It was October 6th in 2011 when I was admitted into hospital at St Vincent’s. I had met a new cardiologist the day before and he was not letting me be active – I was in “heart failure” and within days of being in hospital, they would not allow me to walk any great distance. Beyond the ward, I was to be wheeled wherever I went.
The medical team didn’t expect me to be in their hospital long, because the idea was that they were going to send me back to my previous surgeon who was based at The Alfred Hospital. So they popped me into a bed in what was called a transit room.
There seemed to be an issue with getting me across to The Alfred. The surgeon wasn’t returning calls while I was becoming more unwell. I was still in this transit room, yet I was not transitioning!
In the end, I asked that they undertake my surgery there. I was so impressed with all of the medical care I received and I didn’t want to move. My health was getting more critical, so they agreed.
The night before my surgery was booked, my surgeon came in at about 8:30pm and said he had decided he was not going to operate on me the next day. He wanted my wisdom teeth removed first, as I would be on blood thinning drugs after my surgery, so he wanted them gone – a bit of future proofing…..or future toothing!
So I get to spend more time in the transit room.
The bed beside mine had people transiting through. These were people who needed short stays in hospital, so in the 30 days pre-heart surgery that I spent in the transit room, I saw a lot of people go through the other bed.
The people in the other bed were mostly people who were blessed with a warning. The majority had had some form of a heart event, survived, been rushed to hospital and had a stent put in and they were in and out of the room in around 24 hours. The majority were lucky to be alive.
In a shared room, you can’t help but hear a lot of things that go on around you. Of all of the people that went through that bed beside me, only 1 did not have diabetes.
What stunned me the most was that nearly all of these people, didn’t seem to hear the wakeup call they had been given.
To this day, I can still see the faces and hear the voices of two of the men. Both had been raced to hospital and had emergency surgery to have a stent put in their heart. During their stay in the bed beside me, both complained the whole time that they wanted to go and have a cigarette, and one of them constantly complained that he wanted to eat a meat pie and have a beer.
One even had family members sneaking sweets and chocolates into him.
I can recall dieticians coming in to speak to them and spending time with advice on ways that they can improve their diet to assist with living a longer, healthier life. During the consult, they were both responsive and positive. When the dietician left, they just joked about what a load of crap she was talking.
There are so many people in this world who don’t get a second chance. So many people who don’t get an opportunity to make right the things that have gone wrong with their bodies.
We can’t get it right all of the time (I’m guilty as charged). But when you get an opportunity to flick the Grim Reapers hand away from your life, isn’t that better than just opening the door and inviting him in for a meal?
We never know if the last warning we get will be our last.
With Hearty Thanks For Reading,
That Heart Guy
If you’re wondering what a stent is, here is a link to some information from Australian Heart Research: http://www.heartresearch.com.au/stents.html