I’m Sorry

The man apologizes in his headline. After what he went through last week, the one thing he picks to top off the tale of his return here for his Sunday guest column is to say he’s sorry. Wait! There’s more to it than that. That’s our Paul Curran. Welcome back, good friend. Read on.

Your Barrista -- Paul Curran

Your Barrista — Paul Curran

Welcome to the weekly coffee and tea garden. My name is Paul, I’ll be your barista today, and I’m happy to be here at Mark and Karen Bialczak’s Little Bitty in Syracuse, New York. With thanks to our hosts today’s post is long so I’ll get started right away. I owe all of my readers an apology for missing last week, so for that I am sorry. That said it is only the beginnings of the apologies, some of which you will see I have never in my 58 years ever heard before.

For those who are not aware I am a dialysis patient and dialyze three times per week at the hospital for 4 ¼ hours per session. For me access to my vascular system has been through a fistula, a sort of siding in a vein installed in my upper left arm that is installed for needling purposes. It is under the skin and is living tissue. It has had a small aneurysm since they installed it and this has grown over the last six years. It was becoming dangerous – about half the size of a fist – and had to be addressed. We have been making plans for this day surgery for about three weeks – including pre-admin testing, meetings with the surgeon and anesthesiologist, blood tests, imaging, and on and on. As a patient who had had cancer, the treatment of which had caused kidney failure (very rare) and a myriad of other serious conditions from treatments, I had been a regular in our medical system for about 12 years.

All the testing was fine and the final interview with the surgeon made it clear he had no idea how much vessel he would have to remove, the worst-case scenario was everything – in which case a catheter in my neck would be installed for access until our options became clearer. This was ho-hum routine for me and should have been a day surgery. I made all the arrangements for a pick up when done and on Thursday I presented myself at the surgery at 7:30 a.m. and found my appointment had been switched to 1 p.m. Being a world-class waiter by now, I had a nap for a bit and they took me in to get ready before lunch. Around 1 p.m. I was being wheeled into the operating room, having spoken with the surgeon, the head nurse, and the anesthesiologist in the hall. The gleaming new surgery room was hung with nests of huge stainless arms installed in the ceiling, and each arm had various smaller arms attached with every single thing a surgeon could ever want on tables and electronics cabinets all attached. The net impact was surreal – absolutely nothing but the staff actually rested on the gleaming one-piece floor. And every piece of equipment could be rotated into any position by manipulating the arms.

The staff was fully bedecked in operating clothes and only their eyes were visible behind eye shields. The surgeon introduced each one and they nodded as their name was said. There were about 15 people there, including another surgeon. All seemed well and in control as they slid me onto the operating room table and adjusted me on the narrow table that allowed surgeons to stand right against my sides. Arm supports were attached and they gave me the antiesthetic. Within seconds the world faded. I then remember a short conversation where they asked if they could shave off all my facial hair because the best option was to install a full face mask for transport – and then a nurse saying she had never been on a patient transport. Before I could wonder where we were going in the middle of an operation – for a coffee maybe? I’m in! – I awoke in the Intensive Care in the biggest hospital in Ottawa. I felt sluggish and a doctor was soon standing beside my bed. He introduced himself as the head of surgery for the General Hospital and informed me that it was Sunday morning. I had a nurse who was my ICU nurse and she was ignorant, refusing to give me what I wanted until I had been made to wait. Within a few minutes she was gone and a very kind and attentive nurse appeared.

My conversation with the doc continued and he asked how I felt. I told him it was like I had been run through an old-fashioned wringer that was used before hanging out clothes. He literally apologized (He said “I’m sorry …”) as he sat down and, in a quiet voice began to explain what had happened. In years of hospital visits I had never once heard a doctor apologize – even when they had made a serious mistake that affected me. He checked chest tubes’ output and the variant of dialysis machine used in ICU. He told me that the vascular surgery had been the worst-case scenario but had been successfully completed – removing all of the fistula and vein along with the aneurysm. At that point they had started installing the catheter in my neck for dialysis – a procedure I have had done a dozen times. For reasons not able to be known, while installing a wire into my heart for the catheter to align, the wire had punctured through the main vessel leading into my heart and had torn it so seriously that my blood was pumping into my chest cavity, causing my lungs to fail for lack of room for expansion. I died with a large part of my blood in my chest.

At that point I was totally overwhelmed by the story and it wasn’t over yet. He filled me in on the basics of what they had done to bring me back to life (emergency hybrid thoroscopic surgery) and he apologized again – something I would get used to over the coming days. I slipped from consciousness and awoke again a few hours later and about 10 docs were gathered around my bed. The head doc was there too and they took turns explaining their parts and what had happened and each who spoke apologized yet again. Not a single “I’m sorry” in 58 years and now more than I could count in one day. When asked how I felt now, I told them if I was an American I’d be a millionaire about now. I mentioned incompetence and the head doc jumped in and quietly agreed that could have been the case, but it could also have been an undetected flaw in the wire or an unusual curve in the vessel or any of a number of rare occurrences or combination thereof.

