Pensacola, FL. February, 2011. That was the night my father, Phil, was taken to West Florida Hospital. He wasn't feeling well, and was exhibiting flu-like symptoms. He'd been sick for a few days, but wasn't getting any better. He went to the emergency room, but they sent him home with instructions to take a Motrin.
The next day, he was progressively worse. He went to our family doctor, who called an ambulance, and he was taken to Baptist Hospital, where he was taken away in a wheelchair, and had to wait on a bed. The wait was more like a game of musical chairs, except every time someone was discharged, someone else was being admitted. February has always been a bad month for illness. He stayed there overnight, and the next night, when my brother and I came to visit and had a long conversation with him, of which he remembers nothing. It was eerie.
He said a minister came to his room and told him he was going to be all right. You never know what that really means. All we knew was that my father wasn't himself. He was weakening before our very eyes. He couldn't even go to the bathroom himself, and he'd stopped eating.
That night, he was suddenly discharged, unable to walk on his own. They said they needed the beds. Dad was home again, but he getting progressively worse.
The next day, a nurse came to the house to check on him, and he was again taken by ambulance to his third and final hospital, Sacred Heart, where he was diagnosed with pneumonia and a blood clot on his lung. He was in ICU for five days, in an induced coma. Had it not been for that nurse, he would have died at home.
It took three hospitals before he was finally given the care he needed. Don't settle when you know something is wrong. This was not the first time this happened in our family; don't let it happen to yours.