What Ever Happened to DIRTFT?

What did ever happen to DIRTFT (Doing It Right The First Time), anyway? So, no quote with this particular post, more of a rant from me on DIRTFT.

It’s been a few days since I have been here, but then it’s been a busy week.  Brenda had her surgery last Monday, and in an earlier post I mentioned how impressed I was with the Canadian medical system. And I was. At first.  But I take that back now. It’s my right to take back my words and to pontificate on what is wrong and how it should be. I pay my taxes just like the next guy or girl, and I am one of the 50 to 52 per cent of eligible BC voters who turned out in the last provincial vote in May 2013 to cast a vote. How sad is that? That means approximately 1.6 million people out of approximately 3.2 million who were eligible voted.  Slightly higher than the 2009 turnout, it is still a lower turnout than was hoped for. Doesn’t anybody care anymore?

Soapbox Cartoon

Before I get onto my soapbox, all of you need to know how proud I am of Brenda and how she handled the surgery and the resulting days post op that we now have behind us. If there was a medal for bravery in the face of all that was going on the last few weeks and days, Brenda would definitely be on the receiving end of it. It started off early this past Monday morning after experiencing a somewhat sleepless night for the two of us. I was up around 4:30 AM and she was not far behind me. Starting off the morning was pretty comical actually, and I was definitely more nervous than she was. You see, for most of you who do not know me, I am going to let you in on one of my deepest, darkest secrets. I have a nervous stomach. Whenever I feel anxious or nervous about something, I can spend countless minutes in the loo. And then just when I feel like I am done, and can get on with my day, well I end up back in there more than two or three times usually. TMI, eh? Well last Monday was like that, with Brenda waiting patiently while I made a few of those visits. The good news is that once we were finally able to get on our way and get out the door we were on time for the hospital.

Wrong is Wrong

In an earlier post when I talked about Brenda’s surgeon, I mentioned that I liked him and I thought his casual manner was professional and caring. And I still do. But there were still some things that kind of irked Brenda at the meeting, and now that she has had the surgery, I am tending to agree. At the original meeting,  the surgeon asked about any allergies she may have, and although it was clearly stated on the pre interview documents that we filled out prior to meeting him, he still asked. She has a reaction to the standard plastic medical tape they use, and so needs to have the paper tape rather than the plastic tape. Tylenol 3 is a problem for her as well in that it causes her to hallucinate. Doesn’t anybody read the paperwork?

Doctor Cartoon

So we got to the hospital, and parked the truck in one of the free parking zones a couple of blocks away. Brenda is rather frugal that way, and although I would have rather parked in the parkade and paid the resultant exorbitant fees, I think that the short walk was good for her and gave her time to think things through. The admitting department was OK for the most part, except for the fact that they couldn’t find her in their system. That was the first red flag. When they finally did find her …  whew … the usual normal questions were asked, the wrist bracelets were put on her wrist showing that she was allergic to Tylenol 3 and the plastic medical tape, and then we were sent off to the nuclear medicine department for the fine wire guidance system they had to put in her right breast. The one thing I have not mentioned here before, was that the tumor in her breast was deep inside, and they needed to do an ultra sound and mammogram to locate and pinpoint the exact location so they could freeze her locally and insert the fine wire to guide the surgeon to the exact spot. Actually, the lump she had felt prior to getting the original mammogram that started this entire process, was actually her inflamed lymph node, so the surgeon arranged for the fine wire to be put in. I must say that concerned me a bit, knowing that her first indication that there may be a problem was her feeling her inflamed lymph node.

X-Ray Cartoon

After checking in at the nuclear medicine department, we were instructed to sit in an area nearby, and we sat, and we sat, and we awaited, and we waited. It wasn’t until Brenda went over to reception to ask, that they figured out that we were instructed to wait in the wrong area. Hmmm, this wasn’t going well at this point. We were finally rescued and taken to the correct area so that Brenda could have her ultrasound and mammogram and the wire put in. That was finally done and we were without incident until we went to the pre-op waiting room. In the waiting room at pre-op, the nursing staff took great pains to explain the process and she had a visit from the Anaesthesiologist as well. The one thing that also upset me here, was the fact that Brenda had these wrist bands put on in admitting, and there was not one instance where the any of the staff checked her wrist bands to see what may be on them. There was at least a couple of times where the nursing staff asked her about allergies, and in all instances rather than read her charts or look at the wrist bands, they had to be reminded as to what was on them. What did ever happen to DIRTFT anyway?

