By day four of my hospitalization, things were going smoothly. Competent nurses were helping me. I was receiving the medications and IVIG transfusions needed to treat my disease, Myasthenia Gravis. I was looking forward to going home soon, following my last transfusion.
The evening nurse, who identified herself as the charge nurse, disconnected my finished transfusion. I reached for my blue slippers. I brought these slippers from home and I have been wearing them daily when up. I wanted to walk to the bathroom now that I was free from my IV pole for a while.
The nurse said that my slippers should be yellow. I gave her a befuddled look. She repeated that it was important for me to wear yellow slippers. I responded with a weak giggle. I mistakenly assumed that she was making a joke that I didn’t understand. After I giggled, she said, “Didn’t THEY bring you a pair of yellow footies?”. I shook my head in a “no” motion. She elaborated that I was on fall precautions. She explained that I was to wear yellow footies at all times, so all hospital staff would keep an eye on me to keep me from falling. She left the room, saying that she would get me some yellow footies right away because THEY did not give me yellow footies.
I kept my giggles to myself as I read the board on my wall. It said, “Up At Lib”. I recalled other staff showing me how to unplug my IV when I wanted to get up. When this nurse returned, I offered no resistance to accepting a new pair of yellow footies. However she did not bring the yellow slippers. She said that she told THEM that I was steady and alert, but that THEY insisted I be on ‘fall precautions’ because of my diagnosis and “many factors”. I don’t know what the many factors were. Several hours later, the nurse returned to my room. She looked at my feet and said, “THEY didn’t bring your yellow footies yet ?” She seemed quite annoyed with THEM. I simply said, “No”. Footies were never mentioned again and I did not receive any.
Day five arrived. My care was excellent. At 11pm I slumbered into sleep, knowing that I would be going home the next evening. Each night in the hospital, I had turned out my lights and closed my door because of the bright lights and noise in the hall. I followed my routine on my last night here. At midnight, someone opened my door widely and turned my lights on. Of course, this woke me up. I decided this person had forgotten their blood pressure cuff, or meds. I waited for about an hour, unable to sleep because of the light and noise. I decided to get up, turn off my lights, and close my door again. As I put my feet over the side of the bed, piercing loud alarms began to ring repetitively . I walked to the hall and asked the CNA why my room was making noises in the middle of the night. The CNA said that the nursing supervisor had come through, opened my door, put my lights on, and activated a bed alarm because she wanted me to be on Fall Precautions. As the CNA said, “nursing supervisor”, she seemed quite intimidated. I stressed that I had been up without precautions all week.
I called for my nurse, who shook his head and said, “The supervisor did this”? He turned off alarms and he apologized for the supervisor’s disruption. I was so grateful for his common sense. I again read the board on my wall that said,”Up At Lib”. Following this commotion, it took quite a while to return to sleep.
The next day I was exhausted. My doctor said he would be talking to the supervisor about her behavior. This was not helpful to me, but perhaps a future patient will be spared sleep deprivation. My discharge day had arrived. I would be going home in the evening after my last transfusion was completed. On this last day, yellow footies were not mentioned by anyone.