I knew imaging in the chest cavity was very difficult as the ribs form a cage around the soft tissue organs inside and as it is designed to protect from external damage, the rib cage also makes seeing what is inside problematic. I told the docs of my cousin who is a doc in the U.S. and she and I used to meet for coffee when she was training. They had a perfectly fine patient who just needed a chest tube drain and all precautions were taken. All procedures were followed and the tube was inserted perfectly into the cavity – and the heart was stuck to the chest cavity wall and was holed as well. That patient was dead in minutes. She cried when she told me and there were hearings that she had to attend and the finding was that everything humanly possible had been done to prevent the outcome. It was rare but it happened. The outcome was beyond human medical science to prevent.

That said the head doc asked how I felt emotionally and I told him that I watched a TV show called “Mayday” that reenacted the investigations of plane crashes. A number of the surrounding docs nodded. The outcome was very rarely the result of one action or occurrence and was often a combination of factors that had never before been encountered and could not have been predicted. I also said that in one episode the plane was an airliner in northern Canada and when it crashed only two people were left alive and they had only bruises and lacerations – nothing life-threatening. One was a young but very intelligent girl of about 10 years and the other was a woman geologist in her late twenties. As they sat side-by-side on the cold rocks quietly waiting for rescue after finding everyone else dead, the young girl turned to the woman and said: “I don’t know what to do now. This is my first plane crash.” And that is precisely how I felt.

Not long after that discussion I went to sleep and awoke on Monday in the Thoracic ICU. I was feeling much better but still empty. There were a couple of nurses who seemed to be taking care of me and they were very kind. I was wired for a wireless transmitter so I could move around and still be monitored. Still a few times a day a group of doctors would gather at my bedside and apologize and ask how I felt. The group grew from about 10 to about 20 as the work week started. Now this is a teaching hospital so any interesting patients being seen always have three or four trainees tagging along with the docs – groups of four or five total were not uncommon – I now had about 20 and I couldn’t tell which ones were real docs and which ones were trainees. I soon became suspicious there were more real ones when I started asking questions – each question was addressed promptly and fully by someone different in the group. I tried testing with marginal questions and sure enough another doc would pop up with an answer.

I grew stronger and by Monday evening I managed to get out of bed while supported by a walker or by using a wheelchair as a walker. One of the nurses told me that my clean-shaven face made me look young but my hair was too long. She said that she cut hair and asked if I wanted a trim. I laughed and agreed. They sent me, newly coiffed, down to dialysis for treatment. It was hairy because now we would be subjecting the newly repaired vessel to fluctuating pressures much different than it had yet had. My social worker dropped by as they were hooking up and when she asked how it was going I told her I wasn’t sure, that they were just trying dialysis for the first time and the vessel could burst and I could drop dead. Her eyes went really big and round and she backed away without further comment. I smiled. It went well. By Monday night I had snuck out for a smoke and no one complained, even though I told them where I was going. Very suspicious as “pulmonary exercise breaks” were highly discouraged. During the night Monday they removed the chest tubes and tracking devices and I was motoring around so well they moved me to a regular room on the ward.

By morning on Tuesday, I had stopped all pain killers and was wandering out for a smoke regularly. The docs – all 20 of them – came for their early-morning apology and were amazed to find me off pain killers, with all tubes removed and ambulatory. They asked a pile of questions and I apparently answered each to their satisfaction. The head doc told me that he had ever had a patient heal that fast before and that he would consider discharging me. He came back about an hour later by himself and asked a bunch more questions and then apologized for not having discharged me sooner – it was only about 8 a.m. By 10 a.m. I had been out for an hour and had a tet-a-tet with my nurse. He was very down to earth and had nursed for 27 years. He asked if he could get anything at all for me and I used my last trump card to get a free ride home with a taxi chit supplied by the hospital. He showered me with extra bandages and lectured me on wound care and even gave me some other supplies. The doc came back again apologizing for taking so long. He had my discharge papers and seemed as if he couldn’t believe that I was actually leaving after having died so recently. The nurse arrived with my taxi chit and the two saw me off as I left a free man. As I walked down the hall I met a Physiotherapy doc that had not been in the mix. He asked if I was Paul and when I nodded he apologized and said he was just coming to see me. I asked why a doc was sent for physio needs to a person in bed for four days. He just looked at the floor, apologized and said they wanted to make sure all my needs were covered. Umm, hmm. I was home by noon on Tuesday and spent most of the day napping or walking and eating.

Wednesday, I was following up on a thousand e-mails when the hospital called to do a check on me and to apologize. Ha! Anyway, the nurse and I chatted and I told her that my treatment was exemplary and we discussed various stages. She asked if I wanted to be on the patient advisory board that helped to make the hospital better and I agreed. She said that she would make sure that all involved were told of my satisfaction with the treatment.

I figure that if the accident that killed me was indeed a random concurrence of factors and would happen statistically to a very few patients that it was good that it happened to me as I healed fast and recovered fast and within a few days I was back blogging. It could very well have killed a weaker person. I also thank God for the strength to deal with this and for His contribution to my healing. Oh, I used no pictures as none were permitted where I was and none applicable are in the public commons because they are not permitted. Besides it is an intensely personal story and I chose to try to create the scenes with words – how did I do?

