Monday, May 30, 2011

The Miracle of Modern Medicine

I just got home a couple of hours ago from having the battery in my ICD changed and I am pretty stunned at how efficiently it went. My past experiences with surgery in general have not been good as I usually wake up sick and/or in pain. This time was much different. I actually feel pretty good, though a bit whoozy.

The main difference, I think, is that the anesthesiologist I had asked great questions and pinpointed how to treat my nausea. He diagnosed my motion sickness as a possible culprit in why I had trouble before and had a motion sickness patch attached to my upper right ear prior to the surgery. It helped a lot. My only problem was throwing up in a barf bag on the way home but that seemed pretty tame compared to the side effects I have had before. Modern medicine is such a blessing, the fact that I could be in and out of the hospital this quickly is truly a miracle, though I suppose science also played a good part.

I recently posted on a book about doctors called In Stitches


Blogger Mitch said...

I'm very happy it went well for you.

1:44 PM, May 30, 2011  
Blogger Sissy Willis said...

Wonderful news. I am so happy for you!

2:01 PM, May 30, 2011  
Blogger Howie1 said...

Happy to hear your good news, and thank you for the encouraging and positive post!

2:25 PM, May 30, 2011  
Blogger DRJ said...

Great news and congratulations on your successful medical treatment and finding caring professionals.

We have two sons in their twenties with a genetic illness related to the Bubble Boy Syndrome. Their doctors told us they would not have survived if they been born just 5 years earlier, and they were homebound or hospital-bound most of their first 10 years. However, with today's medicines, they are living almost normal lives. I credit a powerful combo: God, medicine/science, and some very special doctors.

2:30 PM, May 30, 2011  
Blogger Chris said...

In case you hadn't noticed, Instahubby was worried. (Been there, know the signs.)

2:32 PM, May 30, 2011  
Blogger dlafetra said...

When I was 20 weeks pregnant, ultrasound revealed that my baby had cysts in her left lung, numerous enough to push her heart to the right side of her chest. We wouldn't know if she'd be able to inflate her lungs until she was born, so a team surrounded me in the delivery room, ready to whisk her away to surgery. She did breathe on her own, so after a night in NICU we went home to put some weight on her for the inevitable surgery to remove the upper lobe of her left lung. At 3 months, weighing 10 pounds, she had the surgery. The surgeon later described her as a "museum of pulmonary abnormalities" as they found lots of additional problems that basically required her to be completely replumbed. The surgeon also told us, that but for the prenatal imaging, we would never have known there was anything wrong -- until she had recurring pneumonia and died before her first birthday. We are more than thankful for modern medicine, the support of family and friends, and the prayers of so many more. My beautiful, bright, and *healthy* daughter is now wrapping up the third grade.

2:32 PM, May 30, 2011  
Blogger Old Patriot said...

I had two surgeries recently - a three-level cervical fusion and a lumbar lamanectomy. I went in early in the morning, had a mid-morning surgery, and was home the next afternoon. These are not simple surgeries - I had one cervical disk removed, two levels re-fused, and a titanium plate added in the one surgery, and a small part of my L-5 vertebrae removed and some serious scraping at S-1. Still, I was home within 36 hours of going to the hospital. It's amazing what modern medicine can do.

2:33 PM, May 30, 2011  
Blogger Beldar said...

I'm very glad you're well, Dr. Helen.

2:34 PM, May 30, 2011  
Blogger David Kirkham, President, Kirkham Motorsports said...

So glad to hear the good news. The miracle of modern antibiotics has saved my life twice--once in Peru and once in Poland.

2:36 PM, May 30, 2011  
Blogger Firehand said...

Mom had cataract surgery a couple of months ago, and the advances in that are amazing:
Go to doctors office
Post-op and then go home
Total, about two hours. Few weeks later, do the other eye.

Things like this are why, when I hear someone bitching about the evils of technology, I want to kick them somewhere sensitive.

2:37 PM, May 30, 2011  
Blogger badgerw said...

Dr. Helen,

I am pleased that things went so well for you.

I continue to be amazed at the advances in modern medicine.

May God bless you and your family.

You perform a valuable service. Please keep it up.

2:55 PM, May 30, 2011  
Blogger Karl said...

So good to hear it went well. The Doc & Professor mean a lot to a lot of folk out here. You heal up, and let the Professor do the heavy lifting for little while.Thanks for the post and letting us know you are doing well, but you go get some rest, Doctor! That's an order.

2:59 PM, May 30, 2011  
Blogger Zorro said...

Glad you're still with us, Doc!

3:31 PM, May 30, 2011  
Blogger Larry J said...

