Friday, 5 May 2017

Overnight in the hospital, for the first time since I was a child

When I was a skinny and wispy child I was in the hospital twice.  Once for a tonsilectomy (and they gave me rice pudding afterwards instead of ice-cream blah!), and once when I was in an isolation hospital with scarlet fever (where my parents could visit visit but only look at me and wave through a window, and where a nurse slapped me for eating an apple which she had told me not to eat).

So it was sixty four years or more on when I became an overnight patient following surgery.

For at least four years when walking I've had dullish pain in my right leg, pain which I  could "walk through". At first I thought that I had poor walking shoes, then I tried a potassium rich diet, and finally decided that I needed more hydration before walking.

O foolish man -  self diagnosis is not wise!

Six or so weeks ago I asked my Primary Care Physician about this.  She could not find a pulse in my right ankle.  After a vascular test the diagnosis became clear.  I have peripheral arterial disease.  (You'll get this if you smoke for fifty or more years says this now reformed smoker).

When a stress test revealed a serious anomaly my cardiologist ordered an Angiogram  (or Cardiac Catheterisation).   I had this yesterday (Thursday) morning.   There it was:  a serious blockage in my left anterior descending artery. Of course the surgeon inserted a stent there and then, so I had to stay overnight at Sarasota Memorial Hospital for a safeguarding rest.

I like my Cardiac Surgeon.  I think that he is the best.  Of course everyone think his or her surgeon is great -  (I have never hear a soul say "I have a very inferior surgeon"!).

SMH provides excellent post surgical care.  I was in a cardiac wing which is staffed by superb Registered Nurses, and is very peaceful and quiet. The food is good, and is served by young men and women who are always dressed in black suits, white shirts and red bow ties -  so classy!

The R.N.'s were professional to their core. Early this morning I told one that I was longing for a coffee.  She made some and bought it to my room.  Later I told her that I knew coffee making was not part of her job description and that I was entirely grateful for goodness.

As soon as I got into the unit I changed into casual street clothes, and wore pyjamas overnight. My sense of dignity leaves no room for hospital "johnnies".

The hardest part for this restless soul was not having anything to do!   I read a bit, watched some mindless T.V., and listened in to my room mate's conversation with his visitors.  He had many, and I heard his tales of very many surgeries, repeated so often.  But for HIPPA  I could tell you his medical history.  I slept fairly well.,

I was entertained this morning by the arrival outside of a MediVac heliocopter  (English spelling just for fun). to a pad just outside my window.   The patient was swathed in bandages hear to toe.

The Surgeon arrived at 6:30 a.m. to tell me that he was pleased with my progress, and that I was now free to go home.   However I was under lock down for another three hours as I awaited the written discharge instructions.

Apart from three family members and a very good friend (Joe R in Granby, MA), I had not alerted a slew of other friends about this.   It's not that I undervalue your love and prayers, but selfishly (?) I had not wanted to respond to a barrage of loving 'phone calls.

That's save for three of the Clerics at St. Boniface Church, my good friends Jack and Donna Chrisman, Wes and Cindy Wasdyke, and (Deacon) Alan Rogers.

Good Alan visited me in the hospital yesterday afternoon  -  that was so good!

Jack and Wes are retired Priests,  Wes had a dual career, as a Priest and as an Anesthesiologist,  so he was the right person to take me to this hospital early yesterday morning, and drive me home today.

I am well, but very tired. Apart from a visit to the Pharmacy to get a new med., and a trip to the supermarket to get a bit of fish for lunch today, I have stayed quietly at home.

Mostly I am intensely relieved and entirely grateful,  On a world scale it is an utter privilege to live in a City and Country where I can get such excellent medical care.

(And of course I think of those in this wealthy country who live in rural areas or small towns and have to drive 50, 75, 100 or more miles to find a comprehensive Hospital.  I also think (with some anger) about those who will be able to afford decent medical insurance if Trump-Care is ever the law of the land.   Of course they will get care, but at a cost which could drive many of them into personal bankruptcy.

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