Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Shhhh...Grand Rounds are up.

I'm running out of ways to announce Grand Rounds to all you medifans. But this time it's easy. Tell you why.

First a thank you to GruntDoc, for the tip, and CodeBlog, for hosting this week's assortment. (Assortment? Like chocolates? GERD diet must be getting to me.)

My favorite entry this time is I Have Seen People Die. Well, naturally, I have a little story:

It was Memorial Day weekend, 1995, I think, when my holiday was preempted by the prequel to the MS diagnosis. A very sober-faced Dr. Bhat gave me the good news and the bad news. This was not an attack of Guillain-Barre, which was often swiftly fatal. So far so good. However, he suspected Multiple Sclerosis.

Huh? What's that? The denial was immediate and complete. I couldn't possibly have something so esoteric, and I certainly wouldn't have anything potentially so debilitating.

Regardless, my butt was summarily popped into the hospital on a holiday weekend. A Solumedrol drip was my introduction to the pleasures of MS therapy, and my roommate was an self-inflicted overdose patient.

Oh, and that was the Skilled Nursing Facility. The holiday pretty much emptied the place, except for my floor, where very elderly people were dying. It took me a day to realize where I was, but my highly sensitive nose had already picked up the scent of death. Extremely subtle, yet indescribable and unforgetable.

Determined to escape, I convinced an astounded Dr. Bhat that I was recovered enough to be released within five days, instead of two to four weeks. There were a few arguments with the good man, but in the end, I had my way. The reasons were many, not the least of which was my upcoming promotion to full time at the paper. I needed the benefits, and the hours would allow me to work only one job, whereas I had been working two for several months.

But the place was quiet (except for a conniving roommate who worked the phones, day and night, manipulating her entire family, and even some exes!), and the nurses were sweet. I left nearly all my flowers with them and returned to work a day later.

Footnote: MammaDog was to become a Certified Nurse's Aide in that ward, ten years later. My atheist daughter did not suffer any of the qualms or superstitions described in CodeBlog's entry. But I enjoyed her story, nonetheless. Hope you do, too. Hats off to the dedicated staff at St. Joseph's Hospital Skilled Nursing Facility and may God bless them.

God bless you, Dear Reader, and yours, and Happy Thanksgiving.

Little Pond

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