I got this email from Janis today - and was absolutely in tears by the time I was halfway through it. I cannot believe how callously and cruelly they just disregarded anything Janis tried to tell them concerning her husband and his medical history. I was horrified to read about the nurses MOCKING HIM and being mean when he was in pain. HOW DARE THEY TREAT ONE OF MY HEROES THAT WAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I tell you, I'm about ready to get in the car and high-tail it up to WRAMC and KICK SOME NURSE BUTT. Ugh... why do I have to live ten hours away from there?! ACK! Anyway, below is Janis's email.
August 25th, 2006...HUMILIATING A SOLDIER....The surgery went well and our troubles started in the hospital's surgical intensive care unit (SICU). We knew this was going to be very painful and we THOUGHT we were ready....but when I couldn't find Norris after 11 hours of surgery and he wasn't in the recovery room...I went looking. Found him in SICU where I thought he was in the very best of care....all the "team" there were new and no one knew Norris or anything about his injuries. To them, he was just "a gown in a bed"...he was very painful and the anesthesiologist who tried to act like a doctor was worried that his heart rate was 155 to 157. (It stayed like that the first 10 days he was at WRAMC)...My sister said it was most likely his pain level driving up his heart rate. They kept giving him different types of pain killers...Dilaudid, Fentanyl and Tordral.....The room was very hot and Norris was itchy and sweaty and uncomfortable. When I asked where was his chart ....the answer I got surprised me...."We don't have it"....All the anesthesiologist had to go on was "he is OIF and was injured April 19, 2005...that's all he knew about my wounded warrior. So I tried to explain a hundred times what injuries were underneath the gown, but he ignored me totoally.FINALLY they got the pain under control and Norris fell asleep. He was "loopy" and disoriented and couldn't be trusted to answer questions accurately....but still they ignored me. The nurse did the best she could and gave it a valiant effort, but the anesthesiologist kept asking me "what did he do at home? Is he on Methodone? Does he drink? And kept telling me "We never knew he was coming to us"....no excuse. No One EVER raised his gown and looked at his belly. All you can see is a bandage anyway. So my sister Amy and I battled the two "caregivers" all night and finally got the pain level down and all the numbers right...heart rate 114, blood pressure normal, and oxygen level 96 or above....respirations were always fewer than the ideal, but he would fall asleep and not breathe regularly. He does have sleep apnea.I took a shower at Mologne House and called the SICU on the phone....I asked to speak to the supervisor....the girl on the other end said "We're SICU...we don't have a
supervisor"....I almost fainted! You don't HAVE a supervisor? I almost screamed! She said "we have a ward nurse"....so I said OK let me speak with her. So an Asian woman came on the line and I could barely understand her broken English and heavy accent...I explained to her that Norris and I have only each other. I said we've been through this for 16 months now and if you will make him cool so he doesn't itch, and keep his pain under control, then he won't give you a bit of trouble and he will sleep. I warned her that if they restrained him and he fought the restraints, he would rupture like a water balloon and bleed out. She promised to take good care of him. When I went over and checked in on him, she indeed did have a fan on him and he was asleep.Then at 4:00 AM Amy was gone to work and the nurse said Norris needed a bath and linen change. (We've done this before a thousand times and we know how to do it so that we minimize discomfort)...Nope...the three nurses from HELL were having none of it. The first thing they did was to grab the sheet under him and pull him up to the head of the bed....ONE BIG JERK....of course it stretched him out like a pelt on a rack and he screamed....he BEGGED..."Let me do it....let me do it!" but they rolled him over roughly and rocked him from one side to the other while rolling the sheets out from under him and then....dragging him over onto the new ones. He cried and sobbed. I was helpless....they were really rough...quick, but rough. The supervisor said "You have been spoiling him"...and I spit back at her through clinched teeth....On the contrary madam, I have watched him suffer through pain and agony like you cannot ever imagine and now that he has clawed his way to this last surgery, I have to watch you torture him in your ignorance, arrogance, and lack of compassion!!" I think she realized then that she and her crew were in trouble.....but they didn't stop there....as my wounded soldier lay on the bed with tears in his eyes and trying not to sob because it hurt so much, they snickered and laughed and said he was a "sissy"....that did it. I sat down in my chair at his bedside and seethed....I helped Norris get his pain under control and while he napped, I waited for the doctors to make rounds. When Dr. Adriano came in, I quietly but firmly told him what happened....how they ignored me ....wiped me off like I was dog shit on a shoe....tortured my soldier and then humiliated him by laughing at him in front of other patients. I made him a promise....I told him if this happened again I would fill WARD 45A with Generals, Colonels, Adjutant Generals, Congressmen, Senators, Hospital Commanders, and pissed off soldiers and maybe even the President's Chief of Staff "Andy Card".....he promised me it would not happen again.Later on, one of the Physical Therapy technicians came up to see Norris and say how sorry she was that he was treated so badly....She said "we had a morning meeting....your name came up." Folks, I have seen amputees cuss out their nurses, throw things and even punch their PT's, curl up and cry for their Moms and even pass out from the pain....but in 20 years of being with Norris Galatas, I've only seen him cry twice....When we had to put down our dog Charlie (Norris held him and petted him and loved on him while he went to sleep....and then we buried him in the front yard) and this morning. My husband has withstood enormous pain and suffering and almost died twice. His tolerance for pain is high...he just keeps pushing forward. He does not deserve this. So when first shift came on, everyone was smiles and our nurse remembered him from last year. Then they shipped us off to WARD 68 to get rid of us. So NOW....I am the caregiver. I will bathe him, change the linens and be the respiratory therapist. I will get him out of bed and walk him down to check his e-mail....we'll get back to where we were last week. And just as soon as the month goes by.....(he has to wear the binder 30 days.....never taking it off)....we'll put in for convalescent leave...and I hope I can wash HELL's HOSPITAL off my very being. From now on, any financial support I can give to an Army Medical Center...will go to Brooke Army Medical Center in Texas.
God Bless you, everyone. Thanks for your prayers and support....He has a lot of pain to get through, but just like quitting the snuff, quitting the beer, quitting the Percosets, and cheating death twice....he will make it. He is a determined man and he wants to live. Ask God to deliver him from ignorance, arrogance, apathy, and heartless civilians at WRAMC.Love you all. Janis