Please join me in thanking Mark, Karen and Ellie B for their invitation to tea on this weekend. We are all honored that you dropped by today to visit. I hope you’ve enjoyed this post and please look around at Mark’s other posts while you’re here. Oh and roughseasinthemed, your bottle of chilled Muscadet is on the table on ice. Have a great week all and I’m sorry I missed you all last Sunday …

Tea Time

Web Site: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/foodanddrink/11785378/Are-the-British-really-giving-up-tea.html

103 thoughts on “I’m Sorry

  1. Wow, just wow . . . just replied on one of your comments that I missed your storytelling and I come and read this! 1st off, I am so glad you are okay!! When you wrote you woke up 3 days later, I knew this was going to be bad . . . the fact you rallied so quickly is amazing – you truly have a strong mind and spirit!
    2nd – you wrote about this perfectly, I felt the impact and gravity of the story.
    3rdly – the fact that sooo many people apologized soooo many times, I would have to get my surgery report and hospital records from that visit and read them, just for my own satisfaction.
    Sending you a {{hug}}!!


    • Yes, it rare lbeth. My surgeon had never had it happen before but the nurses remembered one similar case many years ago and it came out well as mine did – after the patient died and came back. I’ve had more than a dozen tunnel catheters put in with local freezing and no incident. It is about an hour’s procedure as an outpatient. I sure am glad I was under a general when this happened – I would have died of fright had it been a local. The probability is very very low but still real. As I said, if it will happen statistically, then I am glad it was me because there are so many more fragile and more elderly than I am and most use perm caths. They would have died with the loss of more than 2 liters of blood into the chest cavity and the resultant shock.

      Thanks so much lbeth for the read and comment. I am honored.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: You Can Lock Me Up, But Not Forever! | Not Cordelia's Mom

  3. You DIED!! Whaaaaat?
    I swear I HAD to giggle at this line:
    ‘…and seemed as if he couldn’t believe that I was actually leaving after having died so recently.’ 😀
    Crazy shit man!
    No stories of where you went when you were dead?!(sheeesh!)
    The whole thing is actually SO SO COOL! (sorry – it really is!)
    I mean… hectic..but cool.
    And doctors apologising?
    Yeah it happens..ofcourse..all precautions and all… but – hmmm – covering their asses much? 😉 haha.

    Shew Paul… you have some interesting escapades dude.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, isn’t that surreal Belinda! I gotta tell you my life is not boring, but you know it never has been. I suspect the reason why I don’t remember anything is that to keep the blood pressure down, they kept me unconscious until Sunday morning. I did feel a sense of emptiness. Many of the researchers who have studied dying say that any memories are fleeting and last no more than an hour. That would explain why I didn’t remember and why I felt an empty feeling – if I had seen and felt the Love and Kindness of God, then I would definitely be left with an empty feeling. It still is not quite completely gone. But that’s OK it seems that God has more work for me here yet. At least that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. 😀


  4. Hi OC! Great to have you drop by for read and comment. I’m healing well and aside from a few staples and stitches yet to be removed , I feel about the same as i did before the operation. Amazing stuff and I think you’ll find your recovery goes well too – medicine is getting better by the day. I wish you the very best and eagerly await your return to the blogosphere.


    • Really though Gibber, it was surreal – go in on a Thursday and wake up on Sunday. Yikes! They blanched when I told them that if I was American I’d be a millionaire about now – ha! They gave me exemplary service every second after that – unreal the way they hustled and apologized. I was ready to go home on Tuesday – that worked well,but I heal fast so I guess that was it, although I attribute my speedy recovery to God, one way or another..

      Thanks so much for dropping by – I am honored.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Ana! So great to see you here. I trust you and your family are well – long time no post. Yeah, it was a pretty eventful week. I thank you for the concern. I’ll change the picture soon – having a hard time with sizing. Thanks again for the visit and comment – I am honored.


  5. Welcome back Paul! Your Sunday blog is something I look forward to reading every Monday (yep, it’s Monday here when the post is published). Missed it last week while you were knocking on the Pearly Gates, and then this week I’ve been more or less “out of it” for a few days due to a migraine. But finally I’m able to catch up.

    Yours is a story that sounds stranger than fiction, but I’m relieved that everything has turned out fine for you in the end.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so very much for coming by to read and comment Barry. I always look for your comment as I find your thoughts down to earth and honest. Isn’t it true that life is so much stranger than fiction could ever be? A “simple” procedure (simple in that it is done hundreds of times a day by many Radiology surgeons and the procedure is well known and well documented with a high success rate) suddenly is a piece in a very complex combination of rare circumstances and fails so abysmally that it kills the patient. Such is life – so dynamic and with such an unknowable nature that it amazes me that we can ever get anything done, let alone find processes that are 99.99% successful.

