by Durgesh Kumar Srivastava
(New Delhi, India)
Listen to your doctor and not to the next man in the park or club.
Hi, fellow retiree friends !
I had a problem of shortness of breath in June, 2010. My son took me to a local doctor who began his treatment, writing a big two-page prescription and prescribed many diagnostic tests. While the tests were going on the problem persisted. I looked at the prescription minutely. In one corner of the second page, the doctor had written "referred to AIIMS".
That made me alert. I quickly arranged to be examined in a specialised heart hospital. They quickly establised that there were blockages in three arteries. They set the date for surgery, but a day before it the surgery was postponed because of some problems related to urea uric acid and creatinine in my blood. They discharged me on the 15th day and said a new date of surgery will be set. Meanwhile my breathing problems had disappeared and I felt normal. I came back home to await the new date of surgery.
As I walked into the park nearby on the next day I was given a variety of suggestions - you do not need surgery; why not try Yoga; that particular doctor will clear your arterial blockages with his medicines in three months; surgery will debilitate you completely; reduce your weight by 10-15 kgs and your blockages will open up on their own; try homoepathy; try the juice of the bark of Arjun tree and so on. People had stories of success with alternative therapies or no therapies. All the advisors were non-doctors. Some even gave me the home-remedies to use. I did not listen to them and decided to pursue my course to bypass surgery in the hospital.
The surgery was successful and I have come back home. One should ensure that the hospital is well-equipped, the surgeon an expert in his field and the nursing care good.
For me, day 1 of the surgery was pain free, day 2 was drowsy and so pain-free and with so many lines, pipes and catheters tucked into me, inconvenient. But these were gradually removed and I felt comfortable. On day 3 I was wide awake and felt some pain which was bearable. They made me sit, stand and wealk - all gradually and with proper support. They even gave me toilet training like I had been given as a one year old.
On the 4th day, they removed me from the Recovery Room to the Ward. I made rapid progress and was discharged on the 7th day. The quiet confidence of the doctor and the careful nursing support helped debug the myth that heart bypass surgery is painful or risky. Expert physiotherapy is a great help.
One more thing - be ready to answer questions on past illnesses and surgeries, allergies use of steroid etc. Even small details help the doctor. Maintain files of your medical record.
So friends, don't postpone your plans for heart or any other surgery. Don't listen to non-doctors or to quacks. Go to a good hospital at the first sign of illness. Also remember that there are no ideal season or month for surgery.
If you are ready, the hospital and the doctors are! No surgery should be delayed for extraneous reasons such as a marriage in the family, or a recent death or an ensuing festival. Remember, a stitch in time saves nine !
Durgesh 26th Aug.,2010
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