Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Lost without Lists

Today I find myself revisiting  Packing for Hospital as I prepare for another overnight stay in hospital while undergoing more tests.  I have known this was coming since the iron infusion but infusion was so successful, I have been living a bit of the high life while I can!

The last weekend was a 'biggie' cramming in a number of activities and now I am feeling it. Last night I was too tired to think clearly so it was so convenient to have my packing list already made here on Lupey Loops but I discovered some details that weren't on the list so I will add them here.

I have special dietary needs and I cannot always trust the hospital to meet those needs so I like to pack my own 'emergency' food kit for those times when one is screaming hungry and the food trolley is hours away.

This is what I packed today:

Lactose-free yoghurt (with a spoon)
Lactose-free pikelets (home-made)
Serve of maple syrup (in a tiny jam jar)
Sachet of jam or honey
muesli bars
fresh fruit
lollies (for over-riding foul-tasting medicines)
herbal teas
Lactose-free biscuit to go with tea
Own fruit juice (no preservatives)

Thank goodness I wrote about Packing for Hospital as I would be lost without a list.

The other most useful lists around my home are my shopping list which lives on the fridge and that grandest list of all: Ravelry!

Whether it is my craft library, my yarn stash, tools or my project queue, this ever-useful online application called Ravelry gets used every day and has changed my life.

Do you keep lists?
How do you keep your thoughts and memos in order?

Well, gotta dash, I hope I will get plenty of crochet time while resting in hospital.
Wish me luck!


  1. Lists are a great thing in my view!!! They help to keep you on track, especially in times of stress don't they. I hope that you will not need your emergency snacks and that all will be well with your hospital visit and the results. Sending you good thoughts and hugs! xx

    1. Thank you for your hugs and good thoughts, Amy! You are right about lists and stress. I did have a stressful day. My surgery got cancelled late in the afternoon along with that of 4 other patients. I now have to wait for a call for the hospital to tell me when the surgery is to be rescheduled. Meanwhile I had been fasting since midnight and nobody put an IV fluid line in and I got progressively dehydrated and ended up with a migraine.

      It is lucky that I had taken my own food because the meal I was offered was so UN-lactose-free: mashed potato, creamed rice, gravy on the meat (I don't do gravy because they often are made with packet mixes which have milk powders and other additives) and to add insult to injury, a tub of vanilla ice cream!! I was stunned, dismayed and livid at the same time.

      I am very thankful that I had my own foods to substitute and that I could come home to my own home cooking and my own bed tonight. Tomorrow is a new day. xxx

  2. Yes I live by lists. Going away for the weekend soon and I have 2 lists - 1 for normal packing and 1 for camping packing. Plus a list of things to do before I go! I hope everything goes well for your hospital stay.

    1. Are those permanent lists, all ready for you to use when the time comes or do you write new lists each time? I keep my hospital list on an index card which lives in the bag.
      I hope your pre-trip 'to do' list is not too long and that you have a lovely time with good weather. Have a fun and safe journey! :-)

  3. I would suggest adding a metal teaspoon to your list, although the taste of melted plastic is so pleasing.....😘

    1. Hahaha! I thought of you - the nurse brought me a cup of tea and she had one of those plastic spoons sitting in it! I took it out immediately (it had already started to melt) and told her not to put plastic spoons into hot drinks. I wasn't impressed because it showed she wasn't thinking about what she was doing - why would a tea with no milk or sugar need a spoon at all??? I did not drink that tea.

  4. I really hope all goes well with your hospital visit! Lists are a must around here, that and my phone calendar alarms! It's when you forget to look at the lists that the problem comes ;-) Hugs. xx

    1. Yes, indeed! Lists, diaries, phones etc. are only good if we get into the habit of checking them! :-)
      It is interesting to discover all the different organisational methods that people use and it does boil down to the discipline and dedication of the user, no matter which method is chosen.

  5. Hi Jodie, sorry to hear you had to fast and then sent home again..... good job you brought your own things along! It is good to be organized.
    Haha, I didn't realise you are an avid user of ravelry!!! Just added you to my friends. I use it mostly to find new patterns which I had come across elsewhere (blogs, emails, pinterest).

