From Traffic Court in Weehawken to St. Mary’s Hospital in Hoboken. What an interesting life I have been leading lately. St. Mary’s was to be avoided, they said. I had never been there, didn’t know anyone who had, but I had met a podiatrist who was a little too enthusiastic about surgery for my taste, and he was the head of podiatry there, so I personally affirmed the bad things people had said. But the ambulance that picked me up only went to St. Mary’s, so there I was.
The EMT got to the point, and did his job superbly. He is hoping to join the Marines in two years. He has to be evaluated every three months (? maybe four, maybe two) and each time he has to have shown some physical improvement. Any backsliding and he will be rejected when he is reviewed before joining. Wow. He’s going to Hudson Community College and said he was terrible at writing, so I told him that if he needs to write any essays or applications, he should call me and I’d help him with them. He already knew where I lived, but I gave him my phone number, too. After he gets into the Marines for an eight-year term he hopes to go to medical school. …Who said we don’t want hispanic immigrants….
I can’t count the doctors who visited me in my room, each nicer and more competent than the next. My three nurses, Carlo, Calvin, and Mary Ellen were outstanding — kind, responsive, humorous, and competent. By the time Mary Ellen arrived today I thought it was so old-fashioned to have a female nurse.
The surgeon, Dr. Kaufman, was warmly recommended, as a person first, a surgeon second, by someone on his “surgical team.” My roommate had her appendix removed, and I heard him give her all the information she asked for, and afterwards, she recovered quickly. When he visited me, he was down-to-earth, acute in his diagnosis, and not at all eager to perform surgery, which I didn’t need in the end.
Okay, so they forgot to give me the meds I usually take at home. If the meds had been, say, insulin, I would have fussed (or died), but time got so upside down, and I slept so much, I just didn’t take them. This was partially my fault because I almost didn’t stay at St. Mary’s in the beginning because of insurance concerns, and there was confusion getting me registered.
They also gave me Jello-O and apple juice instead of soft foods for dinner last night. As Calvin and I talked about these errors, we got laughing harder and harder. The emotional support there was so strong that I couldn’t get upset. Emotional support is every bit as important as taking your blood pressure medicine for a day. Do you know that they have one man on my floor who cries out, “Ah Ah Ah Ah” all the time, and “Christine! Christine! Christine!” and “Help me! Help me! Help me!” and the nurses jolly him down. Mary Ellen told me he has been there for a year! He’s a pain in the neck but they hate to think of him going into a nursing home, where nobody is going to, for example, plan his November 11th birthday party.
I had my CAT scan at 3:30am on Saturday morning, and the tech was training a rookie. He was precise, patient, and careful in his instructions, watched the rookie intently. They weren’t going through the motions, they were hard at work.
At first it looked as if I had an intestinal blockage, which might have required surgery, but it was “only” a severe viral enteritis. Over the two days I was there, the diagnosis because clearer and clearer, and the doctors kept me informed every step of the way. As a bonus, I learned from Mary Ellen (“I’m a nurse 43 years!”) that my GP, Angelo deMarco (“I known him since he was a resident”) took on, with other doctors, nursing duties when the nurses were on strike many years ago, and also that his mother was an opera singer.
Oh, and I forgot to tell you that they allowed me to wear my own nightgown and bathrobe, and the visiting hours were humanitarian. They all wanted me to get well, and each person did their part with enthusiasm and good will to make that happen, which it quickly did. Mary Ellen said good-bye “Hope the next time I see you it’s on Washington Street.”