Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Doctors and More Doctors

Two friends are scheduled for surgery in the next week.  One is happy.  One needs to stay optimistic.

G has had vision issues most of his life.  As I recall, he came to college with a goal of medical school, but dropped out because his vision would not tolerate the amount of reading required of a pre-med student.  Big Bummer.  As his dreams shattered, I suspect that some of his self-image smashed along with them, creating a huge ball that he's been dragging around with the proverbial chain ever since.   He still spends a lot of time muttering that he never lived up to his full potential.  Now a doctor is offering him a procedure that could bring his vision from the practically-blind-even-with-the-glasses to just-some-guy-who-wears-glasses.   He has the procedure on Tuesday morning.

M has been fighting circulatory issues for a years.  He's had bypass surgery that didn't work.  "But it's OK," he says.  "My body created a natural bypass."  He's had at least one angiogram.  He's a PAD (peripheral artery disease) patient, making even simple exercise like walking difficult.  His doctor says he has smaller-than-average arteries even when they are clean -- which his apparently haven't been for years.  He is a beef eater and a milk drinker -- both contributors to arterial congestion.  He has another angiogram scheduled for tomorrow morning, and expects it to be followed immediately by angioplasty so that he comes home with at least one stent.

M told me yesterday that he'd just go and have the procedure done, then call his daughter to pick him up when it was over.  I thought about all people I know who have had similar procedures, and all the people who care about them who hang out at the hospital and worry and read or do needlework or chatter mindlessly to a friend until the procedure is over, then hang out a bit longer until their loved one is ready to come home or be admitted to a "guest room" for one or more nights.  We're there to hold a hand, offer a prayer or an encouraging word, talk to the doctor as soon as he or she has something to report.  Sometimes we're there to support the spouse or children.  We're there, and we stay there, because we care -- and because that's what we hope someone will care enough to do for us.

I asked if his daughter wouldn't be there at the hospital with him. "Oh, no!" he said.  "She has to work."  So I was pleased this afternoon when he told me she -- and her husband -- would pick him up at some horribly early hour, take him to the hospital, and stay there until he was ready to leave.  He didn't expect that she'd do that.  I did.

Give thanks for the advancements in medical science that make these new diagnostic and repair procedures possible.  Give thanks for the doctors, nurses and technicians who use these procedures often, with skill and caring.  Give thanks for family and friends who care enough to be there in support of someone they love.

Don't forget to pray ....  

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