Thursday, September 4, 2014

CAUGHT IN THE ACT OF CARING



MY INSIDE REVIEW OF T-TOWN’S HEALTHCARE ADDITION

Temecula, CA – Readers who come here know my adventures in print are always as something completely different in nature as Monty Python. So it is with this latest review post about the new Temecula Valley Hospital, T-town’s inaugural effort in bringing a city hospital to the area’s largest town/district. In a tale of being in chase of another story [for another time], I had a momentary lapse of reason, today called a syncopal episode.

Needless to say, things came to a halt as did the rest of the barber shop, as I waited on my friend who was getting his hair cut, and 911 was called. By the time the ambulance came, still quite a bit woozy and now laying flat on the floor, I was loaded onto a stretcher and into a vehicle. Having chased plenty ‘ambulances’ for stories in the past, I was now in a real one. From the back glass view, even as I was stumbled through the ID process, with the siren blaring I was loving it. It may seem twisted but I knew a story was coming out of this experience on my way to my latest adventure.

As Jack Webb, quoted in the opening of Memoirs of Mr. Pete said, “Just the facts.”

Like the opening to some classic TV med series, my stretchered bod was quickly moved from the back of the ambulance with this 21st century hydraulic scissor stretcher that worked slicker than Brycream. Moving with urgency down the new brightly lit hallways decorated with various large size matted color photos of the tourist parts of Temecula. Some of the locations are familiar but others are not as having been there, but all are done with the theme of artful postcard images from this beautiful valley,  ie: the wineries, Old Town, horses, etc. The polished wood hallways with automatic doors gave the feeling of being in the future for someone who hadn’t seen a doctor on any level save one, in a long, long time. We’re talking when MTV played videos long. I was also impressed by a feeling of warmth, but since all my senses weren’t firing I put that the ‘hmm’ list as things were a little shaky.

There was no wait in the emergency room and a lady came out to welcome me to the hospital. She gathered my info as I didn’t have any medical paperwork except my primary Dr’s biz card. I heard an older couple being told to hold tight as a hospital/Dr. was sought on their plan. This was, after all, a Sunday, but the pleasant sounding admitting receptionist was soothing. It wasn’t long before I was cleared and into the processing area I went. Different attendants along the line were talking to me so as to assess my current faculties, but after a reasonable wait and questions, I was told the next bed would be more comfortable and shown to my room on the third floor for tests and observation. This is at the heart of a hospital, my Uncle Chunk, a doctor with a pool, often said. 

That heart starts at the bed, something that you are going to have to spend the majority of your time in, and the room around it. The three section bed had enough flexibility and the mattress was more than comfortable, for a hospital bed. Before we get to the heartbeat, [the staff], I have to say it was those little led lights under my bed that really gave a comfort in a strange place. Before I gained enough ‘lay of the land’ to request my door be closed at night rather than ajar [being in the best spot in the place on any floor, just outside the front desk], I was privy to the heartbeat.

Like with politics, most people seem to have a total willingness to follow the medical system. I put this down to not knowing medical philosophy, or at least the difference between eastern and western trains of thought. In the west, the doctor is responsible for a patient’s health. In the east, the patient is responsible for his own. Though our system appears to be western, the President’s 2010 Report on Cancer [see achieves] says corruption has made it eastern. In short, common sense and awareness are the cheese. 

Though I was offered bowl softeners, cholesterol meds, and blood thinners, plus other meds, the ones I OK’d beside my usual med were aspirin and magnesium, an electrolyte that was low, blood tests revealed. A side effect of cholesterol meds is constipation, hence the bile softeners, and you want your blood to coagulate if something should happen, heaven forbid. I was getting some tasty baby aspirin to chew anyway.*

To bear witness I listened to a night supervisor mount a call for a doctor permission allow the cancellation of a drug he had deduced from seeing a reaction. Before I dozed off, I heard his persistence pay off and he was permitted to stop the drug’s administration. For people who put total faith in the system, you want a staff watching your back. I zzzzd a pint down, with a smile on my face.

The morning revealed a room that could rival any valley hotel view-wise and looked westward ho to where the wagons rolled along the grade in the far distance by the hills next to the I-15, seen only by the glint of reflective metal. Though the sun would come in the room later on that day, at no time did it approach the bed to be in my eyes, or even close. I wondered, did a Native American lay out this room angle? Indeed, the whole building is aligned adjacent to highway 79 and seems reminiscent to Vegas for some reason. My Jimmy Olsen says that the Temecula Valley Hospital costs about a mil a room while the California average is two mil a room. Here’s the magic, Sports Fans. You have your own room. My picky friend AJ was surprised by that even. 




The tele was dead center and a second tier cable selection was available for those better insurance plans, but I wasn’t at the spa plus for someone who doesn’t watch cable, I was content. The remote had all you needed for maintenance and a separate phone, sleekly styled very retro, worked to order your food from a generous menu and make outside calls. When the door was closed, all hallway noise ceased and that was perfect after the evening and morning of the next day.

The staff who saw me changed each day and each shift. Everyone was professional and followed procedure to ensure no screw-ups, but I would say that in light of recent Murrieta media and Ferguson’s never healed wounds, it was TVH’s immense richness of diversity, both in races, cultures, and backgrounds that gave rise to my original feeling of warmth. Several members I asked, since on the second day I was more back to me being me, all talked of how much they enjoyed the hospital and their fellow staff, as a unit. Whenever I said no to a pill there was never any argument and no god attitude. In fact, the doctors are like the policemen of Canada in attitude.

The nurse staff was always attentive without anything that you would see on MTV, but neither were they stiff or wooden. This was genuine concern and attention to detail without being sterile. You could sense that working there would be cool in a way which Temecula shows has heart. Though I was ready to leave and get back to my writer/activist schedule by the third day when my heart showed no attack, my brain showed no stoke, and my bile’s didn’t need softening, I had met as interesting a staff as might be had outside the 420Nurses.

So here’s my thanks. From what I once did study about syncope since I do have a history of this is, doctors cannot figure this phenomena out. It appears to be a winking out of sorts, or a restart since we are an organic machine. The one precaution is not to be driving a race car when an episode occurs. More than likely this won’t happen to me and a sense of warning occurs first. Best scenario is to be seated and then see what condition you are in when you awaken. Even electronic tracking doesn’t yield a solution. There do appear to be causes that trigger such episodes.

One such cause is low blood sugar, which tests revealed me to have upon entry into the hospital. Another was the electrolyte magnesium, which was also low by hospital standards. Being dehydrated, which I was since I hadn’t started my daily regime of tea with honey, didn’t help. I may not be a rock star but on my budget in this post-911 boom-bust market as a baby-boom-busted, I’m a lean machine running on heavy metal and as finicky as an Italian sports car. Thanks for proving it, Temecula Valley Hospital.

If you’re gonna get sick anywhere in the valley, try to do it in Temecula. 

Thanks to All the Staff & Dr. Jimmy

Fade to black

After the credits part: Thomas the Rhymer, Google it; As is in my Chapter 7, this is a historical start down “the path less traveled” is mentioned in the poem of the same name.

Monsanto’s goal, see Georgia Guildstones, Google Maps.

(*- Bet you thought I only knew about the cool drugs. Wrong-O!! )

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