I'm in my hometown because one of my brothers is in intensive care. He had a very rare and aggressive type of cancer that had spread throughout his body. Last December, the doctors told him to get his affairs in order because he was terminal but they'd try one other treatment. Steve responded remarkably well, far better than anyone dared hope. Several weeks ago, they did an adult stem cell transplant on him. The chemo they gave him heavily damaged his digestive system so he was having a hard time eating. A week ago, he went into respiratory arrest and they put him on a ventilator. We almost lost him.

They're trying to wake him so they can remove the ventilator but he has been responding very slowly. I was fearing brain damage but he started responding to commands this morning. Perhaps we're grasping at any signs of hope but there is a chance for him.

Not many years ago, he would've had no chance at all. His doctors and nurses are giving him excellent care. If Steve dies, it won't be for lack of trying or skill on their part.

3:49 PM, May 30, 2011  
Blogger mariner said...

I'm glad you're well, and hope you're here a for a long time.

4:10 PM, May 30, 2011  
Blogger Kiril Kundurazieff said...

Dear Doc,

I'm a 13 yr. old Guy Cat. I blog, and have done so for years.

My name is Nikita.

I'm am Official Pepurrter for The Cat Blogosphere, Senior Journalist for Feline News Network, & Professor of the Nikita Institute of Pussydom Studies.

Your Insta-Hubby has, from time to time, over the last decade encouraged the writing/blogging of not only myself, but my Human Kiril The Mad Macedonian Kundurazieff.

Ecouragement for which we are forever grateful.

Your profile description indicates you might find our medical story worth sharing with your readers.

It's a 3 part story about Daddy breaking his ankle looking for a Cat, and the week that has followed, and the weeks/months to come.

It's a story about The Power of the Purr to potentially help an injured human to heal.

The purrs, and purrayers, of not just 2 Cats, myself, and my protege, Elvira Mistress of Pussydom, but the Purrs, and purrayers, of a worldwide community of friends, and fellow Feline Bloggers, in The Cat Blogosphere.

Daddy Kiril has been unemployed since the end of August, & he has been learning a bunch of new computer skills, and teaching them to us, and reading lots of books for inspiration, and he also plans to attend the Blog Paws Pet Blogger Convention in August as our representative.

Why? Somehow we believe that the efforts he & I, most recently, put into blogging over the years, leading to MY OWN BLOG 1/1/2 yrs. ago cane lead us somewhere special, even careerwise for him.

We Cats love to Poke Boxes you know. ;-D

He recently began doing online research into the idea of purring and human healing, as part of a project he was surprisingly asked to team up on.

Now we find that he could be a subject for his very own research, hee, hee!

You might expect a disaster like this would really depress a Human in his position, but the love, and purrs of Elvira & I, and the commenting Kitties all week long, have made him smile, and have faith that this accident happened for a reason, and there is no reason to panic, and freak out. If any of YOUR READERS, or those of Mr. Glenn, are Cat People, with stories of the Healing Power of the Purr, and of the Cat, to share, we would love to hear about them.

Our 3 part story, with pictures, begins here:

Oh, Boy, THIS is Gonna Hurt! Daddy Kiril & His Boo-Boo

4:17 PM, May 30, 2011  
Blogger Kiril Kundurazieff said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

4:19 PM, May 30, 2011  
Blogger Kiril Kundurazieff said...


Elvira & I are glad your surgery went well, and you are up & at'em at home.

We send purrs & purrayers for a speedy recovery, and Daddy Kiril sends his best wishes, too. ;-D

4:21 PM, May 30, 2011  
Blogger Colin said...

Happy for you.

You still need not barf after surgery. I am an anesthesiologist, and I can tell you for sure, a patch isn't enough for you. You have four major risk factors for PONV (Post-Op Nausea and Vomiting): female gender, nonsmoker, history of PONV, and history of motion sickness. You may have a host of other minor risk factors (I don't have your chart).

Someone with your risk needs at least triple prophylaxis (three separate antiemetic drugs). And if the scop patch is going to be used, it needs to go on the night before surgery.

Next time, mention this history to your anesthesiologist. A good one will have you covered. PONV is not fun, nor necessary.

4:41 PM, May 30, 2011  
Blogger Edward said...

I've had both atrial and ventricular arrthymia. Fortunately, the best in the EP trade work in Austin. Both conditions were corrected in separate one try. Many patients require two or more ablations. I was released after an overnight stsy in both cases.

5:00 PM, May 30, 2011  
Blogger ImHappynBP said...

Take care of and your husband are needed.

T Johnson

5:05 PM, May 30, 2011  
Blogger newton said...

My next-door neighbor gave birth to her third child, a girl, over four years ago: nine-pounder, apparently healthy, who went through a tight birth canal.

Baby was dead for the first eight minutes of her life.

