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My Experience In ICU

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Joe Walsh
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"Patty, Call 9-1-1"

After two years I was once again sitting on the edge of my bed, hands holding my head and knowing that I was about to re-enter the world of our damaged health care system.  I was very ill and not sure why.  I did not want to go to the hospital but needed something for the pain that racked my body.  I thought I had done everything right, I just came from a doctor, just had a colonoscopy but was surprised when the nurse who assisted in the outpatient procedure notified me that my sugar level was over 300 and I should let my primary doctor know of the level.  I called my doctor that day and was given another blood test and the level had risen to over 700.  On January 7th I made the decision to go to the emergency room via ambulance.  I was transported by American Medical Response, (AMR)   and treated badly until I arrived at the Emergency Room .

I don't remember the whole trip but AMR treated me like I had a tummy ache.  I was in the back with a woman in her thirties and remember going in and out of reality, being angry that it took so long to get to Providence Hospital.  When I got to the emergency room, my sugar level had risen to 1100, (most professionals whom I talked to had never seen this high of a reading.)  I was immediately taken to ICU and spent the next 5 days under the care of some wonderful doctors and nurses.  There was one nurse who, in my opinion, should look into another career, but 99.9 % of the people in ICU were working to get me back on my feet.  Once again my body went into a state of rebellion, first my sugar level went way off the charts, my lungs decided to make themselves noticed by causing me to choke, and gasp for breath.  The new element was my pancreas was not working the way it was suppose to and my lower intestine had colitis.  It would have been comical listening to one nurse give an update to the oncoming nurse; but they were talking about me.  The Hospital, Providence Hospital, was a place of caring.  I never had the feeling during my stay that the entire staff was not working to get me stable and begin my journey to mend.  I often told the doctors how good their staff was, they were a team and tried to be a positive force during my stay. The nurses and entire staff from Housekeeping to transportation were heroes, I could not do their job for one day never mind do it day after day with a smile.  Their presence was always a positive force; but then there was the *TPD in my room.  I could not get along with TD no matter how hard I tried, it was just not in the cards.  To tell the truth the TD was in the restroom; it was a mighty adversary.  I never conquered how to win one victory, something I am not used to during any prolonged stay.  Dealing with the TD was kind of like being on the streets protesting for Single Payer Health Care, something I have done many times. 

I have Single Payer in the form of Medicare, also have a retired civil service union medical coverage.   This is what adds up to single payer; there are over 50 million people who do not have any coverage.   I am sure there will be bills but at least I was taken care of and did not have to worry about whether I would be admitted or not.  We fought hard for Single Payer but were stabbed in the back by the Obama Administration.  We will continue the fight to get Single Payer Health Care, and get the "Bloodsucker Insurance Companies" out of the healing business. 

There was a funny moment in ICU when a priest asked me if I wanted to take Holy Communion, my response was, "Yes Father, I will take Holy Communion from you if you join me after I leave the hospital in front of the cathedral in Portland, to ask the cardinal why there are not more sermons about Peace in the world.  The Catholic Church is against these occupations and wars but one would not know it from the silence. The priest moved on to another patient.  We should take on the churches, and other religious organizations, they all seem to be for Peace on Earth but speak so low one cannot hear them.  They need a little butt-kicking.  There was another example of a laughable moment in ICU when all the doctors, nurses and assistants were gathered outside my room.  I had terrible diarrhea and just as the old and wise doctors, nurses, and other assistants were all neatly lined up in front of my room, I flew across the bed trying to get to the port-a-potty on the other side of the bed; did not make it and laid across the bed like an old navy salt just knowing there was water to sail someplace; I just could not get launched yet. 

When you hear the **publicans talk of how good our medical service is, this is what they are talking about.  The staff of Providence Hospital never gave me the feeling they worked for anyone except me--they do their jobs in spite of the insurance companies.  There was never any decision, that I know of, that was dependent on my ability to pay.  If the team decided I needed something, the doctors would order it.  This is our medical service at its best.

This report is my experience that lasted 5 days in ICU and another 6 days in a room on the 5th floor. Once again my primary doctor used the word septic to describe what I went through. He also said not many people survive this and I should consider myself fortunate.  I do!

Providence Hospital has the following standing in Oregon:

http://www.netdoc.com/option, com_netdoc/task,hospital_detail/provider_number,380061/year,2008/Itemid,99999999/

Many people sent cards, came to the hospital, called and let me know that they were thinking of me and Patty.  Thank you all!

*TPD--Toilet Paper Dispenser.

** Publicans--"Politicians who have the same coverage as I but don't want you to have it."  (Rome's tax collector)

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Short Bio I was born in Brooklyn, New York in May of 1942. My first memory was the wonderful block parties that celebrated the end of WW2. I don't remember much but it was exciting and I could see how joyous people could be during a major (more...)
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