    Hope you have a good weekend!!!
    Ingrid xx

    1. Haha! I didn't know YOU used Ravelry either! Now that is sorted, thank you for reading through the comments as well as the post because that is where I might add extra news etc. and thank you for your commiserations. The food I packed was mainly to cover morning/afternoon tea breaks and breakfast because invariably the tea trolley will only have biscuits and cake. I expect the main meals to be appropriate and healthy, especially after spending two hours the week before in a pre-admission appointment discussing these issues.

      I worry about vulnerable patients who may accept the wrong foods without question such as elderly, those with intellectual disability or any patients who prefer to be passive recipients who trust their doctors and nurses instead of active participants in their care. There are some patients out there who "don't want to know" and just follow instructions blindly.

      Do you know on two occasions the tea lady came and offered me a cup of tea when I was supposed to be fasting? That was because the nurses did not follow procedure with a sign next to my bed. I can imagine a patient thinking "She is offering me a drink, it must be okay to have a drink then" and saying 'yes' not thinking about the complications this could cause in surgery. I have some worrying concerns about things I saw during this hospital stay so I plan to follow them up during the coming week. I do not want to have these things happen again to anyone.

  6. I'm back here again, checking my list (checking it twice? haha) on the eve of a rescheduled hospital admission with an update.

    Further to the comments with Ingrid, I did follow up my concerns with my GP and also a phone call to the 'boss' of the ward in which I was staying. I wanted to know about their procedures and processes to find out how it comes to be that a person who is fasting and lactose-intolerant comes to be offered cups of tea and lactose-laden meals along with other issues I witnessed.

    This was the same ward in which I had my iron infusion and the care was second-to-none, so it was rather confusing to have so many concerns during the most recent visit. I wanted to be sure that, on my rescheduled visit, these problems wouldn't occur again. Emotionally, I was averse to even being readmitted there and ready to cancel the treatment altogether despite the difficulties that led me there in the first place.

    So I began with praise for all the good things I saw and then took a problem solving approach.
    The ward/nurse manager listened well as I described my experiences and was equally concerned. We discussed the broader issues of vulnerable patients and the probability of overworked staff and training (budgets are continually being cut back with staff expected to achieve more with less).

    It was a very balanced and constructive conversation and the ward manager promised to follow up the matters. She thanked me for my feedback saying, "You have given me the evidence so I can say to the staff 'See! This is exactly why we have this procedure; this is why we should do it this way'." I get the feeling that there are procedures there, but not always followed but that can give rise to a 'perfect storm' - if no one follows the procedure on every step of the process, something is bound to go wrong.

    Training and communication is the linchpin. It seems a lot of staff had been coming down with the seasonal lurgy so it was common for temporary staff to be called in at the last minute. I suspect this is another potential area where miscommunication can occur - perhaps they arrive late and miss the main handover meetings, people are in a hurry, there are jobs to be done, patient notes do not get read properly or just skimmed or not at all. Every ward or department has its own specialties and cultures. Maybe cultural differences also contribute?

    Training and communication also needs to be applied to the information technology (IT). The explanation for the inappropriate dinner: because I was fasting in the morning, my case was flagged on the 'system' as "fasting". Therefore, no specific meal had been prepared for me. When dinner came, I was offered a standard issue meal. Here is an example where black & white computer logic does not take into account the grey areas of the 'real world' and staff need to be trained to flag the computer appropriately for those with special dietary needs.

    If someone is fasting in the morning, and expected to be eating in the evening, they should still have their meal ready for them. I can't understand why I was flagged as 'fasting' on the computer yet the procedure was not followed with the fasting signal at the bedside.

    The main thing is that we have identified failings in the system with evidence. My hope is that these issues will be addressed properly although, for over 20 years, this hospital hasn't been able to get the meal issues right so why expect change now?

    It is more likely to boil down to the human failings of not reading the memo, not prioritising the training, being overworked, tired and just skimming the details and flying by the seats of their pants!

    At the end of the day, as a patient, one needs to be ever vigilant, assertive and have someone independent who can advocate for patient needs for the times when the patient cannot.

    Wish me luck!