Fine Christmas For Me This Year
It’s a fine Christmas I’m having this year, Thank God. My wife, Jegs, and my son Al, and I wish everyone a Merry Christmas. We’re all thankful for whatever little things we were blessed with during the year.
To me, personally, I have a major thing to be thankful for.
My cardiologist, Dr, Noel Lantican, told me in October 2011, “may be you should go for Thallium Scan test at the Philippine Heart Center.” He said this test would tell us if I had some blocked vessels causing my frequent fatigue and chest discomforts. So I did have that test and it showed that there were blocked blood vessels but it didn’t indicate exactly where those blocks were. Dr. Lantican did the next thing which was to ask me to undergo angiogram. This is the more accurate procedure to determine exactly where the blocks are located, but it’s more expensive than the Thallium Scan. (The difference: thallium Scan is non-invasive, while the angiogram is.)
Dr. Lantican made the necessary arrangements for me to be admitted to the PHC, but admissions wouldn’t be made after Christmas (for obvious reasons) so I got myself admitted 20 December 2011. My agreement with Dr. Lantican was to proceed with angioplasty if it was found in the angiogram that this procedure would be necessary. The angiographer at the PHC was Dr. Ramoncito Tria (who was assisted by “his Fellows” – who are medical doctors undergoing Fellowship Training under the program, I believe, of the Philippine Cardiologists’ Association). The angiogram was performed Wednesday, 21 December 2011, and there was need to proceed to angioplasty for a couple of blockages. Two stents were installed to open up my blood vessels at two points that had more than 50% blocks.
Unfortunately for me, I’m a bleeder. While Dr. Tria and his assistants were doing the angioplasty there was bleeding, and I even developed hematoma. When the angioplasty was done, I was wheeled directly to the ICU where I stayed for 24 hours. Dr. Tria told me that this was a necessary schedule because I had hematoma. Well, under those circumstances, I wasn’t ready to argue with the doctor. He’s good, by the way. I was told earlier on by Dr. Lantican that Dr. Tria is good and he was among the angiographers of the PHC who charge relatively lower professional fees, bless his soul. I returned to my original room after 24 hours in the ICU.
Why did I have to undergo angiogram, anyway? Well, a month short of 15 years after my CABG in January 1997, Dr. Lantican believed it was necessary to find out if my heart bypass then was still holding on, and to check where the blockages determined in my Thallium scan were located at exactly. I had estimated that I would be discharged from the hospital by Thursday morning, but because of the hematoma and 24 hour stay in the ICU, the doctor decided that I should stay one more day in the hospital. So there.
Thursday afternoon, Jegs had completed all that were required for my discharge. So I was given discharge order for 22 December, evening, but Dr. Tria ordered that my discharged would be Friday morning, instead, because of fear that I might have some bleeding if I had to exert effort moving around. That turned out to be wise decision because I was practically unable to move due to muscle aches that evening. We were set to check out Friday morning.
Good thing Jegs decided to check with the billing section and inquire if we could be discharged by 8:00 am. It turned out that our discharge order hasn’t been given to the Admitting Section for final check and updating of records and accounts since we stayed one more night in the hospital. We finally checked out close to noontime Friday.
At this point, I wish to thank those that provided me assistance at the PHC. First of all, I am very proud of our own Philippine Heart Center. I can’t complain about the quality of service provided me. There were times when I thought I should have been attended more quickly but I must admit that a week before Christmas is, somehow, very “toxic” for our health workers at the PHC. Those people there need our understanding. They’re working very hard and very professionally.
Except perhaps for those with very serious ailments, most of those confined probably preferred to check out during the Christmas break. I was informed that many, if not all, of those who were being discharged the week before Christmas would be coming back after New Year’s Day. This has most likely made the work of the PHC Staff more “toxic” because they probably had to double their multitasking tasks. There were simply too many people to serve. But the staff of the PHC didn’t complain (at least not in my presence) and simply continued doing what they were doing. If that’s not good public service, I wouldn’t know what is.
In my room, three nurses took care of me: Jayson, Kay, and Marge. They were all professional, very good. At the ICU, Cathy, Bella, and Jep took care of me there. Very efficient, very professional. These Nurses at the ICU, I’d like to point out, had very good people skills. Being a communications person, I’m particularly watchfull of these things.
As I’m taking some rest at home at this time, I’m into self reflection as well. I must say, I do have many things that I need to improve upon. But for the most part, I’m particularly thankful for the little blessings that have been showered on me during the last 12 months.
The one thing that makes me feel proud and well taken cared of is that Jegs has been excellent as a partner. She loves me, and I love her. I can’t complain. I can only be thankful.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all.