      Anyway, I am saddened that you are not well Barry. I hope that you improve in short order. I am honored by your comment – thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I don’t think of having a migraine as being ill. More of an inconvenience. I’ve had them for 55 years. I have between 10 and 20 migraine free days each month, so it’s not like I’m incapacitated.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Good, grief. As you said, in our litigious society down here, the first person standing over you when you woke from anesthesia would’ve been an attorney. An ambulance chaser who salivates over stories like this. Glad you’re okay. When, exactly, did this happen? Was this pretty recent? You’re capacity for writing a compelling post hadn’t been affected, I can tell you that much.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so very much for your compliments Mark. As MB said, it was last week. As a man of Faith, I gotta tell you Marks, it feels good to know that I’m still here – as if I still have work to do. Many would believe this is the work of a random universe such that there is no meaning to having survived but I choose to parse it from a Faith perspective and it feels good.

      Thanks again for dropping by Mark – your good thoughts are much appreciated. 😀


  7. Paul, I’m so stunned to hear all of this. Last Sunday we were wondering where you were, and you were just waking up AFTER YOU DIED??? Only you could make a story like that so entertaining. But I’m glad to hear you’re doing better and hope your recovery continues to go well.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey Barb! Great to have you visit. Yeah, you don’t get to use that excuse very often – Ha! As a fiction writer, I’m sure your brain is buzzing now at how you can have a character die and continue the character’s part. When I read the excerpt from your writing this weekend and you had the baby “die” as a protection mechanism – I figured you were already batting that idea around. As a non-fiction writer, my audience takes dying a bit more seriously – Ha! – one reader suggested that I have my headstone carved with both deaths.

      Thanks so much for the good thoughts and concerns Barb. Always a pleasure to have you drop by.


    • Hook! Wonderful to have you visit – I am honored. Yeah, it has been an unusual week. Yikes! Well, I seem to be hanging together. Thanks so much for the wonderful compliments and the read and comment. You are a good friend.


  8. Holy Crapola Paul. I am glad to hear you are mending well. And if any good comes of this, I’m glad to hear you’re on the advisory board. I would feel better if you were on the board of our local hospital You have the potential to make a difference. I’m sure, had you asked, you would have been given that sports car as well. But get a driver too. No need to stress out. Sit back and relax.

    Glad the dialysis went well too. Were you as nervous as I was reading about that?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey Colleen – great to have you visit. Yep,mending well as we speak – regular appetite, no redness or swelling, only surface pain when the stitches stretch, same sleeping patterns, etc, etc. very cool – I would say the most comfortable of any time I have ever had an operation. Hard to believe.

      Yes, I was very nervous the first time we dialyzed. That was why I was so hard on the social worker, she just happened to be in firing range when I about to find out. But there is no testing- at one point you have to stop cutting fish and start to fish. It worked. Ha! Whew!

      Thanks again for the visit Colleen – I am honored.


      • You’re welcome Paul. I’m still quite stunned by the turn of events. And I only ‘read’ about them. I look forward to when you can start sharing with us your experience being on the board. I loved your comment about if they would treat all patients like that, costs would be cut in half. AND the patients would be SO much happier and better off.

        Glad you are doing well. Is the beard growing back in?

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Goodness, Paul! You had me on the edge of my seat, knowing you would live but wondering how. Surreal for sure. Most of us here haven’t died yet, so this is all new for us.:) You’ll have to put 2016 as one of your death dates on your tombstone and then add yet another dash for the final date decades from now. I would have lost my mind over moving the 7am surgery to 1:30pm (I go nuts each time we wait an hour at the podiatrist), but that was the least of your concerns. Sounds to me like the devil tried to take you down, and God said, “Nope, I’ve got plans for him.” And golly, yes–you’d be a millionaire if you were here in this litigious culture. You want to believe the doctors do their best. I know I couldn’t be one; and to have blood on my hands if someone perished, what a burden that would be. Deep sigh of relief here for you, my friend. I hate that you have to be on dialysis at all, but I’m glad your heart is still beating. You take a licking and keep on ticking.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Kerbey! Great to have you visit. That is too funny – multiple death dates. That would make conversations in the after-world amusing: “So, when did you arrive?” “Which time?” Ha!

      It was hairy but I made it through in the end. As far as waiting goes, you get used to it. I have learned to nap anywhere. It is decidedly different from the corporate culture. The problem is that right up until they put you under, if an emergency comes in they have to do that first. For all I know they may have been forced to reschedule everyone else and only kept me because of either urgency or transport (I travel by handicap transport unless i can get a free taxi 😀 )

      Thanks so much for dropping by – I’m honored.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. All I can write is that you are a blessed man and thank God that you survived. That was one harrowing experience and this is my first knowledge of doctors saying they were sorry for what happened. (I’m a retired RN). You are incredibly strong and that sure is and has been to your advantage.

    This made a great story but I can add my sorry, that I’d rather not have read about your experience.

    Good karma is sent your way for continued good health.

    Best regards,
    Yvonne D.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for dropping by Yvonne. It is such a pleasure to have you here. Yeah, I’ve never had an apology before either = it is possible that those who have no hospital experience do not see the reason for my title – I’m glad you do. I’ve had doctors who have caused me 10 days in hospital when i was perfectly healthy and still no apology. I tell you, these men and women were very apologetic Yvonne.

