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Essays on Issues, Ideas and Reflections on the Times. Published now and
then. Opinions pro or con are welcome.

The Enormity of a Small Incision

North Miami Beach, FL 04-24-2005
A.H. Schectman

As I was being wheeled somewhere in the hospital I asked Carol to write the title down of what I thought would be a timely essay.  I told her to write down: “The Enormity of a Small Incision.”  I did this BEFORE the operation and after I had been prepped and stuck with an inordinately large number of needles, at least three of them to stay with me for my hospital sojourn. Needless to say I am needle phobic.

The matter-of-factness of the professionals in charge of my disposition was interesting to watch.  They could switch off thoughts of lunch, a sport diversion, a movie, gossip or almost anything, back to attending to me laid out like a slab of meat on a butcher table.  Yet the incision would be quite small and operation on the surface rather than deep inside me.  At the same time I recognized the enormity of this small incision for it was to remove a lifetime acquisition of plaque in my left carotid artery.  I had made light of it because I BELIEVED it would be rather simple and that my “discomfort” would be just that rather than pain. But, I would be cut and three days after the operation the discomfort is rapidly receding into the past.  I am glad that this is all behind me.  You, of course, have been told that they will go after my RIGHT carotid artery in about a month’s time.  I have more serious thoughts about this because I know what is involved with pre and post operative events and I do NOT look forward to it.  Of course I look forward to AFTER the operation.

Aventura Hospital, the new wing in which I eventually ended up, has all the latest bells and whistles despite this hospital’s enlargement and renovation having been in the pipeline for years.  There are many things I know the SUITS who run this place would have liked to have done rather than accept what was cost effective to do.  But there I was in a single room all by myself with a locked computer container on the wall that doubled as a pill dispenser that had been prepared by a “robot” that filled little paper and plastic disks with the prescribed pills on your list. Keys were used to unlock each portion and the pills had bar codes on them that, if they matched your bar code (on your wristlet) it was now proper that you be administered said pills.

The computerizing of this hospital is only one of the things that have been done to provide the patient with care and creature comforts for those who care about them.  There are new parking areas (soon to cost you) and additional buildings will surely go up and, of course, there is the neat “valet” service that will park and retrieve your car for you.  This is usually a dollar to tip the valet. But, we got out of there without paying a cent.  Of course, bills will arrive sooner or later.



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