Sunday, April 8, 2012

Health Care. Quite a system

Over the weekend, we learned again that no one is responsible for your health aside from YOU.
We entertained company at the cabin on Thursday evening and the day Friday. In the evening, our company left for home, driving across the inter lake. Unspoken to us, the driver was not feeling well. While trekking across the gravel paths we've laughingly assigned "Highway" numbers to, he had to get out of the vehicle. He was sweating, his chest was hurting, and his side and upper arm were causing him discomfort.
After arriving home, his wife insisted on visiting Gimli hospital, where a few nurses took good care of him. Apparently a doctor came in for a very brief minute. They gave him nito and morphine for the pain, a topical cream for his pulled muscle, and sent him home.
The next day we received a message via a voice mail, telling us what had transpired. By the time we had arrived at home it was evening. We were settled in to watch the Jets, but called out of concern.
My wife spoke with both our previous guests, first to the wife, then to the husband. He was fine... no really, they sent him home, he was fine. It's just a pulled or strained muscle.

Ya... right. I asked to get on the line.

"Hey you stubborn old man"
"Ya, that's me."
" Good. Now that we have that established as a base line. Did they check your arteries with an ultrasound? Do an angiogram?" Anything?"
"No. They did a blood test."
"This all sounds like a bigger problem. I'm sure they're very nice people out there, but I'm going to drive out to get you and bring you into the City."
"Well where? I don't want to go to HSC."
"We'll go to St. B. IF there's a cardio problem, that's where you should be."
"OK. I'd be willing to do that."

It wasn't too much of a fight, meaning I already understood he was hurtin', and concerned for himself too. Stubborn old guys... they're invincible until they aren't.

There was no waiting time at St. B an hour and a half later. (That's how long it took them to get there). A blood test and a few Dr. patient questions later, they decided that there wasn't too much abnormal going on, but wanted to be sure. They did another blood test a few hours later. At 1:30 am we were told he'd be kept over night, and he'd be seen by cardiology in the morning.

I knew what that meant. His second blood test had come back different from the first. At noon the next day, his wife left our home to go see him. She called at 2 to tell us he had three stints put in to relieve blockages in his arteries.

I'm glad they called us, and that we insisted on him coming to Winnipeg. I'm glad I told him that this type of thing can lead to a very quick death and is to be taken seriously. I'm glad the folks at St. B reviewed everything from a fresh set of eyes. We not ready to loose the old guy unnecessarily.

DON'T let someone tell you nothing is wrong when YOU know better. YOU take control of your own health, and FORCE them to look after you. NO ONE is your advocate but you.

NEVER feel like you're an inconvenience. YOU paid HUGE money in your lifetime for this health system.

In this instance, a few days were not fatal. It can be very different. DON'T ignore the warning signs.

  • Chest discomfort. Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts for more than a few minutes or that goes away and comes back. The discomfort can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, or fullness.
  • Discomfort in other areas of the upper body. Symptoms can include discomfort in one or both arms or in the back, neck, jaw, or stomach.
  • Shortness of breath. This symptom often accompanies chest discomfort. However, it can also occur before the chest discomfort.
  • Other signs. These may include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea, or light-headedness. Some patients report a sense of impending doom. 

    In this instance, it wasn't a heart attack, but the signs were still there. PAY ATTENTION.

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