|by Rick Moore|
|You Call That A Gown?
Some of you probably noticed that the last issue of Letters was missing my column. There is a reason for that. Many of you have been following the ongoing saga of my bout with congestive heart failure. I had to get all my affairs in order before I left for Dallas for an Angiogram. I never knew how involved all this could be. My bank accounts had to be checked and done over. Seems the beneficiaries were long gone. Luckily, editor Steve understood and I got a reprieve to calm my shaking nerves. I was very worried about the situation that awaited me in Dallas' Baylor Hospital.
The Baylor Hospital called before my visit there to check on my insurance policy, address, age, etc. It was explained to me again that if during the Angiogram they found a clogged or blocked artery, that they would immediately do a bypasssingle, double, triple, quadrupleif need be...and to plan to be there for a week should that occur.
I left early Tuesday afternoon to catch the plane from Salisbury to Philadelphia, then from Philly to Dallas and home to the hubby. The plane in Salisbury was held back from leaving due to a thunderstorm in the Philly area. I had an hour layover there to catch the Dallas flight. We took off a half hour late, got to Philly but waited 25 minutes on the landing field. I was rushed for time to say the least. And the plane from Dallas left from the opposite end of the airport. I ranyes ranas fast as I couldbags and alltill I got to the kiosk. They had already loaded the plane. The attendant said to stop and slow downI was totally drenched. She said I looked to be in good shape for such runninglittle did she realize I was going for a heart operation. Down the jetway, and they closed the door behind me. What a great start, eh?
We landed in Dallas 25 minutes late. Nick was there to pick me up. We walked outside and it was like walking into a blast furnace. Typical Dallas summer weather: 100 degrees and 200% humidity. It was tough to breathe.
I was told not to eat or drink anything after 12 noon. I called Baylor to let them know I had arrived. They wanted me there to register at 5:30 a.m. Oh, boy.
We were up at 4:30 a.m. Hey, it's dark outside! We got there to register. They sat me down in a cubicle and explained what they were going to do, and to ask for a $500 deductible payment upfront. "Bill me for it," I said. We were taken upstairs where I was told by my nurse, Keisha, that I was first on the list to go in the OR. A volunteer named Larry came into the room to explain the procedurethe same he said had done twice before. He was very nice and helpful. Keisha came back into the room with a bag and a gown. The bag was for all the clothes I had on. The gown was way too small, so she went searching for a large one. Ok, ok, we've all seen those hospital gowns, right? Why do they call them gowns? They look nothing like it. Are they made of taffeta, silk, organza? Nopecottonplain light blue potato sack. The tie in the back was ripped off and the snap didn't snap. I put on a show for Keisha and Nick. Try and look dignified wearing one of these thingsit ain't gonna happen. Then come the hook ups and IVs. Oh, joy! So now I'm about to go to "the room." Can't say I wasn't scaredyou would be too.
They came for me, and wheeled me down the maze of hallways till I was in a large room with a huge machine and bed in the middle. They moved me onto the bed and washed down my abdomen and right leg. Yeck. They put a sedative in my IV to calm me and hit me with a local in the groin. They were going to put the tube in my femoral arteryone of the largest arteries in the body. My doctor came in to remind me that if there is a clog then it's off to surgerybig time. I was awake for the entire procedure. My doctor was telling me what he was doing while working on me. He said he was releasing the dye into the hearttwice. He then said it looked like the damage to my heart was from a virushe was that sure. But no clogged arteries at allfact is, they were all clear. Whew!
I was told I was going to the recovery room for an hour of observation and not to move my right leg (it was clamped down). The IV taped to my right arm was really bothering me. The nurse in recovery was very nice and personable. After my hour in recovery I was wheeled back to my regular room. Oh, and by the way, my Nick was there every chance he got, and beat me back to my room. I was told that if I didn't have any complications I could go home in 4 hours, but I was being monitored for any reaction or complication. They brought in a lunch menu for us, and this was not your typical hospital food. It was very gourmet. After we finished lunch, Nick sacked out on the sofa bed and I watched TV while my nurse checked on me every 15 minutes.
It was 4 o'clock when I was told I could go home. I got my release papers and my new medstwo high blood pressure medicationsAltace and Coreg. I do not have high blood pressure but these medications will help my heart work less hard. Nick said we should get the prescriptions for the meds filled so we went to the local Wal-mart where the pharmacist informed me that these two meds would cost over $200 for a month. My health insurance doesn't cover these, and she said I should call the doctor's office to see if there might be a cheaper alternative (generic) to these. We did, but they were closed. Wal-mart said to come back tomorrow. The doctor's office called the next day and said to stop back at the office that afternoon for some samples to get me started. Since my doctor had left on vacation a generic med would have to wait. We picked up the samples from the office that afternoon along with instructions on how to use them.
Now I'm on four different types of medication. We went back to the condo and I was complaining about a headache, and this one was pretty severe. Seems I would have it for the next 3 days due to the anesthesia they gave me. I started the new medications and got a reactionmy peripheral eyesight was affected. Everything was wavy like I was underwater. They said this would eventually go away, and it did. I have to return to Baylor in about 4-6 weeks to set up an electro-cardiogram. Oh, boy!
I'd like to thank all of you who have wished me luck, and for all the nice things you've said. I'm a very lucky guy. See you at the beach.
LETTERS From CAMP Rehoboth, Vol. 15, No. 11 August 12, 2005