The Adventures of Tom Chin

A Staycation in Oakland and San Jose.

This past December Tom had major surgery – A Total Hip Replacement.  We spent 5 days at Kaiser’s New Oakland Hospital.  Surprisingly It was one of the most comfortable overnight stays I’ve been in.  Tom was scheduled for surgery December 11 and was discharged via transport on Dec 15.

First we check in, pretty early.  We left our house pretty early since there was apparently this “giant” storm going to hit the bay area. Here we are just waiting for time.  Tom was called in right about his check in time 6:45 am.

10850943_10153419827567468_10345046_n  10847017_10153419827137468_20606438_n

The nurse assistant handed me this card with Tom’s Code on it, this is so i can track him while in surgery. Estimated time of surgery 88 mins.  Actual time of surgery over 3 hours.


This is him at pre-op. It is a large bay separated by curtains for “privacy” but you can hear everything going on ground you. Here he was Getting his blood and what not testing, hooking him up to an IV, signing papers, switching into a gown, and yep the cap.  This is where we met his Surgeon, the Anesthesiologist, and Head Nurse.


Doctor Barber Grabs a disposable marker to sign off “YES” with his initials.


A few moments later, you can hear the operating room is soon to be packed.  All the brake releases and the gurneys were rolling.  We had one more paperwork to sign and Tom too was off. At around 9:00 am his head nurse releases the breaks to roll him away. I go to the waiting room to wait.

The waiting game, i thought i was going to blog the entire thing live, but somehow i didn’t find the time or energy to do so (I ended up tweeting about it instead.  #AdventuresofTomChin).  My mind just wandered as i wandered the floor.


the rain starts to trickle in

I waited patiently for 88 minutes, then I asked the volunteers to check if the board was updated.  It seems like it wasn’t progressing as his status remained in surgery” for a while.  They called in and updated me that it will be another 90 minutes more, she suggested I grab lunch so I go to the cafeteria and grabbed quiet the BLT.


I finished eating real quick and I decided to ask the volunteers again how progress is.  I basically abandoned looking at the monitor because it didn’t seem accurate. She mentioned they were still in surgery and said it may take a little longer still.  So I figured I had some time so I would drop off Tom’s pre-surgery clothes off to the car.  While I was in the elevator I noticed I had a missed call from the Surgeon.  I was a bit nervous, when I saw.  The surgeon begins with a positive tone and mentioned surgery went well, he lost a lot of blood but he is doing well and he is in recovery.  My first thought was wow… I feel like a bad wife not being there to answer the phone right away. instead I was gallivanting around the hospital!  He calls again in half an hour and we talk and he mentioned I can see him in recovery in about an hour.  I talk to the volunteer about seeing him and she called into recovery and they mentioned I can pop in but can not stay long.

This was weird. I wished I had taken a photo, as I walk into what looks like the geriatric ward. There was Tom, some what still in a haze.  It was so odd to see a young man amongst the older folks ranging above 70s around him.  Tom looked as pale as a sheet, but he was still cracking jokes.  He was freaking out a bit because he couldn’t move his legs.  It was because they put him under general as well as local not to mentioned he legs were strapped down to a huge foam block to prevent moving.  A few minutes later the recovery nurse asked me to step out because in a few minutes they will transfer him up to his room. Room 823.  She said to gather his overnight bag and meet him at the room.

The 8th floor was the adult orthopedic ward.  There was no signing in or out, every one can come and go as they please.  It was all up to the nurse who was taking care of the patient if they wanted to kick some one out.  I made my way to Room 823… I thought it was somewhat weird that it lead me to an Anteroom.   An Anteroom is where you enter for an infection control room with negative air pressure that then leads to the main patient room. I walked pass this room and noticed it was an older Chinese woman. I then make a lap around the floor and waited in the waiting area thinking he wasn’t ready to be moved.


The View at the 8th floor waiting

I waited a few more minutes and took a long way back to Room 823… as I was walking pass Room 822 I see Tom. They just transferred him in and I figured the Recovery nurse gave me the wrong room number.

The Room was clean and very spacious.  I was glad it was one of the New Kaiser Buildings it just opened in July of that year.


The Welcome Kit and Spirometer


The TV, where meals can be ordered , patient/nurse info can be seen /Where you can watch TV/Internet etc…

The design of the patient rooms was spot on.  The couch I slept on was comfy and the views were wonderful..  It was also great that I could see the TV from it too.


The Oakland Sunrise, The shades draw up on a timer for the sunrise and sunset.


Dr. Barber comes in to check on Tom

Oakland is a teaching hospital so there were also a few people in the room.  It was always a surprise for them to see a young white man in the Patient room.  Tom’s response is always “Are you disappointed I’m not an old Chinese man?”


A whole team comes to Visit, the PT, the PA and a few residents.

Tom had a few Visitors drop by, mainly to entertain me while he took short naps.




Sophie took center stage, while Tom was away for X-rays

Daily it was usually the same routine, Doctor visit, PT Visit, Meds, Food, nurses and blood draws.


Part of the daily dose of meds

Tom had to get 2 rounds of transfusion for all the blood loss, We called it a transfusion party.  I’m surprise the nurses didn’t kick us out cause we were really noisy while they were trying to get the blood flowing.


Prep for the Transfusion was all about double checking and cross checking everything.


drip, drip, drip

Before being discharged, Tom had to prove to his PT that he can take a few steps and clear a step.   Because of the loss of blood he would get light-headed and couldn’t take the step.  This is why the 2nd round of blood was needed, we then stayed an extra night.


This is Our Favorite Nurse Cathy.

The next day was a crazy day.  No one knew when we were going home, I swear there was 10 people in the room at one point, case managers, PT/OT staff, Doctors, Nurses, Transports, Orderlies.  In the end they agreed that he was strong enough to go home, but since our house has three steps to get into the door he would need to be transported.


Some items he may need for the home

Here is the team of Medics that took us home.


Bye Comfy Hospital!


It was a little weird that he was riding the ambulance, because in Tom’s previous career her was a Medic and Firefighter.


This is the result of his total hip replacement.


X-Ray of the bionic hip.  The radiologist covered his man parts for his future off spring.  hah.

All in all the Total Hip Replacement was a Socket, Ball, Breaking the Femur to place the Joint to hold the Ball.








Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s