My partner, Jon (http://maverick2464.blogspot.com/), throughout our relationship has shown a remarkable propensity towards being lucky.
He always finds a deal. Thanksgiving dinner and a week of meals $180.00 before coupons and shoppers bonuses. After taxes $30.00. A leather messenger bag, nearly $150, bought for me at Christmas, $60.
He’ll buy five dollars worth of lottery scratch off tickets and will end up collecting $25.
Well, his luck or blessing continued with him when he comes home from work unexpectedly. Jon never is sick. He never has to see a doctor. Yet on this faithful Saturday, 4/11/2009, my world suddenly came to a stop with the phrase, I’ve got to go to the hospital.
His signs and symptoms implied heart attack. (No history to speak of except for being a smoker and a little over weight.)
This morning, a triple by-pass surgery after being told test showed maybe a minor, minor heart attack.
This little adventure for precautionary measures had the staff at WVU-East/City Hospital asking to transfer him to Winchester Medical Center so that he can be monitored in a proper cardiac ICU. Once at Winchester Medical Center, I was quoted as saying this has to be a good thing because they are not taking you directly to surgery. They aren’t running you into or through a CAT scanner. They are not calling in a team for a Sunday operation. So it seems okay. Things are pointing to a lecture about smoking, exercise and weight. We assumed that he’d be "outta here in no time…"
(Other famous quotes by yours truly have envolved Cyndi Lauper being a "one hit wonder." – Granted I am running with an 85% accuracy rating, I just miss the mark occassionally.)
This is where the luck and being blessed come in. The time Monday morning 0830 hrs.
They casually went in to survey the situation via catherization, they wasted no time in recognizing what they had. They excitedly egressing to return him to his room in c-icu where they explained their findings and proceeded to expedite into a triple by-pass surgery in the space of 45 minutes.
His doctor met us in his room and explained the situation. The doctor advised with the level of blockage that they found, he only sees 3, maybe 5 patients out of 100 in similar condition. He smoothly eluded that the remaining weren’t treatable. He pronounced that Jon should have hit the ground dead.
Looking back on this last Saturday night, I can only assume that Jon’s immediate recognition of the signs, combined with his taking asprine when he did were instrumental in his survival.
Talk about being blessed.
City Hospital might have also actually played a part in it too.
Coming from someone who would rather be treated at the local V. A. Hospital I have minimal respect for WVU-East/City Hospital as a whole. There is just an "air" of cluster F~ there. There are individuals there that should be leaders in their respective fields. But they are out numbered by those who shouldn’t be in medicine or auto repair. (I am speaking with some authority – former EMS grunt) You can tell a well oiled machine when you see it in action, and working. Likewise if it isn’t, you know it too.
Given my bias, when Jon said he wanted to go to the hospital I second guessed taking him to City. I entertained going ahead and driving to Winchester, or even Washington County, MD. Then thought – NO, Stabilize, re-evaluate. Given the information that Dr. Stam gave us this a.m. I am glad that I went with the tried and true rules of triage.
What went wrong: 2000hrs Saturday we were checking in. We were through triage with no problem what so ever. We had to wait fifteen minutes for a bed because they had no one expediting the ER staff or patients. It is hard enough for me to believe that they took us through without a bed for him but no one encouraging the previous patient to move along after he had been released to get the !)&^ out.
Once Jon got a bed, the original one was still being cleared – there was no one to re-evaluate and prioritize. That was another thirty minutes, I can understand busy. It wasn’t until 2045 hrs that I went to the desk and asked… "Do you realize that there is a cardiac emergency at curtain 5?" I am sorry to say that they descended upon poor Jon like he was a sugar cube and they were a swarm of ants.
There were a few of them who failed basic blood borne pathogen precautions. There was no danger of Jon communicating anything, but there were a couple of them who failed to wear gloves while drawing blood or administering drugs. The nurse that was with him the most prepped and applied a nitroglycerine patch bare handed. I am sorry, they didn’t know him from "Adam". He could have been a hot bed for pick a flavor… In today’s world, I am sorry, there is no excuse – you do not approach a patient unless you have gloves on.
There were two who could not set up a basic administration line. I wanted to do it for them and it has been since 1994 that I have handled a butter-fly stint. Eventually, X-rays were taken, Morphine was used for pain, anti-coagulants were administered and the transfer took place at 2300hrs.
Had I been on ER rotation, and given the conditions I was use to working with in a military hospital or civilian I saw where there could have been an hour and a half shaved off his time at/in City Hospital.
On a completely opposite scale; The team at Winchester Medical earn nothing but the highest praise from me. Having seen Cleveland Clinic and similar operations under working conditions I will leave the assumed comparison stand as it is.
How is he now?: The operation took a little over three hours. They were able to harvest an artery instead of a vein. (Difference in viability 15 years.) Once surgery was completed – and they were ready, his heart started beating on it’s own, they did not have to shock him. (Hurdles one and two cleared.) Now we just have to be concerned with pneumonia. If he can get up and around tomorrow – if he does not begin collecting fluid in his lungs we will have cleared a third. (This is a risk for people who smoke.)
Sunday, I wish I had a camera with me to have taken a picture of him. He would have killed me for snapping it but I will always have it in my minds eye to laugh about given the newly discovered severity of the situation. Under medication for pain that he was still experiencing he was provided with his supper, this was when the Kodak moment occurred. Knife in one hand, propped on the edge of his tray. Fork in the other, half way to his mouth with half a meatball on it, eyes closed and snoring. He was like that for the better part of twenty minutes. I didn’t want to startle him by waking him or removing the utensils… He needed his rest.