During a recent brief hospital stay, my mother casually mentioned to me that one of her nurses recognized her from a brief hospital stay a few months earlier.  (She’s doing well, thank you.)

She and I were both surprised by this.  My mother is not a frequent visitor to the hospital, a place that does quite a lot of business.  It’s not out of the question, of course.  I, for example, only see my mother at Christmas, but I recognize her on sight almost every time.  And there are blackjack dealers in Vegas who recognize me every year when I go out on vacation, despite the fact that they see upwards of 100,000 players in between, and I’m not the kind of high-roller that gets noticed.

But it got me thinking about how being recognized on sight is a mixed bag.  Sometimes you want to go where (almost) everybody knows your name, and they’re (usually) glad you came.  Other times not so much.  For example:  Continue reading

Malpractice makes malperfect

(Note: This is part 3 of a longer story.  Parts 1, 2, and 4 are here, here, and here.)

If Hippocrates were alive today, his oath would look something like this:

“First, don’t screw up.  Then blah blah blah medicine something…”

Thursday was the surgery to fix my (non-itchy) trigger finger.  There’s not much of a coherent narrative here, but I did want to point out a few highlights for those playing along at home.

Tuesday night the hospital called to make all the arrangements.  The call began oddly, with the nurse/receptionist’s first question, “Can you tell me what surgery you’re having?”  Note that she called me, and apparently this question (which I would hear repeatedly before the surgery was over) was a test for me, to see if I was the right person.  Once I guessed right, she proceeded to ask me the exact same 5 pages of questions I had answered when I went to the doctor’s office in the first place.

Now, honor compels me to point out my own shortcomings.  I don’t always pay attention.  I especially don’t pay attention when I think I know what’s what.  I once started an online relationship with a lovely young lady from Greenville.  It wasn’t until we got to the point of arranging to meet that I realized that she lived not in Greenville, NC (about 90 minutes away) but in Greenville, SC (about 5 hours away).  That didn’t work out as well.

I bring this point up only because I went to the wrong hospital. Continue reading

The Stroke Saga

The Stroke Saga

Once upon a time, there was a little boy who had a little stroke…

OK, technically I was neither little nor a boy, but on May 26, 2011, I had a minor stroke, or to be a little less oxymoronic, a very small part of my brain starved to death one morning.  I didn’t know what it was at the time, but I ended up spending 3 weeks in the hospital learning how to stand and walk again.

During that time, I kept my friends updated via Facebook.  I did this for a number of reasons, the most important of which was to stay ahead of the rumor mill.  But I also wrote about my experiences for my benefit, to make sure I was still me, and that the damage was purely physical and not mental.

But something odd happened.  What started as data points slowly turned into a story.  A story about a man trying to mock his way through the worst thing that had ever happened to him.  And largely succeeding.  After 45 years of watching TV, I was suddenly living in a poorly scripted House/Scrubs crossover episode.  And since I seemed to be the only one aware of it, I took it upon myself to make the experience as entertaining for everyone else as I could.

A lot of people laughed, both in and out of the hospital.  That made the whole experience livable.  Once I started to write that the whole experience would have been fascinating if it were happening to someone else.  I never wrote that, because if this had happened to someone I cared about, I would have been basically useless.  I can laugh at things happening to me that I couldn’t if they happened to someone else.  Because I believe that the good Lord is looking out for me.  Laying in the hospital the first night, I found myself faced with two possibilities: either God had forgotten to keep me from having a stroke, or God knew and let it happen for a reason.  And once I got down to that question, the answer was easy.  And my response was surprisingly easy, too.  “OK, let’s see what you have planned this time.” Continue reading