Tom’s new knee is a go! Three days after lift-off, he has returned from outer space (no longer on morphine) and is walking the earthly halls without being attached to tubes and monitors. He has improved from frowny pain face #8 (severe) to smiley face #2 (mild) on the Faces Pain Scale that serves as the #1 pain barometer in hospitals these days. The credit for Tom’s rapid progress goes to everyone in mission control…the surgeon, the doctors, the hospital, the nurses, the PT’s (physical therapists) and the amazing care from ALL involved with helping him take his first giant Titanium step for mankind.
So, if you’re going to go under the knife, the hammer and the chisel to get that new knee in place, Dr. Paul Gilbert, his team and their shiny new-joint tool bench are the best. Then internist, Dr. George Jung (aka George of the Jungle) and cardiologist, Dr. Greg Geisler (lover of Hana, Maui) made sure that Tom’s other body parts (like his heart) were pumping and working to get him through surgery.
Upon arriving at pre-op, Tom put on his new-fangled dressing gown and then nurses started entering his vital information into computer devices which then started tracking his every move from medication to blood pressure. All this worked just fine as long as he could remember his birth date. That’s where I became valuable, particularly when he started telling everyone he was born in 1984. The blue, kind of bubble-suit-gown that he was now tied into had openings that looked like suction holes in which you’d insert a vacuum cleaner hose. In this case, once hooked up, the nurse could start blowing warm air into his various body parts to prevent hypothermia during surgery or while he laid there on a cold, hard gurney. In Tom’s case, it sort of looked like he was being given a penile implant or some kind of blow therapy. Obviously, the hospital didn’t want anyone thinking that, so they installed cute little shades on the small window in the room’s door. I think that any of us facing a hospital stay would dream that the experience could be like staying at the Four Seasons Resort Hotel. The Huntington Hospital in Pasadena comes as close to that as you can get. Upon arriving, valet parking welcomes you. And it’s the best deal in town…only $7 per day. I noticed that the Huntington focuses on that name now and not the Huntington Memorial which still stands as the original sign at the entrance. To me, the word “memorial” conjures up cemetery and/or funeral-like feelings as a place where you check in, but don’t check out. Once inside the beautiful building, the entire support staff (from nurses to those who keep your room sparkling) are the friendliest and most responsive that we’ve experienced in a hospital setting. Push a button and you get lively, happy nurses. In Tom’s case, it was Shwe (pronounced “Shway”) and Shirley who eagerly came to his side in 30 seconds. No kidding. …to be cont’d in next week’s blog.