People Stories 2

Ed was his usual funny self and totally had the nurses wrapped around his finger.  “He was a good boy,” they told me after surgery.  Of course, at the time, he was lying in the bed, red-faced, eyes closed, shaking his head back and forth and repeating “no” the entire time in a matter-of-fact voice.  He looked like a petulant two-year-old.  It was so cute!!!  He wasn’t yelling or anything.  He just didn’t want us to keep talking and trying to wake him up, I guess.  He doesn’t remember it but I will remember it from now on.

Not everything was fun though.  I was sitting in the next bed area, separated from Ed by a mere curtain, when they were trying to get the scope down his throat for the TEE.  I hope he was totally out of it and it was just the normal gag reflex I was hearing.  It was difficult to sit there and listen to someone you love gagging and coughing.  They had difficulty, I think, because of the previous tracheotomy he had years ago after a car wreck.  Because it was difficult, they gave him more anesthesia than they usually do so it took him a little longer to wake up.  Because the surgery was delayed a bit, he had more than enough time however to not only wake up but get really tired of waiting.  Tick-tock.

An absolutely heartbreaking incident occurred for our next-door neighbor in the cath lab.  A rather large man, a military veteran, was there to get his heart “shocked” back into a normal rhythm and he also had a TEE before surgery.  Unfortunately, the vet did have blood clots inside the heart and the surgeon decided against surgery until they are dissolved.  He talked to the wife, before her husband had totally come out of the anesthesia, and explained the situation. 

The wife was Asian and English was obviously not her first language.  I’m not sure how much she understood but she did understand that they were cancelling the surgery and sending them home.  After the surgeon left, she burst into tears.  Her husband was on medication that prevented new clots from forming and on meds that thinned his blood, but he was not on medication to dissolve any existing clots.  

“What do I do if one of these suckers break off and travel to my brain before I can get back up here???” 

“What am I supposed to do now???” 

How many times and ways can the hospital staff tell him that he needs to talk to his doctor?  They certainly couldn’t tell him what was going to happen next and what to expect. 

It was very difficult for me to sit by Ed, knowing how lucky he was, and NOT go give this woman, a complete stranger, a hug and a shoulder to cry on.  With her husband upset, all she could do was sit there, head bowed.  I hope it works out well for them but I’ll never know the ending to this story.

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