      Thank you for the kind thought and thanks for dropping by.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Oh Paul! Good gracious. I’m so glad you’re alive. You’re way more forgiving than I think I could have been. But I don’t know that. I hope I never find out.
    I don’t know if I can excuse your absence, though. You could write these stories in your sleep…yet you didn’t. (Attempt at humor, excuse me if it’s bad form.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mel! Great to see you here. I was going to drop a note to you and a few others this afternoon that I had a post up. I see you found me – perfect. Ahhh, it’s hard to be mad at someone who has killed you. That seems silly as one would think that would be the most upsetting situation but the opposite is true. The reason why is that the anger comes from thinking that others don’t care – but for a doctor whose job and reputation depends on the safety of his/her patients, it is beyond consideration that they did not try as hard as they could to be safe. It is as far from possible that there was a lack of caring and professionalism as would be possible. There was no lack of effort or training or caring – so dead or alive no harm intended. I could not conceive of a doc doing anything but his/her best. I lost no money – socialized health care here- and they treated me like a king after the fact. I can see no reason to be upset or angry or seek retribution.

      I know you would feel the same way Mel if it ever happened to you. You are not a vindictive type of person. CM also suggested an automatic email notification of one person if I was stuck in hospital. I’ll check it out – good idea.

      Thanks again for the visit – have a great week!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I think that’s the best excuse anyone has ever had for missing a blog posting! Absolutely terrifying. Glad you made such a quick recovery and are on the mend. Great post. I felt like I was there with you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Berlinda! great to have you drop by for a read and comment. Yeah, I’m going to have a hard time topping that excuse “I died” the next time I miss a post – I blew my trump card. ha! When I was managing drivers I once had a driver ask for a day off to go to his father’s funeral six times – gotta find out how he dd that. Ha! Most dead man I ever heard of.

      Thanks for the good thoughts and concerns. I hope all is well with you – have a great week!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. You died, and didn’t email me to tell me that had happened? Whatever am I going to do with you?

    Seriously, though, I am so glad you got through it. As you say, a weaker person probably wouldn’t have survived, and certainly wouldn’t have recovered so quickly. It’s good to see you back here and know you’re doing ok. Hugs, Paul.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much for dropping by for a visit CM. I am honored. And you know what?-you just gave me a good idea. I could have an e-mail notification of hospital admission put on my contact card for the hospital. I don’t know if they do that yet or not, but if not I will lobby for it at the next meeting of the advisory committee. Excellent idea CM – you have always triggered interesting ideas.

      Hugs back at ya CM. You were one of the first to trust me to guest post and helped to build my confidence such that I now have a big ego. Bwahaha! It is wonderful to have you as a friend CM. The Vancouver move is still on, believe it or not. We will definitely have to have coffee on my way through. I am flexible so it can be for anytime that we are both available.

      Thanks again for the kind thoughts and concerns – have a great week.


      • All I felt was empty CM. I think they kept me in a coma for a few days to reduce any strain on their repairs.It was too long from the experience to the consciousness for any memories to survive. Any researchers have found that memories of death fade very fast and leave no trace. Th empty feeling could be a clue though that i saw and felt a love and kindness and caring there that I had never felt before and all that was left afterwards was the hole where those memories had been.

        Liked by 1 person

  14. Well Paul, I won’t thank you for a great story here, because this is chilling. I am so glad you are okay. I hope you stay that way. I cannot believe that you died… it’s hard even to write that, or to imagine it.

    Stay well, my friend. And I look forward to your next story.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, I think they sent me back from the Pearly gates Trent. Better luck next time they told me – my room wasn’t ready yet. 😀 I have always had freakishly positive outcomes from near-death experiences and I have had many – none this close though. I once told a friend that it sometimes feels like I am standing in a minefield filled with bullet holes but I am still standing.

      Great to have you visit, read and comment Trent. Y’all come back soon, ya hear?


  15. I was afraid of all that. (and started sending healing energy your way during the silence. Was risk intruding and email if there wasn’t a post today) Medicine is never an exact science or practice no matter what the TV shows say. It should have all been easy and gone right, but… – you probably scared the poo out of everyone. People like you, Paul – even med providers
    Of course, we here always knew you were exceptional and special, no wonder you were the “learning experience of the week” (maybe the lifetime) for the docs and doc-in-training. Any amount of time you can spend as an advisor would be a real value for them – this wasn’t your first medical porcedure and you have lots of astute observations.
    (Do not get me started on hospital systems computer programs, systems, and technicians…muddling through a huge bungled mess here, too. Are software salemen selling defective snake oil programs to hospitals everywhere? Probably)
    I loved this image you created “gleaming new surgery room was hung with nests of huge stainless arms installed in the ceiling…” Whether intentional or not the shining other worldy image was great foreshadowing and built suspense and tension (not really what one in the OR wants to feel as a patient)
    Gald you’re back…and now going to join Roughseas for a bit of that….

    Liked by 2 people

    • Muscadet – French white wine from the western end of the Loires Valley.down the third road to the right and then the fourth alleyway to the left and then the 32nd tree from the eastern side of the tree just a few feet from the top. Bwahaha! You know how ze Franche are wit der vines.

      Tasty stuff I am told. Ha! Thank you all for the great outpouring of kind thoughts and prayers – I am overwhelmed. I’m figuring out how I can get a message out next time so folks are not so worried. I thought I had it covered this time but I was wrong.

