Wednesday, October 08, 2008

So how did it go?

Well, at first I thought so so, but as I reread my account, there is a bit of the bizarre, the strange, and the innocent. That I am writing about it though is a good sign. It's just that I always want to be better before everybody else. And frankly, I think I am doing extremely well considering my age and the operation. I just think that for people in their fifties there should be a different protocol for outpatient care. I had my surgery done in a surgery center on an outpatient basis. I think people in their fifties and up should at least have the option of some extended care because when it was time to go home, I didn't feel ready. Up to that moment, everyone who had already had a procedure done, had left, so the pressure was there for me to leave. I barely had the five extra minutes I needed to be ready to walk to the car. I knew I wasn't ready. Why didn't they listen?

After I left and went in the car to Maria's house, I had chest pains. These chest pains didn't subside. I moved around to see if it was gas, but no they stayed. Then I wondered if it was acid reflux and had some Mylanta. It stayed, and then I talked to my doctor. She said to go to the ER that this didn't sound like anything related to the tonsillectomy. So we did.

Florida Hospital East ER gave me the best service I have ever seen them give me yet. At the mention of chest pain, they move you right in. Fortunately for me, it turned out to be just some gas pent up in my chest, but they kept me overnight which turned out to be a positive thing for me, since I vomited my heart out and would have otherwise dehydrated if I hadn't been there, So it all turned out for the best.


When I went to for the exams, the first was the Cardio Sonogram. I was blessed to have a real nice technician, because that was the first quiet moment, I had had, and it was my meltdown time. As the technician performed the test, she said over and over that I had a beautiful heart, pumping just right and all. And she said it over and over again, just as I was crying after all the fuss in the ER with tubes and tapes and needles. All the while, I was thinking this is not what I had planned. I had planned to be resting at Maria's and not there, without family* or friends, lying down in a stretcher in a lonely hallway waiting for a CT scan.

To be fair, God never let me alone. While I was lying there, I saw a custodian who was cleaning an office section just ahead of me, and as she did her work, she kept an eye on me. Dusting in and out, emptying trashcans, wearing her sanitary gloves. She wove through the different aisles, and as she came out she kept making eye contact with me as I waited and waited. When she finished it was also my turn, and as she went by, I thanked her and blessed her and she smiled. Later I know I saw her walk down my floor once I was in my room 614 bed. They placed me in a room with a feisty 93 year old who was celebrating her birthday and giving away birthday cake. Not to me or Maria, but to the nurses she liked. She was recovering from Pneumonia.

The rest of my evening seemed uneventful, except to endure watching Dancing with the Stars and see that extraordinary lady, Cloris Leechman lose her wig on prime time television. When you are recovering from an operation, watching a loud TV isn't quite what you expect. Getting blood samples almost every other hour into late in the night wasn't either, but that is what one has to put up with after chest pains. My quesy stomach was also part of the package, but once my anesthesia vanished that was gone, too.

On the other hand, it was quite an expensive hospital stay as shown to me by the payment patrol as I will call him. This gentleman who came early the next day, with his wireless laptop to charge me for my stay right there at my bedside, showed me the other side of health care: the dollar signs. So yes, I had already acquired quite a bill when you consider that I had to have two expensive tests including a cardio sonagram and a CT scan The fact that I was made aware of the expenses involved, started to make me uneasy.

So I wanted to be released as soon as possible since every minute I stayed money was ticking away, but I wasn't released till about 6 PM after almost walking out myself against medical advice. The situation was that the doctor would not respond to my calls nor did he show up all day, and I was ready to go home. Here I must put on the brakes and tell you something. Don't do it!! Even though the nurse there said go ahead and brought me the paperwork. The point is, if you leave without your doctor's consent, your medical plan can deny paying all the costs of your visit! Fortunately, the head RN for the floor came over to me and explained that tiny little detail the other nurse never bothered to mention. So thank you Brandie, for being so kind. About 5 minutes later, the absentee doctor finally made his appearance and I hope I never have to use his services again. I was released honorably and quietly went home. So that in an extended nutshell was my saga.

* I need to add this note. I would have had family, if my surgery had not been so precipitous. Originally, it was planned for the end of the month and my daughter was going to come, but when it was moved up, everything changed making it impossible for my daughter to come so soon. Everybody knows how expensive travel is by any means these days.

8 comments:

Rosangela Canino-Koning said...

I'm glad you are ok.

This is a good writeup, and why I'm happy we made you get a blog. :)

Elba said...

While you were reading, I edited my blog. Did you catch some of the changes.

Thank you honey for your thoughts..

Ana said...

Mami, we love and I hope you continue to recover. Maria is more valuable than gold. God bless her. I am sorry we couldn't be there. But we have been praying for you constantly.

I was really shocked how they make this outpatient surgery here. In Canada I had my surgery in the morning and was not eligible to be sent home till the following evening. Even then I was in bed most of the next day at home. It isn't about age, it should be about responsibility. Health Care is so incredibly broken in this country.

Elba said...

I agree with you!

Ana said...

Hey, Mami, I just talked to Papi Jean who also had outpatient surgery yesterday (fixing some ligaments in his shoulder) and he wanted to send you some well wishes, and hopes you are recovered soon. I didn't realize he was having the surgery. how crazy.

Elba said...

Of course I hope he gets better soon, too!

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry it was such an experience for you. Reegan gets her tonsils out on Nov 24 and they want her to stay in Calgary, near the children's hospital for a week just in case. I think she only stays in the hospital overnight.

I'm happy to still have all my original organs and don't look forward to ever going under the knife again. And you to have two so close together. God Bless you...
Hope you continue to heal fast and safely. ROSE

Elba said...

Thank you Rose for your good wishes. I feel a bit broken down these days. Please keep me in your prayers.