Friday, September 28, 2012

Take 14 - An eventful month of August

An eventful month of August

For us, the month of August is traditionally known as one where we indulge in some vacation days, celebrate David's birthday and generally chill. However this year, it was nothing close to that, although attempts were made to go on with the usual customs and traditions. Reservations were made at a dog friendly hotel in Carmel-by-the-sea, doubts about leaving for Carmel grew larger after a certain medical mishap hit me like a Mack truck, ignorance of the American way of doing things during a medical emergency set us back and a series of tos-and-fros had us in limbo for many days and in awe of the human body's resilience.

Without going into too many details, let's just say that after 9 units of American blood over a 10 day-period, I am now feeling much much better. Does that now mean I am half American :-) ?  I will have to look into that!!! But seriously, an event such as the one we(and I say we, because it affected David probably more than it did me) went through leaves you wondering how people fend for themselves facing such issues and at times with very little resources.I was actually very lucky that it happened when it did and that I was in such capable hands as my husband David's and the wonderful professionals I encountered.

At this point, I must speak of the medical facilities I visited during my ordeal. The first one, a Government subsidized establishment, where we unknowingly went because it was the closest to our home and secondly the private one where I was twice admitted as a patient. Here, in the USA, in case of an emergency and if you have medical insurance coverage, you call your physician or Health Care Provider who will meet at the hospital where he or she is practicing. Unlike in Canada where you go to the closest Emergency facility and wait your turn, just as we did here at the public place. At about 6:45 pm,when we arrived at the public hospital, the place was already crowded, sadly, probably mostly with uninsured people and we now had to wait our turn, just as everyone else, to even speak to the first triage nurse. I suppose if you can walk in, as I did, you can sit and wait. Finally it was my turn and after a quick evaluation and to avoid the prospect of  being slapped with a lawsuit should one have a heart attack while in their <care>,  I was taken to a small room for an EKG just to rule out any surprises. After that we waited, and waited and waited some more. After more than 5 hours without seeing a doctor, I decided we should go back home since, coincidentally, I had an appointment scheduled with my physician for a routine visit the following morning.

The next day, we learned of how different things can be when you have insurance coverage and know how to use it. My physician made a few calls and we drove out to Mountain View to the private facility where I was quickly seen and admitted for a procedure and the first overnight stay. This private place is El Camino Hospital (This one I am willing to name) which David and I have since nicknamed THE SPA, although I also heard it being called THE FOUR SEASONS, by someone in the know. First at the ER, you are processed at lightning speed and when taken to a cubicle, a whole team is immediately upon you taking your vitals, installing all manners of monitoring devices on you, making you comfortable and prepping you for hydration, etc. Just like in movies or tv shows, they work quickly and efficiently and look like a well coordinated ballet.  This hospital has to be the best place to land when something major happens to you. It is, after all, The Official Hospital of Silicon Valley. I was even told by several member of medical personnel that of all the hospitals in the region (and there are many) this one is where all serious and dedicated staff want to work and where people want to go for the best care.  It is the most advanced facility around. The wing I was in is about two years old with state of the art equipment including robots that look like small filing cabinets roaming the halls on certain floors to deliver or pick up all kinds of things including lab samples, documents, meals, etc. On the patient floors, the rooms are spacious, super modern and comfortable. Almost like a hotel room, but not quite due to all the tubes delivering goodies into your body :-) The personnel is outstanding and a full team is assigned to you per work shift. You have a personal and direct contact with the people taking care of you and should you request something, it is delivered to you very quickly. There is a glass board on the wall underneath a flat screen television and for each work shift the name of the RN, PN and of several other individuals in charge of your care are listed along with the date, your weight and your height and special notes relative to your case and well being. They truly go above and beyond the call to make you better and it really works.  Oh, and let's not forget the totally Wi-Fi service, a definite plus when you are trapped in bed. :-) .However, I did not have much of an opportunity to sample their cuisine since I was mostly on a liquid to soft diet and anything they allowed me to have I gobbled up indiscriminately. 

 A million thanks to ECH medical and miscellaneous personnel and to the wonderful team of professionals at El Camino GI Medical Associates. By the way, during procedure number 3, the anesthesiologist gave me a drug made famous by none other than Mr. Michael Jackson. Propofol also known as Diprivan. Thankfully for me it worked beautifully and given under close professional supervision,  it is a wonderful drug when you need to be rendered unconscious. Finally, let me add that the body is a wonderous machine and that I am thankful for how well mine performed in those trying times.

I may still not be allowed to have a glass of wine or a spicy meal of any kind  but I certainly can have a wonderful salad so enjoy the following recipe.

Apple and Celery Salad

Serves 4-6

2 large Granny Smith apples
4 Tbs fresh lemon juice
1 large bunch of celery
2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
1/2 cup of raisins
1-2 tsp cumin seeds
4-6 Tbs finely chopped parsley
1 cup toasted peanuts, almonds or cashews
salt and black pepper to taste
6 Tbs extra virgin olive oil

Rinse the apples,dry and cut into quarters, core and chop into bite size pieces. Place in a salad bowl. Drizzle with half the lemon juice. Rinse celery, dry and remove all outer filaments. Chop into bite size pieces and add to bowl. Add garlic, raisins, cumin, parsley and nuts. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with the remaining lemon juice and the oil. Toss well and serve.

Bon appetit !

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