In total, Donna and Laurie spent three weeks at the Cleveland Clinic. Both describe the first few days as agony. The surgery left Laurie in pain and hooked up to a superhighway of tubes. Donna ticks them off like a grocery list: a chest tube, a catheter, an NG tube up her nose, and an IV tube in her jugular vein. Every time she saw Donna, Laurie would tell her, “I want this stuff off.”
When my mom fell on an icy ski run (a double black diamond as she recalls) the doctors in the emergency room told her she had a broken right shoulder. The following week, a doctor back home told her she’d also fractured her left clavicle. Not only that, the two pieces of her broken shoulder were moving apart instead of together. Welcome to the medical establishment, Barker family.
Most surgeries are not emergencies, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. This leaves most families time to ask questions before agreeing to a procedure. But when it's your own family member, it can be hard to know what to ask.