Posting will be light for awhile:
I picked up an infection under the nail bed of my thumb, and it went necrotic: giant gray pus sack and everything. The primary care doctor misread the early signs, when I showed them to him. But on second visit he ordered me straight to the emergency room. The infection, said the crusty old ER doctor, was dining on my flesh. And might take the bone as dessert.
And he worried that I’d scatter pus all over his ER.
The ER doctor hooked me up with a surgeon that day – no easy task – and the surgeon cleaned out my thumb that night. I stayed in the hospital until the next evening. I’m recovering – Rhumba washes and dresses my hand three times a day – but I’m sure the bill will make me feel ill once more.
Fifty-three years have passed since my last hospital stay: a tonsillectomy back in old Petropolis. But I went back to hospital, this time around, with a clear and observant mind. I tried to understand what the ever-changing roster of nurses and technicians was doing to me, and why. I asked them a lot of questions. And I stopped them from making a few mistakes.
Mainly they were decent, hardworking people. Even so, I fervently believe that my health will be the better if I avoid hospital for another 53 years, no matter what ailment I might suffer.
Because the people are okay; but the system is crazy.
The only guy fighting that system was the ER doctor, who spent as much time on the phone hacking a path through the bureaucracy for me as he spent in treating my thumb. He appointed himself as my advocate to a system that doesn’t automatically grant you one. And I’m fortunate that he did.
Except for his green scrubs, he looked and acted like a plainspoken old country doctor. Remember Milburn Stone, the actor who played the cynical but dedicated “Doc Adams” on the old TV Western “Gunsmoke?” Like that. Exactly like that.
Thanks for the thumb, Doc.
That’s all the typing I can do for now. Time to elevate the arm, stroke it, and massage the lymph nodes in my armpit. See you all in a few days.