Monday, November 28, 2011

Hospitals: Anything But Restful

One thing I noticed following my craniotomy last year is the “Catch-22” regarding sleep and rest in hospitals. As I understand it, sleep and rest is of paramount importance following brain surgery because the brain only heals itself in deep sleep.

Strangely enough, a hospital is a hard place to get some rest…especially during the day.

Why? Because everybody, and I mean everybody, feels like they can walk into your room at any time.  

-“Sorry Mr. K,” (without really meaning it) blurted the guy that came around every morning at 5am or so just to peer in my eye and make sure I was alive. 

-“Time to change your IV.”  In bustles a nurse.

-“Has your bed been made yet?”  A nurse’s assistant strolls in.

-“Time for your vitals.”  Ditto.

-“Has somebody checked your stitches?”  In pops a resident.

-“Have you ordered breakfast? Lunch? Dinner?” In comes the waitress (dressed in a spiffy 
tuxedo, I must add).

-“How about your pills?  Want some water?”

-“Time for physical therapy.”

-“Time for occupational therapy.”

-“Can I clean your room?”

-“Have you gone #2 yet? Want a ‘stool softener’?”

-“You have a visitor.”

Now don’t get me wrong, I needed and appreciated all this attention, but it didn’t help me get the deep rejuvenating sleep that I craved (especially in the ICU).

The research agrees. According to an article by Dr. Mark Stibich, when we don’t sleep well, our bodies’ immune system and ability to heal wounds and other types of tissue damage is reduced. When you are recovering from surgery or illness, sleep is what the doctor ordered.´
He then reported on research that studied 16 ICU patients for 24 hours. He summarized the results saying that “They monitored the patients’ sleep during that time. Most of the sleep that patients got was stage 1 and stage 2 sleep (light types of sleep that do not refresh the same as the deeper stages of sleep). “

You can find his article posted at

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