"Oh That's Not Good"
On Monday, June 11th, wax stent in hand, I arrived at the hospital ready to begin another day of simulation. I'm in a positive mood. Things are moving forward. I check in at the nurses station and find a seat in the waiting room. A short time passes when the doctor's assistant comes to me and tells me the simulator I'm scheduled on is not working.(remember the tech telling me how reliable these things were?) Since some of my confidence has obviously faded I ask, "Did you plug it in?" She just grins and tells me that it will be a short wait until they can fit me into another machine.
As I wait I'm listening to music on my Ipod, stomach churning to the beat, and for the first time throughout all this I think of my Aunt Louise. I remembered the last time she spoke with me. She had just taken a Caribbean Cruise and called to tell me how much fun she had meeting people and sipping champagne. She told me she bought a beautiful bracelet and just loved it. The excitement in her voice was with childlike enthusiasm! She told me she was planning to come see me and my new home soon. Maybe in a month or so.
Weeks went by and I didn't hear from her. She lived with Grandma Herman in Pembroke Pines, Florida. I called and my cousin, Marsha, answered the phone...Louise was dying. She had been in the hospital for the last two weeks and she begged Marsha to take her home to die. They removed the furniture in the living room and turned it into a hospital room. I was on the next plane.
When I arrived she was seated in a wheel chair. She could not speak. This was not the woman I spoke with two weeks ago. On the table rests a beautiful 8 x 10 photo of Louise from her cruise. She looked great, beautiful, vibrant, full of joy. How can this happen? So full of life one minute and ready to check out the next?
I approached Louise, knelt next to her and said, "Hi Auntie." She smiled, but not a word. She was ghostly white and cold to the touch. Marsha explained to me that she couldn't understand me. I knew Marsha was an RN, but Louise smiled at me when I said Hi. Marsha told me, "She does that with everyone, she's gone Brian"
I knew Louise understood me, She had to, she smiled at me! I began to whisper in her ear and remind her of a vacation that my mom, Louise, and Grandma Herman took. They were in Las Vegas. Louise was always the make-up queen. Never to be seen without it. She even wore false eyelashes.
One night she removed her eyelashes and set them in an ashtray so they wouldn't get misplaced. My mother, being a smoker, (see what's coming??) put out her cigarette in the ashtray and melted the precious eyelashes! Louise was pissed and had to buy a new pair before ANYTHING else could proceed on their vacation!
As I remind Louise of the story she erupts in laughter! Smiles ear to ear and laughing. Marsha said, "What happened." I explained, "I told her a story. She's still in there Marsha."
Within a few days it was over. I held her in my arms as she lay there dying. She was fighting, struggling, her strength was amazing, not ready to go. She fought hard. I whispered in her ear, "Relax Auntie, just relax and let go, just let go, it's time." She drew one big breath and sighed. Her struggle was over. As I held her lifeless body in my arms, I began to cry. She battled breast cancer for over 20 years.
As I reflect, still waiting for my simulation, tears rolling down my face, I hear a voice,"Mr. Walin we're ready for you. Are you OK?" I'm so deeply lost in the memory. I snap back to my reality, wipe my tears, "Yes, I'm fine let's go!"
I enter the simulation room. I assume the position on the table as instructed. They work on my neck placing tape, marking my face. Positioning my head, they want to take X-rays. I'm handed my stent and it breaks in half before I even get it in my mouth...remember the fellow (grad student) made it.
Now you need to understand my Radiologist's personality or should I say lack of one. He looks like a clean cut Einstein with a Cheshire cat grin ear to ear and says VERY little. As he looks at me, I hold out my hand with the broken mouth piece. In a very calm, monotone voice he says, "Oh that's not good." I kinda figured that!
I'm told to run up to dental, explain that this must be repaired as a priority and that Radiology is waiting for it. So, I go. I'm starting to get angry. The broken machine, the broken stent...now I'm asked to run an errand. I'm sick, I'm tired why should I have to do all the running! I explain to the dental receptionist that my stent broke in half. Without even looking at it she says, "Well you shouldn't bite down on it so hard." I snap, "I didn't even get it into my mouth!" (I'm sure you can fill in what I'm thinking right now!)
I wait in the office for over an hour. Shifting my weight, trying to stay off my bedsore and feeling my stomach churn. I ask how much longer only to get, "They're working on it." Two hours pass and I've had enough. This is a wax stent that requires some heat to fix. I could do it with a lighter in five minutes! WTF!
I tell the receptionist I'm not waiting any longer. It should have been done by now. This was a priority. I leave and head downstairs back to Radiology. Growing ever so fed up with all this crap! I grab a tech and tell him I'm going home. He begs, "Please Mr. Walin just wait, we can take care of this. Just let me page your doctor."
I pace in the lobby for 15 minutes then hunt down the tech. "So??? Where is he??" Kindly the tech explains, "He hasn't returned my page."
"WRONG ANSWER! That's it. I'm done. Until you guys can get your shit together, I'm outta here! Tell my doctor I'm going home!" I walk to my bus stop and sit and wait...story of my life right now. When the bus arrives I get on and, Art the bus driver, asks how my day was. I tell him I've just walked out on my doctor. Then Art says, "Oh that's not good." I chuckled to myself and said, "Yup, that's the comment that started it all Art." The second time I've heard that today.
|This is the bus that took me to the hospital everyday|
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