Daily Archives: February 24, 2011

Thank you, all

Wow – 125 posts and counting most of which wish me well (we know that Walt would like to do so, if he could). You like me, you really like me! Sally Field and I both thank you, and it was a wonderful gift to come back to. Please know that your affection is returned ten-fold. I have to head off for part of my new-found rehabilitative life-style, but I’ll get to all the comments soon. And my kids, who read these comments and are upset by Walt because they don’t get him (I try, I try), and really pleased. So again, thank you, all.

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Yale New Haven Hospital – what a shame

The medical folks at Yale saved my life this week, so I feel particularly mean-spirited posting this criticism but geeze.

First, the good part: the hospital has suburb medical personnel and procedures. Great surgeons tended me and after-care is conducted by a team specifically dedicated to an individual patient: I had two teams of three nurses each devoted to my care – my roommate across the curtain had different teams. They followed our care intimately, from pain relief  to follow-up care to nutrition and they were all, without exception, incredible people and I am extremely grateful to every one of them.

But I couldn’t use the bathroom in my room because it was filled with overflowing garbage cans, bloody bandages on the floor and wet, filthy towels on the floor and in the shower. The toiled seat and bowl were caked with fecal material. I was too out-of-it to complain the first few days but this morning when I was conscious again a cleaning lady finally showed up and spent maybe ten seconds emptying the garbage can while leaving bloody towels in the shower, shit dripping off the toilet seat and left everything else as it was. I went into the hall and found the most senior surgeon I could find, dressed in scrubs, and dragged him in to see what the hospital’s subcontractors were doing to his hospital’s reputation. He professed himself disgusted and charged off to find the supervising nurse, so maybe something will be done.

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Who said I was a heartless bastard?

Just to prove you wrong, I had a heart attack, and you can’t attack what you don’t have, eh? Or, as Alec Baldwin said in “State and Main, after crawling out of a horrendous car wreck “well, THAT happened.”

After playing with my new snowblower Monday morning, I sat on my deck to recover my breath and was beset by a severe attack of heartburn, extending from my chest, up my neck and straight through to my spine. I have now learned that heart attacks do not always signal themselves by shooting pains down the left arm and in fact, mine were also classic symptoms. Five hours and a half-gallon of Maalox later I decided things were not getting better and against my better judgment (always suspect in these matters), I called my doctor and was sent to the Greenwich Hospital Emergency Room. And here’s a tip: I arrived with my Kindle and cup of coffee, prepared to wait hours to be seen but if you want immediate service, report chest pains, Bam! I was on a table in the examining room within seconds. [But here's a funny story-I pulled up to the Emergency Room door and told the valet that I had no idea how long I'd be because I thought I might be having a heart attack so I might be awhile. "Y'all can't park here then!" Our gatekeeper yelled."go 'round and park in the underground area!'. I was so amused at his stupidity and, at the time, not really convinced I was in fact having a heart attack, I just saluted the fellow and shuffled on 'round the corner. Had I been truly convinced I was in danger, I'd have tossed my keys in his face and told him to park it himself. Instead I had a good laugh and parked five minutes away.] 

The doctors did their thing, including drawing half my blood supply, and tried their best to persuade me to stay the night for observation. I hate hospitals and was pretty adamant about going home until the blood tests came back showing enzyme levels indicating a heart attack. That caught my attention, finally, so I agreed to stay.

They must have sedated me because I have no memory of Monday night nor the 45-minute trip via ambulance to Yale New Haven the next day, nor the procedure that placed three stents in my arteries.There was a time say, 40 years ago when I would have paid good money for whatever they fed me but at 57, I no longer seek that experience. Still, considering they were spending the day threading various contraptions up my arteries, I’m glad the stuff is available.

Poor Pal Nancy drove all the way up to New Haven Tuesday (Wednesday?) to see if our children would still have a father for the foreseeable future and I’m sorry to say I was both rude and groggy – co-related responses. Nothing to do with my love for her, but another lesson to be learned from visiting males in hospital – we do a bad job as hosts. Sorry, Nancy.

UPDATE: Nancy says that we spent several hours watching “To Kill a Mocking Bird” together, and I do have a vague memory of Montgomery Clift( that’s a joke) doing his thing, so again, thank you Nancy.

I began to regain some kind of coherent consciousness last night (they showed Godfather II on AMC – still good) and I was sprung late this morning with instructions to go and sin no more.I guess I won’t, or at least, not so often.

But thank you for all the kind messages and phone calls inquiring about my status. It seems I’ll be around to annoy y’all for some time to come.

Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition.

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