Last Tuesday I was at home, playing Lego with my kids when I was quite suddenly doubled over from a pain in my abdomen. Within 30 minutes I knew that I was not just having a “stomach ache” so I had my kids call their mom to get her home ASAP and an ambulance to come to the house to get me.
The ambulance and my wife arrived virtually simultaneously so I knew my kids and I were all in safe hands.
Without going into too much graphic detail about what happened to me I will say that I “experienced” something like a herniated bowel; definitely an extraordinarily painful circumstance to find oneself in.
As a result I had to have emergency surgery to repair the obstruction to my guts or I risked having my bowels “burst” leading to my body essentially poisoning itself.
The surgical team discussed with me my options and the risks involved in the procedures. Although I was thoroughly medicated I understood the risks. I also understood the risks of not doing surgery.
Approximately four hours later I came out of the operating room (the “OR” to the hospital staff).
The surgeons had initially tried to do laparoscopic surgery but the problem was more serious than that allowed for. So they opened me from above my belly button to just below the bottom of my rib cage.
After fixing up my guts they stapled my stomach closed again. Yep. They stapled my guts shut. I’ll forever have an epic scar on my belly.
But forgetting about me for a minute, the most eye opening part of this experience was seeing how the people who choose to work in the medical field treated me and the other patients I had the good fortune to meet (hi Irene – I hope you are doing well!! Miss you!!).
It is a funny thing to say but I ALWAYS felt like they cared about me as a human being and not “just a patient” they were required to administer healthcare to.
No, each and every person I encountered treated me with kindness. Beginning with the women driving the ambulance and the ER nurses who had to put up with my outrageous hysterics (I didn’t like having a tube stuffed up my nose, into the base of my eyeball, and then another 56 centimetres down into my stomach – trust me, you wouldn’t like it either).
And in the seven days that I was in the a Royal Columbian Hospital following my surgeries, the nurses, residents, the pain management team, and the surgeons, each and every interaction continued to be one of kindness, care and concern for me as a human being.
Whether I needed an extra blanket to warm my legs or a moment to stop the dizziness as I stood up, or an encouraging word to keep on with my exercise routine (walking to the toilet and then back to bed) the nurses and care aides were there beside me.
Of course I would be remiss for not mentioning the team of people who were continually keeping the hospital clean. Now that is a hard working bunch who very quietly and unceremoniously go about their jobs.
Anyhow, that’s enough for now. I’m slowly working myself back to eating real food (I’ll never really enjoy Jello again).
I’ll just end off by saying how grateful I am for the kind and compassionate care that I received from the medical professionals at the Royal Columbian. Now I’m going back to rest.