      Thanks so much for your visit and comment Phil – I am honored.


  16. It’s amazing what people can come back from, though death is usually a particularly trickier thing than most others. I’m terribly glad to know that despite the odds you were revived, are healing up quick and managed to receive the finest care possible in hospital…truly a week of statistical rarities. As you said you have no memory of the dying part I must wonder what that could signify. Perhaps there is just nothing and we fade away when we die, maybe it was never going to be your moment to leave and so next steps weren’t going to show then or it could be that your full experience is yours alone and impossible to share. Either way I am curious to know if it’s had any effect on how you view things?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi DBA! Thanks so much for dropping by for a read and comment. I am healing well and will post a few photos here this afternoon. Interesting question about how i feel. You know that may have been the logic behind the doctors asking constantly about my emotional state. In as many years around hospitals I have never been asked that question by the docs before. I just chalked it up to them testing for a coming law suit – which i wouldn’t do if they were trying and they so obviously were. As scary as it all was, I was not out any money as I would have been in the US, so suing would useless. They seldom if ever give settlements for scaring the crap out of people here. One of the side effects of socialized medicine. 😀

      I have had a very strong faith for a long time DBA It came from questions asked in science and business and an active curiosity. I cannot see how any of this could be unless there was a supreme being. i don’t like churches and I don’t attend church – there is too much worship of people and power. I read the bible many times and the Koran and some Buddhist and other teachings and they all confirmed what I had already deduced – so no surprises and no dedication to scriptures. It is simply God=Love . All else falls out from that. If your logic leads you to acts or thoughts that are not with love then your logic is wrong. I have no memories or feelings of the days that I was kept unconscious. The only emotional response was one of emptiness. That is slowly fading. That does fit with having died for once one has experienced the perfection and joy and love of life after death, I would assume one would feel empty when deprived of that Love. I have read quite a bit of Kubler-Ross on the scenes seen by those who have died and returned. The problem was those memories faded away very fast and left no sign they were ever there. In my case I assume they kept me comatose for days afterwards to reduce blood pressure and allow healing. there was never any hope that I would have memories. The elapsed time between experience and consciousness was too long.

      As far as attitude changes, I wouldn’t expect much because I am already very strong in my faith and awareness of God. And i try to act on that Faith. The big changes one hears about are often from those who were non-believers before the experience. So, no luck there either. I do think your questions are perfect and I wondered about each since the experience – we think alike. 😀

      Thanks again DBA for the visit and comment. I am honored. how’s Kismet? Ha!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Bwahaha! There you are my clandestine friend. Shadows of GG flicker here and there but a post pops up only when it is not expected and even though one may be following no notification ripples the surface of the interwebs. And she slides in and out of the shadows in timed rendezvouses at hidden gardens and magical forests – conversing only by coded tweets and veiled references. She was here but is no longer – leaving only a few carefully chosen cryptic phrases for those who seek her out but are doomed to failure. For she is untraceable and untrackable in her chosen medium – appearing only to those who are favored before slipping once again into anonymity.

      Bwahahaha! You’re a fine one to talk of alien genes GG.Oh you creature of the shadows. Yeah, this is starting to scare me too. I know there are some doubting Thomases out there so I’ll publish a few photos here this afternoon. That internal injury was quite small but with very very critical importance. It is naturally well protected and defended, but the surgeons had bypassed all that to operate so a very small mistake had the ultimate outcome of death. Catching it and fixing it quickly meant there was time to reverse the outcome and also meant a very quick healing. But I have always healed fast and am strong of constitution. There are some very very negative characteristics of my constitution but this time it worked in my favor. it hasn’t always. For instance the quick healing and malleability of my cells makes me very susceptible to unusual external environment. I had radiation treatment for cancer (which is really only cells reproducing out of control – a side effect of fast healing cells not turned off when done) and that caused the cells in my urinary tract to react and block access from the kidneys, killing them and putting me on dialysis for life. The cells around where the tumor was became confused and I have radiation fistuals that are not pleasant. Now mind you the sensitivity meant that the tumor itself was completely gone when the surgeons went back – a state they had never seen happen before and they wanted to do a paper on me but I refused.

      Anyway all that to say that I show you guys the positive side of my constitution but not the negative. I did once explain a small part and I got comments that said i had gone too far and no one wanted to hear it. Que sera – so no magic here oh shadowy one, just a different response – sometimes positive (like now) and sometimes negative (why my kidneys were destroyed in the first place and why I had cancer). Thanks so much for dropping by for a read and comment – great to see you again!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Artimous! So great to have you drop by. A real pleasure sir, Yeah, there are an infinite number of ways for things to go wrong in a hospital. But having been hanging around one for years now, I can tell you from experience that the odds are very much in the patients’ favor, They take a lot, lot, lot of precautions to prevent any bad things from happening. They do so much to reduce the errors and mistakes, that it is often hard to see through to the real critical processes. Like that surgery I described – it looked like something from an alien spaceship and all to reduce the chance of any contamination. in the old surgeries most equipment sat on tables on wheels that were rolled around. I just checked Google Images and I couldn’t find anything as modern as the surgery I was in.

