Friday, October 10, 2008

Ponte Vedra Spain

My friend Maria was so gracious to take care of me during my operation and accompanied me when I had to go to the hospital with chest pains. She is the ultimate Christian friend, not in word only, but in sincerity and action. I just can't thank her enough. Though Maria has lived most of her adult life in the United States, she was born in the northern part of Spain in a seaport town called Ponte Vedra. One of her favorite views is this small valley dotted with scrub, corn, and grapes as seen from her mother's porch . The oil painting on the left is just that scene from her mother's house. I borrowed some pictures so I could paint it. She has not seen this painting yet and I hope she likes it. This is my way of saying "Thank you, Maria for being there for me!!" It isn't quite finished but I hope she gets the idea of what it will look like.
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Thursday, October 09, 2008

Life on a Roller Coaster

The economy, our health, our friends erratic behaviour, the lifestyles we live keeping us so apart. This is the time to draw close to God like never before. If He has had you holding fast to Him for sometime, like he has been doing with me, all this turmoil doesn't seem so horrific. There have been storms before and there will be storms again. We have God and we have each other. The God we worship is an awesome God on whose word we can readily rely. He will not fail us and not one of his words have ever been spoken in vain. Our God reigns. Before anything came into being, He is God. Today, I opened the Bible and it opened to Isaiah, a book in which Jesus Christ was prophecied hundreds of years before he was even born. It said in Isaiah 9 "the government will be on his shoulders, and he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace, of the increase of his government and power, there will be no end. He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdoms, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this."

God is not weak neither is he blind. None of this surprises him. We are coming to historical places in the unfolding of time, and it is time to open up your eyes if you haven't done so already. Trust in God, and in all the promises he has made to you. Believe me my life experience of knowing him is that he never fails. "All your sons will be taught by the Lord and great will be your children's peace. " I hold on to every word as I move forward in this mist.

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.