Reporter offers thanks to officials at local hospital
By: By JOHN BRANNON Messenger Staff Reporter
Truth is, I have lots of thoughts on this subject and hasten to put some of them in writing and hope it will receive a favorable reception from you.
The subject at hand? Baptist Memorial Hospital-Union City as a whole and its critical care unit (CCU) in particular.
No, this is not a complaint. It’s a thank you, a public thank you to the folks who work CCU.
I spent some time there about a year ago. When at last I was discharged and happily so — I am the world’s worst about having to be tied down two or three or four days for whatever reason — someone asked me about the place. I didn’t have to think about an answer. It was already on my mind. “Well, I’ll tell you one thing,” I said. “It’s the kind of place where, when you go there, they’re on you like a duck on a June bug. Nothing gets by ’em, nothing falls through the cracks.”
That was my assessment of the situation back then. And having relived the experience, so to speak, it still applies.
Recently, I had to return to the hospital. As a result, I spent four days in CCU. Terrible ordeal. For me, that is, not for the people who work there. I say it was terrible because I was shut down for four days. It’s not a cake walk to go from being very active one moment to being shut down the next moment. But I had to grit my teeth and bear it.
I suppose I was not a good patient. There’s something to be said for being 69 years old and an old grouch like that fellow on “The Odd Couple.” But they took it all in stride and put up with me, and frankly I don’t think I could have been as gracious and forgiving as they were.
I learned right away that had I waited two days to seek help, I probably would have gone into severe heart failure. So in that regard, I brushed close to the flame. But these good folk at CCU pulled me back to safety.
I want to give you the names of those involved in my recovery, albeit I suspect recovery is a temporary thing and sooner or later a pacemaker will have to be installed in my chest. That’s under discussion at the moment. Meanwhile, I’m allowed to be out and about as best I can stand it.
I offer my thanks to these good folks who work in CCU and came in contact with me (God bless ’em, each and every one!):
• Dr. James Hall and his great nurse, Donna. Hall’s a cardiologist; she’s a mind reader. Always one step ahead of me. Hall must be a very patient M.D., the way he’s put up with me the last two or three years.
• Dr. Gerald Stipanuk. I don’t know his particular specialty. I just know I like this guy and his bedside manner, so to speak.
• Dr. Durwood Flournoy. He commutes from Mayfield, Ky., to Union City, and might I say Union City got a great deal when he turned his head in our direction. This guy can discuss the ins and outs of a medical problem. Has it down to a fine art. Moreover, he verbalizes it in a way that even dunderheads like me can understand. (Science never was my strong suit.)
• Registered nurses Elizabeth Reid (what a sweetheart!), Teresa Coupe, Barbara Mont-gomery, May Fernandez and Fred Grossner and LPN Juanita Bradshaw.
Here’s a little anecdote about registered nurse May Fernandez. The first night of my sojourn in that Mecca of Mercy, she sat by my bed and said, “This will sting a little,” as she inserted a needle into a vein. I didn’t feel a thing, and I told her so. Same thing on subsequent jabs into my ancient flesh. I tell you, she’s got that needle thing down to a “T,” as they say.
And let me tell you a little something about nurse Grossner. This guy is in his late 40s or early 50s. Big and burley, has big hands. He has been an RN only a few years. Of course, he’s been through proper schooling and other training to prepare him, as they all do, to work the floor, which I guess means a hospital ward. Well, here’s what shocked me. While in casual conversation with him, I learn he was a farmer 20-plus years before he went into the nursing profession. When he told me that, my journalist’s instincts went on full alert. I have asked him to sit down with me and my tape recorder sometime and tell his story, how he went from farming to nursing. He says he’ll think about it. And don’t get me wrong. I notice he can insert needles into veins and arteries or remove them as smooth as the girls can.
The Veterans Administration has rated me with a 20 percent disability due to exposure to Agent Orange while in Vietnam. I tell you this because VA has declared that exposure to that awful chemical — aviators got the brunt of it — has led to Type II diabetes.
Having to put up with diabetes means having to put up with fluid accumulating around the heart and lungs and in ankles and feet. Also, they tell me my ticker has gone off on a tangent of its own making, or is it Agent Orange’s making? I don’t know. All those doctors know and I know is my heart is not content to beat at a respectable 85 or 90 beats a minute, it wants to jump into overdrive and wear itself out at 120 pulses per minute. They are giving me stuff to bring the heart rate down. We’ll see if it works.
The great folks at CCU did their professional thing — took fluid off my body, changed my medication, set up a program of treatment and so forth — and now we’ll see if I have the discipline in my backbone to adhere to their wise guidance.
We’ll just have to wait and see.
But this I know: It’s not Just a Thought, the way I feel about these folks and what they did for me. It’s a lot of thoughts.
Yet the central theme of those thoughts is this: Thank you. And thank you again. Union City is fortunate to have you associated with its local hospital.
Published in The Messenger 5.2.08