Yeah, I know; I'm a couple weeks late and a day early. Get over it.
So here's the List of Shit I Would Really Appreciate You Not to Touch When Visiting Your Friend or Relative in the Hospital:
1. The electrical outlets. Yes, I know, for as much as a hospital stay costs, you'd think they'd have enough outlets for all the medical equipment PLUS your laptop, cell phone, your kid's GameBoy, your kid's cell phone (aside from the fact your five-year old has a cell and GameBoy, why the hell are you bringing him to your grandma's isolation room again?). And even though most places provide free Wi-Fi now, that doesn't help much if you've got about 10% battery life left. I get it.
However, there are some rather important things plugged into those outlets. Your husband's IV pump, the anti-embolism boots, the LAL mattress so granny doesn't get a decub, telemetry euipment, et cetera. If something's plugged in, don't unplug it. Please and thank you.
2. Speaking of IV pumps, leave the buttons alone. I know, every time Junior moves his arm, the occlusion alarm goes off, which can be really annoying while you're trying to catch the latest scores of your game of choice on the television. But you know why that alarm goes off? It lets me know that I need to adjust Junior's position or check the tubing so he keeps getting his antibiotics. And no, I can't "turn that thing down." I have several other patients I'm either charting on, medicating, educating, or otherwise attending to. I need to hear the alarm if I'm in another room, so please keep your fingers off it.
3. Any buttons, lights, or dials on the ventilator. I know, your sixteen-month old thinks the lights are soooo pretty, and it's great fun to hear all the clicks on the dials (again, why the hell is your sixteen-month old chilling in the hospital again, crawling all over the floor while you're on facebook and your comatose 98-year old grandfather is on life support because you guys just couldn't help talking grandpops out of signing a DNR?) but the machine is breathing for grandpa/Junior/spouse and you need to leave the goddamn dials alone.
4. The dial on grandma's oxygen tank. It's at two liters per minute, the doctor has ordered two liters per minute, and it needs to stay at two liters per minute. I know, it sounds low; I mean, what good is two liters per minute? Well, first, O2 is prescribed, so if doc says it stays at two, that's not a fluid number. Second, if granny's a severe COPD'er, it needs to stay low, because if you turn it up, her brain's going to think "Hell, we're gettin' enough air from that little tube thingie, so I don't have to tell her lungs to work anymore" and she'll stop breathing. No, I'm not making that up. If you want to fully understand the mechanics of respiration and the effects of severe COPD/chronic bronchitis/emphysema, go to nursing/med school (no, Google doesn't count; in fact, please stay off WebMD, WikiMed, or whatever other follow-the-symptoms website you've been 'educating' yourself on; I'm sick of hearing how your cousin's symptoms point EXACTLY to cancer. Everything points to cancer on the internet).
5. Your girlfriend's narcotics. I get it; you've got a headache/sore knee/ingrown toenail, and your girl's 5mg of oxycontin would be just the thing to take the pain away. But, she's lying there having just had her abdomen laid open because you swore "I'll pull out babe; promise!" and she ended up with a Cesarean nine months later because her GD resulted in a twelve-pounder. She deserves to be blissed out on narcs for a while, because I highly doubt you'll be spending the next twelve months getting up with Dale Earnhardt Junior Jr. when he's hungry/wet/dirty/ready to play at three a.m.
I'm sure I've got more, but I've got family shit to do and a husband to make out with. More later, peeps.