numbers — that is where I still extend Grace. The initial belief feels understandable to me because I know the deep dive it has taken to establish that the Theory of Transposition withers in the face of their own documentation.
Like any traumatic event, the reality settles in around me as the giddy joy of survival creates space for other thoughts and feelings.
I have lost trust in professionals who have been so important to me. They should have caught this — no question. What do I do with those broken relationships? How does one grieve loss of faith and comfort and confidence? How do you forgive and build trust again when the betrayal is a professional?
None of this is actually one person’s fault — this was a system failure.
And how are we to trust a health care system that is increasingly not allowing time for providers to ensure their best intentions towards patients can be adequately realized?
But all of that heady awareness doesn’t really change my current reality — that I am one real person living with a system failure that rocked my world.
I am a human being coming down from two days spent terrorized and grieving.
A person trying to sort out what it means that I was literally minutes from an unnecessary and invasive cardiac procedure.
And because of who and what I am, I am overwhelmed by imagining others whose care might be compromised because they are silenced by the hierarchies that still exists in health care or worse — that they are unheard because nobody is actually listening in that so-called patient-centered model.
Overwhelmed. That is the best word to describe how I feel. My mind is just kind of blown. I am overwhelmed by everything.
And so I write. This blog. A detailed summary of the events that will go to the Administration Team tomorrow morning with the request for a meeting. The nomination to give a nurse an award.
I will be okay again but truthfully — right now I am not. That is to be expected, of course. But I trust myself to find “okay” again — after all, I got myself out of an unnecessary cardiac angiogram, didn’t I?