She was revived on-site, even though doctors didn't really know if she was going to have permanent damage. It turns out, there was some: she had to undergo a full year of physical therapy.

Now, she's four years old, and loves to boss around her older brothers and teetotal on my own four-year-old daughter.

5:07 PM, May 30, 2011  
Blogger Unknown said...

I'm late, so all I can do is join the chorus.

5:28 PM, May 30, 2011  
Blogger Charles Crawford said...

Two weeks ago here in England I was taken into hospital by ambulance lat at night with severe chest pains. It took them some 14 hours to find out via a CAT-scan (thank you GE) that I had a blood clot on the lung and mild pneumonia.

Once the right pills were prescribed, I felt better after a good night's sleep and was sentnhome the next morning.

Terrific. I even Tweeted much of the experience.

5:47 PM, May 30, 2011  
Blogger Roux said...

Glad you are well. Modern medicine is indeed a miracle. What really scares me is the over reach of government involvement will make it unprofitable and kill innovation.

I work in IT at a hospital and laws and mandates congress has passed in the ARRA called HITECH are IMO designed to destroy and control our health care system.

6:00 PM, May 30, 2011  
Blogger MathMom said...

When my husband was being rolled in to the operating room for his heart transplant, I knew I might never see him alive again. So, I told him I love him and thanked him for our life together, then they began to roll him through the doors. The anesthesiologist told them to stop. Then he told me, "Your husband is going to come through this just fine, because I'm taking care of him. I'm taking care of him. He is going to be fine. OK?

I still love that man. He was the first doctor in my experience who has ever taken full responsibility for an unknowable outcome, and really owned it. By way of contrast, the doctor who put him into arrhythmia with the drugs he was using actually said, like a little kid standing next to a half-gallon of spilled milk on the floor, "I didn't cause that!" This anesthesiologist made up for all of the others.

Glad you are doing well, Dr. Helen.

6:16 PM, May 30, 2011  
Blogger DADvocate said...

Glad to hear all is well. Amazing what modern medicine can do.

A little over a year ago, my mother, 85 at the time, fell an broke her hip in a grocery store parking lot. Not that long ago a broken hip was a death sentence for an old person.

Instead of waiting for her hip to heal, they replaced it and she was taking steps using a walker within a week. After about 3 months of rehab in the hospital and rehab centers, she was at home living independently and able to drive again. (A little scary to me.) She's an amazing woman but what the doctors did was equally amazing.

The medical healing that touched me the closest was when my daughter, at 10 days old, came down with spinal meningitis. She was admitted to Children's Hospital in Cincinnati twice for a total of 8 days. A shunt was put in her chest near her heart for antibiotics to be administered. Nurses came by the house 2-3 times a day for 3-4 week to administer the medicine via a syringe in the shunt.

May daughter is now a 15 year old beauty, honor student and basketball player. I am forever grateful to the doctors, nurses, hospital, pharmaceutical companies, etc.

Living in a small town, we occasionally see the nurses who came to our house. My daughter knows they are the nurses that helped save her life. She still has two small scars on her chest from the shunt and the stitches to hold it in place. I thank God that I live in a time where miracles are common place.

6:50 PM, May 30, 2011  
Blogger nerdybaldguy07 said...


I am very glad to hear you are doing better. One of my employees has an ICD and we were together one time at a conference in Tampa. He had an incident with his de-fibrillator and I remember very well sitting in the waiting room with his wife while they replaced his unit. He is still working for me 5 years later and doing great :)

Best regards

7:32 PM, May 30, 2011  
Blogger Janette Kok said...

Well, my story is a little mundane, but it means a lot to me. I've had kidney stones. A kidney stone attack makes me violently nauseated, so I'm thankful both for pain-killers and anti-nausea medicine. Also, a few decades ago if you had kidney stones too big to pass, they had to cut your back open and go slicing into your kidneys to get them. You were in danger of severe blood loss, and recovery was slow and painful. Now, in an outpatient procedure, you go under anesthesia, they shoot sound waves at your kidney stones and break them up, then you go home and the broken fragments exit through your natural plumbing system. Your back may be a bit bruised, but that's preferable to deeply incised. You're back at work in a few days.

11:57 PM, May 30, 2011  
Blogger M said...

Glad all went well, Helen. Thanks for telling us about the good experience when so many times we only hear about the bad.

Thanks to the medical and science industries. I'm thankful I have health insurance and very thankful Medicare will still be available to me when I need it.

5:18 AM, May 31, 2011  
Blogger Misanthrope said...

Glad it went well. My last experience with modern medicine involved my brother having to go to the ER and my explaining to a first year med student what Sanfilippo Syndrome (MPS-III) is. Poor girl.

8:52 AM, May 31, 2011  
Blogger LissaKay said...