      Before surgery you sit in a marked parking spot on a stretcher and every main player comes out to see and talk to you before they suit up. Every one checks to make sure you are the right person (it gets repetitive) and they ask what you are having done and where and how much and all the other questions. So they have all seen you and spoken before you even enter.

      Rest assured my friend that if you ever have to partake of the medical system – God forbid – they will take good care of you. Our media focuses on the exceptions but look at even myself – as bad as that was, they recovered, fixed it and I am well n my way to being healthy again.

      Thanks so much for dropping by and good health to you and yours. 😀


  17. Holy cow, Paul. So glad you’re OK. Such a scary experience. Terrifying. And I think that the doctors did the right thing in explaining what happened and in apologizing. I’ve read that even here in the litigious US, an apology makes all the difference!

    Putting you on the board is a terrific idea — you have both the brains and (sadly) the experience to offer them great perspective.

    I have always preferred to be unconscious for my surgeries. I would never want to be awake if anything should go wrong …

    Chilling story Paul. You need to add this one to your book.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks so much for dropping by for a read and comment Elyse. It is friends like yourself who give me the strength to carry on. It is mind boggling how much difference it makes when everyone works together, including an apology, to help the patient heal. Their motives may well have been selfish but there was no doubt in my mind that they were scared shitless and were doing everything in their power to remove every single obstacle from my path. And I gotta tell you they did an amazing job of that – proving without an iota of doubt that it can be done.

      I hope that I get a chance to have even one meeting as a part of the board – the Vancouver opportunity is still alive and well – just pushed along to the end of this month. Grrrrr!

      Thanks again Elyse for your concern and caring – I am touched.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Wow, Paul! Quite the ordeal you had. I’m so sorry, too! You were definitely in my prayers all week, but I was simply praying for your speedy healing. I’m so pleased that you survived and are recovering quickly. That is a serious complication, very dangerous, as I’m sure you know. We’re all blessed to have you and to have your words. Remember to be good to yourself, to take the time to heal.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much Insanitybytes for the healing prayers. I’m feeling rather normal now and that is amazing. The fact that they were able to do the repair through a small hole in my side reduced the healing and trauma considerably. I honestly have a hard time believing it myself. It is truly an amazing hats off to God and the medical world that I can feel so normal and heal so fast. Breathtaking. I’m actually sitting here now and it is hitting me how miraculous that really is. I’m going to have to post some pictures because I can tell that as nice as all are, there are a few doubting Thomases – as I am and it happened to me. Yikes!

      Thanks so much for the support and reality check IB – you’re the best!


  19. Wow, Paul!!!! So glad you’re still with us, especially since we just met today. Hate to imagine what I’d have missed? God is soooooooo THERE., and so Good! He obviously isn’t done with you yet, my friend. I really enjoyed, if that’s the right word(?) your blog, and am in awe of your strength and humor. I read between the lines, lol, and applaud 🙂 Looking forward to reading more from you, here again at tea, I presume? Take care of YOU! Hugs~Suz

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey Suz! Thank you so much for coming to visit and Welcome! This is a friend’s blog and I guest post on Sunday – he is very kind to allow me to do so. And , of course we always have your tea of choice or coffee or adult beverages – let me know and I’ll keep your cup full. 😀 It is a rare post to be the first one you encounter of mine – believe me this was my first time as well -dying that is. I too believe that it means that I have work to do here yet. That is a good feeling Suz. The road to heaven leads straight through hell.

      Thanks again for dropping by to read and comment.May God Bless.


  20. Oh my goodness, Paul! You always have fascinating stories, but this one takes the cake. Sorry is used far too less in health care when it’s often a word that can heal the most when used sincerely. I am so glad you recovered like you did. I’ve been wondering about you all summer, so thank you for prompting me to pop over here and read. You’re an amazing man.
    And…hello to Mark and Karen – I hope you all had an amazing summer. xo

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mama! Welcome, welcome! It is wonderful to have you drop by for a read and comment. And thank you for the great compliment. You know I too was wondering if the apologies actually accelerated the healing process. I heal fast but I gotta tell you being dead on Thursday and walking out on Tuesday is pretty odd even for me. God gets the thanks – along with the best health care I have ever had – for that one.

      The Vancouver trip is still on. Every time we turn around there is something pushing it along. But the owner still calls daily and it is looking like the last hurdle will be passed by the end of the month. The plan is still the same – i’ll be dropping by your town for dialysis – I’ll have the records faxed as soon as a date is fixed. You won’t believe what is holding us up now – the Canadian government installed a treasury department computer that was a total failure. There are over 80,000 government employees and payables that have been delayed for months. it is a disaster and my co-habiter who is financing the drive across and is the lead signatory on the lease, had all his money caught up in that. It is called Phoenix and it is reduced to ashes – ha! Unreal – I can’t believe the government dd that. It sounds hokum but here’s a link http://news.nationalpost.com/news/canada/canadian-politics/phoenix-explained-why-federal-civil-servants-arent-being-paid He has seen nothing because this same computer controls money crossing the border and he has been waiting for his money to be returned from an American investment. They are scheduled to pay an advance of around 30% by end of month.This article understates the problem as the media has been told to keep its mouth shut. anyway, i’ll be in contact and we can meet where ever you happen to be if not home. I’m flexible.

