The Learning Curve and Me

Why?The other day a friend asked, “What kind of a learner were you?  Slow or fast?”  We had been having one of those rambling, disconnected discussions and her question seemed to come out of the blue.  So did my answer.  “Neither,” I said.  “I think I was sort of a skeptical learner.”

It was hard to explain.  I was a compliant student — always followed directions, completed assignments, did the extra credit stuff.  But I was a questioner.  The “why” of things always troubled me and so it was often what I asked.

Before I began school, and I was asking those unremitting “why” questions of my mother, she would finally answer, “Why’s a hen?”  Early on I understood that this meant that she was exasperated with me, wanted me to go outside and play, and that there was probably no answer to my question, or at least not one that she was ready to impart.  I have no idea of the literal meaning of that expression nor do I know where it originated.

Wound-vac Attached to Patient

Teachers usually don’t avail themselves of those sorts of parental responses and so I probably pushed a lot of buttons during my school years.  I think I still do.  These days it’s the medical profession that is getting the full benefit of my questioning ways.  Take Nyel’s wound-vac, for instance.

The wound-vac is a fancy schmancy pumping device designed to suck out the excess fluids and blood from a “wound” or, in Nyel’s case, from his surgical incision.  The day before Nyel left St. Vincent’s for the Seaside rehab facility, a dressing change and wound examination was scheduled at a time when both his surgeon and I could be present.  At that time, the surgeon removed a few sutures, spread apart a two- or three-inch part of the incision and had me look at the gaping “hole.”

“This goes clear to the bone,” he told me.  “Our hope is that it will heal from the inside out.  The wound vac helps in that process.”  When I asked how long Nyel would be hooked up to the wound-ac, the doctor was vague.  “For some time,” was the answer.  “You will go home with it after rehab and the home health nurses will deal with it.  They do that all the time,” I was told by way of reassurance.

The Professionals

So, day before yesterday — not even a week since Nyel had been in rehab — when the Seaside wound care nurse and doctor-on-duty made the decision to not replace the wound-vac after a dressing change, you can bet I had more than one “why” question.  The ‘answer’ I was given: “The wound-care nurse and the doctor are the professionals.”  End of discussion.

Fortunately, next Tuesday is the first follow-up appointment scheduled at St. Vincents with the surgeon.  I imagine that it could go in one of several directions:  Maybe the doctor will find that the rehab people made the right call and we will proceed without the wound vac;  or maybe he will see to it that it is replaced and give them specific orders regarding how long it is to stay there; or… worst case scenario, he doesn’t like what is happening and Nyel is readmitted to St. Vincent’s…  I hope that whatever transpires isn’t a part of some corporate protocol.  The Seaside Hospital is, after all, a part of the Providence Medical Group.

Meanwhile, we wait and I bite my tongue.  That’s how is when you are a skeptic and you’ve been summarily notified that you are dealing with professionals…

One Response to “The Learning Curve and Me”

  1. Dammit, Girl, that’s why it’s So Good you are a SKEPTIC!!! A WHY asker!!! Keep up the good work, I’m proud of you and so is your mother!

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