I was recently hospitalized in Munster Community Hospital in Munster, Indiana, from May 12 to May 17, 2020. The official diagnosis was Gastrointestinal Hemmorrhage.
After a NM GI Bleeding Scan, an Endoscopy, and a Colonoscopy, it was determined that I had Ulcers and Diverticulitis. Apparently, the majority of the bleeding was caused by a diverticuli that burst.
I have PKD (polycystic kidney disease). I am currently a kidney transplant patient who recently celebrated my 4 year anniversary! I am one of those guys that is more susceptible to the virus than your average person.
What I wish to talk about today was the precautions that members of the hospital staff and physicians took to protect me from the coronavirus.
PHYSICIAN AND STAFF COVID-19 PROTECTIONS
I was put on the third floor (the heart and kidney floor) of the hospital, which is a non-COVID-19 wing of the hospital. I had a nurse and an aid on every shift. I had a Gastro doc, a Nephrologist, and a Hospitalist that visited me at least once a day. I have a port for blood draws and infusions. A member of the intubation team (a nurse) checked my connection to my port and infusion bag at least twice a day. The nurses and the aides dropped by my room at least once an hour, the maintenance staff came by once a day, and a social worker stopped by twice during my stay. So there was a lot of contact between myself and employees from the hospital.
Here are some of the ways the doctors and staff tried to protect me from the virus:
1. Social Distancing: Everytime I had contact or a conversation with anyone from the hospital, they stood a minimum of six feet away from me.
2. Personal Protective Equipment: All physicians and staff wore PPE in my room at all times. This included masks, gowns, gloves, and sometimes even shoe coverings. My hospitalist also wore a face shield in addition to the other PPE.
3. Expectations for me during room visits: I was asked to wear a facemask any time someone came into the room and not to shake hands or touch anyone.
4. Gloves: There were boxes of form-fitting plastic gloves in boxes in my room that came in sizes from small to large, and every time a nurse, doctor, or aide came into the room, they would put on the gloves and immediately dispose of them when they left. This may be standard operating procedure, but there seemed to be more of an emphasis on not taking a set of gloves from one patient room to the next than I've observed in the past during a hospital stay. I have been fighting kidney disease for over 40 years now, and I average about 2 hospital stays a year. I don't recall seeing this much deliberate precision in the past.
5. Walking: Near the end of my stay, I walked around the floor to help prepare me to go home. My friend, the IV stand, and a nurse had to come with me. I was asked to wear a mask and the nurse and people in the hallways maintained their social distance.
6. Admission & Discharge: I came into the hospital by ambulance because I was extremely light-headed due to blood loss and not able to ambulatory. Although social distancing was not possible under these conditions, PPE was worn at all times and I was masked. On discharge, the nurse wheeled me to the Lyft ride that took me home—full PPE for her and a mask for me. Even the Lyft driver had a plastic shield between the front and back seats and was wearing a mask.
The healthcare professionals at Munster Community not only took very good care of me, they made every effort possible to ensure I was protected from the virus. I greatly appreciate their help and professionalism. I would also like to thank all of my friends and my son, Jim, who supported me during my stay, and gave me a warm welcome home. I would like to thank my landlords at Mt Zion for helping me obtain an ambulance. I hope this blog gives those of you that need medical care, for something other than the coronavirus, the confidence to contact your local emergency room or health care team. They will take all necessary steps to try to keep you safe and informed. Peace, my friends!
Your Uncle Jim Myers
Additional COVID-19 Resources:
- AAKP Coronavirus Resources
- Coronavirus and Kidney Patients Webinar
- Coronavirus and Transplant Patients: Get the Facts, Save a Life Webinar
- Taking Care of Your Dialysis During the COVID-19 Pandemic Webinar
- Fighting Coronavirus Upstream: What Early Stage Kidney Disease Patients Need to Know Webinar
- Telemedicine Utilization in the COVID-19 Era: What Patients Should Know
- VA Kidney Program's Response to COVID-19 Webinar
- Mental Health Management During COVID-19: Staying Connected While Staying at Home Webinar