      Thanks again Mama – looking forward to having coffee with you.

      Liked by 1 person

      • You are one of the most resilient men I know. I’m glad that your trip is still on. Keep me posted – we have a new dialysis center going up less than 2 miles from my house. Maybe it’ll be open by the time you arrive.

        Liked by 1 person

  21. oh, i’m so glad you are okay. at first, i thought maybe you just needed a break, as we all do from time to time, but we all began to worry once there was no word from you. so glad you made it –

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you so very much for your concerns Beth. After the last time, I made arrangements for a neighbor to leave a message with Mark and he said he could not access the site – #$%% off. I will find a way to leave a message for sure in case anything happens again. I’m Sorry. Thanks so much for the read and comment – I am honored. Hey, did you take today’s picture on your blog – it is stunning – mind I grew up by an ocean and crave moving to another ocean so i am a bit biased.


  22. I could not think of a better person to serve on the advisory board that you, Paul. So glad you survived. They did a great job recognizing what happened and addressing it quickly enough to get you back. I have put in dozens of those catheters in residency but always lived in fear that something would go wrong. Lots of dangerous stuff in that area. You don’t ever want to get complacent or cocky.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks so much for dropping by to read and comment Victo. Yeah, my body will cover the catheter with fibrin very quickly so I’ve had likely a dozen or so installed before I got a fistula. A short procedure and never a problem. Except this time. And it was a BIG problem this time. Normally they use a local and sedative but this time I was under a general and I am very glad I was. The fear alone would have killed me had I been awake. Thanks so much for the compliment about the advisory board – I may not get to participate as I am still working on Vancouver – but here’s hoping.

      Thanks again for the visit – I am honored.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Ha! Thanks so much for dropping by Van. I think the greatest miracle was not returning from the dead, it was seeing doctors without egos. God’s work for sure.Ha! Just kidding I am very thankful for God’s help. And thanks for the good thoughts.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Awesome 1J1. I’m a little achy when I bend or stretch and have a few feet of bandages on me but I feel fine. Thanks so much for your kind thoughts and for dropping by for a read and comment. Wonderful to see you here Thank You

      Liked by 1 person

  23. Thank you Mark for the opportunity to guest post today. I know you are busy with the passing of a sister this week and my condolences and prayers go out to you and your family on this sad occasion.


  24. Hi Paul, so sorry to hear about this awful experience, but your quick recovery is amazing. I believe God had sent his angel to watch over you. Oh, you should have given the docs a long list of all the things you wanted. LOL! Take care, Paul! See you next week! ♡(ŐωŐ人)

    Liked by 1 person

    • NBC! thanks so much for the visit and comment. Yeah, that was scary. You know how docs are usually so egotistical? – Not even a ghost of that this time. It was incredible, the change. I think I could have asked for a sports car and they would have happily have given it. It wasn’t until after the fact that I realized how fast that ignorant ICU nurse had disappeared. I actually asked the next nurse if they had changed shifts and she hesitated and then said No. And you normally have to wait a long time for a porter to get wheeled for tests and such – as soon as a doc ordered a test, the porter was standing there. Get a load of this – At 5:45 a.m. Tuesday morning the resident in Thoracic ordered an X-Ray. At 5:50 I was being raced down the hall trough the hospital to X-ray to arrive at 5:55. There was a tech waiting when i arrived and he literally ran over to the stretcher and told me what imaging we were doing as he ran me through the doors into the X-ray room at 5:56. He helped me stand , and took three images changing my position between each and then I climbed back into the stretcher and he ran me out of the X-ray room at 6:00am. A porter was waiting (a different one) and he grabbed the stretcher and raced back through the hospital and we arrived at Thoracic at 6:04am. 19 minutes from the ordering of a test until it was done and I was back in my room. At 6:30 twenty docs arrived – so many that they would not all fit in the room, and each had copy of the X-rays and the head doc said they looked fine (they had already been read and interpreted) and that’s when he suggested discharge.

      Unreal. If they put that much energy into every patient our budget wold be cut in half and patients would get much better faster. And everywhere I turned from the highest to the lowest – every single one had read the case or had it discussed with them before I arrived.My nurse exclaimed – So, you’re the one we discussed for an hour this morning. ha!

      Thanks so much for dropping by NBC. Sorry about last week….. ;D

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much for the visit and comment roughseas. Yeah, that was a bit of a surreal break in reality there. I have been biting my lip when people ask the usual question of how my week was going. Replying much better since I died last week is a bit too heavy for an exchange of pleasantries. What blew me away though was how fast I healed. Now, I am covered by bandages and ache ever time I bend or reach (chest tube stitches in back and thirty staples holding my left arm together) but just sitting here typing this there is no pain or difference than normal. Mind boggling. How was your week? – Oh, I died but I’m all better now. Yikes!

      Thanks again for the visit this week roughseas, enjoy your Muscadet!

      Liked by 1 person

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