But first with the worry.
I rushed my guy to the ER Friday afternoon after insisting on taking his temperature. Why oh why do men like to “play it cool” even when in obvious discomfort? I suppose the answer to that goes back millennium, maybe to the first cavemen.
Whatever, after pushing the thermometer in his mouth rather forcefully, we discovered his temp was high. Really high. Per his doctor’s instructions, I drove him to the ER, and that’s when the story begins.
The nurses and doctors poked and prodded, all kinds of medical tests occurred from 5 p.m. to midnight, consultations transpired between radiologists to internist to GI specialists to neurologists to …. Well, you get the picture. During this time each nurse/doctor/technician treated my guy like he was their friend. Like they cared.
Making sure of the diagnosis before treatment, the GI surgeon finally did his part at 9 the next morning – laparoscopic appendectomy. An hour later the surgeon called and talked to me for over 15 minutes about the result. He immediately relaxed me (“my team is pleased with the surgical success”) but also then explained the entire procedure and the not so-good-news – perforated appendix and resultant infection.
So, then on to the infectious disease specialists, who tested the bacteria in my guy’s blood to find the right antibiotic that would kill the “bad bugs” (my guy’s terminology) and fight the infection.
Many tests. Days in the hospital until they got it right. My guy’s mood was brightened by morning sunshine, nurses and PCAs who smiled and brought him a cup of coffee before breakfast and laughed at his puns (right there – reason to applaud nurses forever), and treated him like a man, not a number or a “subject.”
I was lucky enough to be able to visit my guy in his room, and staff answered my questions gracefully – the many years of education these nurses and doctors have gone through; the loans they’re saddled with (several nurses live at home with their parents so they can pay off their loans), their struggle with Covid (in the Spring, the surgical unit was all Covid patients, and several of the nurses were infected and isolated at their homes for weeks).
Not one patronizing specialist in the group – and for those who read my fictional story last week, no Juliana either (Know Thyself ). Also, over half the medical specialists who treated my guy were women.
I think medical professionals have figured out how to smile with their eyes so patients can feel assured, despite masks and tons of sanitizer squirts every few minutes.
How we read and hear so much bad news about health care, about disease and pain, but little about the small stuff – the real picture of day-to-day care from professionals who not only do their jobs, but go beyond treatment and into the realm of empathetic healing.