Helen, You've been in our prayers. So glad to hear all went well and that they paid attention to your previous experience and made adjustments so that your post-anesthesia issues were not as severe. My mom had surgery last week, and because I let them know of her post-op issues, they made adjustments to her medications and her recovery has gone very smoothly this time.

Our family has had its share, and then some, of medical miracles. I was an EMT/Paramedic for 9 years but have been out of the field for the last 12, working in IT, lately, healthcare IT (You're welcome, Charles!) My recent exposure to medical technology in a number of situations has me fairly mind blown at the progress made in just the last decade.

One year ago today, my husband's youngest son was in an auto accident. He sustained a head injury in addition to several other relatively minor injuries. They took him from the ER to the ICU, just to monitor him for 24 to 48 hours as a precaution. Shortly after arrival in the ICU, a sharp eyed nurse noticed Luke was not responding appropriately. The traumatic brain injury protocols were set into motion, Luke was intubated and put into a chemically induced coma. The brain injury became secondary to the lung issues that developed. ARDS or adult respiratory distress syndrome, is a very serious, often fatal complication leaving the majority of its survivors with permanent lung damage, often disabling.

Long story short (if you want the long version, look up "Prayers for Luke Hailey" on Facebook, or his father's blog: in the archives for May, June and July of last year) Luke got so critical at one point, the doctors told us to go ahead and call his out-of-state siblings home, call in local family at 3 in the morning and to even bring his brother home from Iraq where he was deployed with the Army.

The story has not just a happy, but a miraculous ending. Because of a super high tech bed that was brought in, they were able to position Luke in a completely prone position which allowed his lungs to start healing. His progress from there on out was rapid and absolutely floored all of his caregivers. His doctors and nurses easily used the word "miracle" to describe his survival and recovery.

We give praise and thanks to God Almighty for His grace and mercy, for giving Luke's caregivers the wisdom and knowledge to treat him, for giving the developers of the technology the skills to create devices and machines that make such miracles possible. Even the technology that brings us the Internet, as it allowed us to reach out to thousands of people who in turn prayed with us, and lifted up and supported our family as we faced this crisis.

Oh, and those prayers for Luke's life were so effective, we have been blessed with an amazing abundance - all four of our daughters, and one son (we have a total of 9!) have had or will have babies within one year. With the 3 and 4 year old grandsons, that will make SEVEN Grandbabies for us by next January! (And another son just got married last week ... we expect their announcement soon!)

God is SO GOOD!

8:55 AM, May 31, 2011  
Blogger TMink said...

What a nice way to start my shortened work week! I am so pleased your procedure went so well.


9:41 AM, May 31, 2011  
Blogger Dunkelzahn4prez said...

I don't have a miracle of modern medicine story to share, but I am very glad things went so well for you, Dr. Helen. This was the stuff of science fiction not all that long ago.

12:11 PM, May 31, 2011  
Blogger Sinner said...

My wife (Mrs. Sinner) had brain surgery to address uncontrollable (by meds) seizures. They removed a hunk of her temporal lobe about an inch long.

In less than a week she was home and going about her regular routine. In 2 years she hasn't had any sign of the seizures returning.

2:29 PM, May 31, 2011  
Blogger Tscottme said...

I'm so glad your home safe and recovering.

6:04 AM, June 01, 2011  
Blogger Locomotive Breath said...

Many of the medical miracles we take for granted today are the product of teams of engineers. The doctors are just the installation technicians. Credit where credit is due and all.

Glad it's working for you.

6:10 AM, June 01, 2011  
Blogger Dr.Alistair said...

glad things worked out well for you...

recently i contracted a UTI and went to the walk-in, as urination had become all but impossible and i had a high fever.

they gave me an antibiotic and i went home.

that night my temp shot up to the point where i couldn`t stop shaking and my heart rate was hitting 150 and wouldn`t come down as hard as i tried.

i got to emergency and they hooked me up to an ecg and took blood and set up an i.v. and i was held for 12 hours until they felt i was stable enough to go home.

the doctor told me that i was given the wrong pills and that a urinalysis isn`t enough to make a clear enough diagnosis for the type of infection i had and that i was lucky i got myself there when i did. (my wife was in scotland at the time.)

i was so grateful for the doctors and nurses attention and help in getting me through such a terrifying situation and enabling me to walk out the next day feeling almost human.

i`m still not 100% 3 weeks later and concerned that the walk-in mis diagnosed me and suggested prostate issues as a possible cause for the diffculty urinating! they even went as far as giving me an ultrasound workup prescription as i was leaving.

3:28 PM, June 01, 2011  
Blogger Philzer said...

Dr. Helen, just want you to know I'm glad your surgery went well and that you're still with us!

8:30 PM, June 01, 2011  

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