Medical Tape Cartoon

So, we get home after surgery, and although Brenda was tired and slept a lot as a result of getting the anaesthesia out of her system. she did amazingly well. She did notice some itchiness near the surgery site a couple of days after surgery, but we figured it was most likely due to healing. The home care nurse came to visit her a couple of days later, and when she changed the dressing, guess what she found? Yup. The itchiness was caused by, you guessed it, the wrong medical tape! Read the wristbands, people! DIRTFT. Such a simple phrase. And it could have all been avoided with somebody reading the wristband on Brenda’s wrist. I think they just get into a routine and nobody pays proper attention. At least all that happened was the wrong tape was used, it certainly could have been worse.

Anyway, the surgery went as well as can be expected, and the surgeon did a partial mastectomy or lumpectomy as it is sometimes also referred to. They also had to remove 10 of Brenda’s lymph nodes, and a follow up with the surgeon will be on Tuesday, December 17th, where we find out what sort of prognosis and follow up radiation and chemo treatments will be required. Thanks to so many of you for the prayers and good wishes. Believe me, they do not go unnoticed, and Brenda has been very touched by the words and wishes of many of you. Thank you.

Well, this post has taken me the better part of the week to write, and I am still not happy with it. I’ve had a bit of self imposed writers block due to all that has gone on this week. There has been so much going on here and with year end at work, it has been hard for me to find the time to write. Plus, this week I have been reading some absolutely phenomenal posts from several of the WordPress bloggers I have started to follow, and believe me most of them are an extremely hard act to follow. I promise to do better next time. All for now, until later ….

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9 thoughts on “What Ever Happened to DIRTFT?

    • Thanks, Theresa. Unfortunately this latest post of mine came across somewhat negative, but that is the mood that I was in most of this past week. There were some positives this past week as well, calls from some friends and family, an annual Christmas breakfast with good friends on Sunday morning, the “Singing Christmas Tree” concert on Sunday afternoon with more friends. You have gently reminded me to look for the positive, no matter what, so thank you …

  1. I hope Brenda continues to recover from the surgery.

    Ah computers, computers,.. don’t get me started!,…as a health professional myself, they are the bane of our lives. Are we the only industry where they have not improved patient care/ customer service , at all, all that has happened is that everything takes longer because ” it has to be put on the computer” Which as you discovered, is too lengthy or inaccurate (which is why if the patient is conscious you ask them not the wristband!) to consult anyway…quicker and safer to ask the patient. What was wrong with a good old fashioned diary for admissions and appointments? quick and simple…. and the irony is that we often have written records as well “just in case the computer crashes”!!!!

    As to writers block…well I had several periods of writers block during a similar time. I think some of it was that I was just too worried and living day to day, that I couldn’t think about anything else but cancercancercancer! and also I would read other peoples blogs, who seemed to express themselves much better than I did (including yours!) and I was intimidated by this at one point. It doesn’t matter. This is YOUR blog, it’s not a competition. Write for yourself not an audience.

    You gave me a laugh with your cartoon about fixing the broken rib with photoshop! Thanks.

    Love Denise

    As to

    • You are right of course, regarding the wrist bands, but they still did use the incorrect tape on the dressing after the surgery. As always, thanks for your note, Denise, and I am pleased that you managed to find what little humor that was in the entry. Hope you and Michael are doing well!

  2. Oh I am so sad that the staff didn’t pay attention to her allergies and that you had wait in the wrong waiting room! You have to be so on top of everything ~ thank goodness you are there with Brenda b/c you need to be her eyes and ears at all times!

    • Yes … And we have been finding that out as we move through all of this together. It irks me that they take ALL of this information and then nobody bothers to read the wrist band or check the forms that we have painstakingly filled out! It has definitely made us more aware that we need to be together to ensure that we hear and process the information received on these appointments. Thanks for your support, it means a lot … 🙂

      • I’m here ~ been there, experienced that and there are some tips to making life easier for you both. Let me know if I can help in any way. I’ve got my hand out-tell Brenda, she’s not alone and neither are you!

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