6-23-10

Comments on the blog are better than any medicine.

Status: 9.25/10. Had an LP today, and anytime you get stuck with a needle you just gotta deduct some points.

Events:  Today was the beginning of numerous evaluation tests to make sure I’m in good shape for a transplant; started off the morning with blood drawing (simply to reassure the folks in radiology that my platelets were high enough that they could safely perform a lumbar puncture).  Then off for a quick EKG, which is done in another corner of the hospital. The delightful technician in the heavily air-conditioned EKG suite asked me to remove my shirt, but immediately handed me a warmed gown.  It was a first –  comfortable, comforting, and confidence building.  Not only did I feel good, I thought, “These folks know what they’re doing.”  It takes so little to put a patient’s mind at ease (think of all the people who have no idea what’s in store when they’re sent for an EKG).

One of the many good things at Hopkins is that they show you your test results.  The tech handed me my EKG, and although most people would have no idea what the squiggles meant, I could quickly tell I had not had a recent heart attack, an electrical conduction problem, or an enlarged heart (that’s myocardial infarction, left bundle branch block, or left ventricular hypertrophy, in doctor talk).

Next up were pulmonary function tests.  As you go through a number of exercises, they measure your normal breathing volume, your total lung capacity, how much and how fast you can forcefully exhale, and a number of other sophisticated measurements that were beyond me.  For those familiar with the tests, they come accompanied by a technician who’s yelling, “More, more, more!  Keep going, keep going!  Hold it, hold it!”  I’d swear that each one of them in college was a coxswain on their rowing team.  All of my major measures were above those predicted for my age, weight, and height, so I’m starting off with a good heart and lungs.

Lisa and I grabbed a quick lunch (she specifically wanted me to relate that mine was California roll and chocolate layer cake and ice cream).  And then we traveled back to the outpatient clinic where I would rest after my upcoming LP, but for the sole purpose of getting a gurney to take down to radiology with us (if you don’t come with one, you don’t leave with one!).  We grabbed a blanket as well.

The LP was as usual, a radiology fellow doing the procedure, but a wait for the supervising (billing) physician.  I went over in a gentle way what made for a good LP (slow injection of the numbing lidocaine, let it sit awhile to take effect – otherwise what’s the point).  Lisa later laughed, and using a deep announcer’s voice, intoned, “Bruce Dan, changing medicine, one doctor at a time.”

And as usual, despite my hinting that I’d like a calm, quiet ride on the gurney back the outpatient area, the two assistants pushing it were gabbing loudly the whole way back about how much they liked/didn’t like their jobs.  They seemed totally unaware I was lying on the bed in between them.   Don’t know if I’m gonna be able to fix this one – seems like they missed something in kindergarten.

Comments: Tomorrow is another long day, back for an early 4-hour class on bone marrow transplantation, x-rays, CT scans, and a meeting with social worker.  Feels like the merry-go-round is starting to move pretty fast

My love to everyone,

-Bruce

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11 Responses to “”

  1. sheldan Says:

    Why in the world would someone comment in public about how they hate their job? Maybe they really don’t care, which is very scary in a hospital.

    Apparently I’ve read a lot here about how little some people care about their jobs, because you seem to have had a lot of that while waiting for your procedures. They better not be careless about what they wish for! These days, finding something else may not be as easy as years ago.

  2. Reggie & Fred Says:

    Bruce Dan’s EKG:

    Composition: Heart of gold

    Tenor: Sweet heart

    DX: ALL HEART!

    Good luck in a.m. We’re thinking of you!

  3. Judie Davidson Says:

    Keeping up and thinking about you while I am cycling from Anacortes,WA to Fargo, ND. Hugs. Judie

  4. Hopie Says:

    At least they won’t be poking you tomorrow, Should be a much easier day, Have a nice day! What are they going to do to you on Friday?
    Remember when you didn’t like questions, like 45 years ago?
    Love, Me

  5. Dave Kranz Says:

    We are rooting for you out here in Sacramento. Go get ’em!

  6. wendy Says:

    Here’s the advice I give my patients… make friends with all of them and especially all the “power players.” (those would be the higher ups and anyone who has any contact with you.) And how is it that you and Lisa can’t speak up before you get onto those gurney rides. I’d be either telling them about who you do know in the hospital, who else dragged you around and how wonderful they were and the letter you write for all those who treat you right…because they were quiet and careful and compassionate., AND if none of that worked..perhaps a bribe to keep their mouths shut would work. Wanna bet they’d take it? Given how much they hate their jobs I think they’d take it..Look how much you’ve learned.

  7. Denise Hanten Says:

    I’d love to think that health care workers are the cream of the crop, but speculate that they are just the same old cross section of people, with those guerney transport guys at the bottom of the heap. In defense of transport teams, we never had a bad experience at Loma Linda Med Center when my son was on the trauma unit last year and the most wonderful patient advocate I ever worked with was a transport aid at a hospital where I worked.
    On a cheerier note, I am walking in the Relay for Life this weekend in Corona Calif, a 24 hour relay to raise money for the American Cancer Society. I will be walking to honor you and the many friends and relatives I have who are fighting and those who fought the good fight like both my parents. I will walk in the survivors lap and know you will one day be able to do the same! I will be thinking of you…. at 2 am, 3 am, etc!

  8. Hopie Says:

    I had lots of those puilmonary functions after my heart surgeries and with Asthma with Dr. Phil ( Lieberman, that is). They keep pushing to get the best they can out of you. Love, Love, Love.

  9. Hopie Says:

    We already knew you hhad a GOOD heart

  10. joel steinberg Says:

    It’s good that you go into this with above-average cardiac and pulmonary function. Be optimistic. Joel and Margaret S.

  11. Donna Hill Howes Says:

    I’m with Hopie….we already knew you had a great heart….and a sweetheart as your amazing partner….perfect!
    Glad to hear the journey has begun….because the sooner it begins, the sooner is will be history….
    You are so blessed to have a brother as a perfect match and a remission to get you started on your way back to complete health.
    Oh, and you have an army of friends who love you both so very much!
    Sending you plenty from California.
    XO
    Donna

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