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The Suburbanite
  • Jean Nero: Returns from major surgery

  • Hi, I’m back. I want to thank deeply all of you who asked about me with genuine concern and told me to return to my “work.” Also, I owe a million thanks, first, to all those in the medical world who made it possible for me to return.

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  • Hi, I’m back. I want to thank deeply all of you who asked about me with genuine concern and told me to return to my “work.” Also, I owe a million thanks, first, to all those in the medical world who made it possible for me to return.
    Today I consider myself a walking miracle.
    “Walking” is the key word as not only have I recuperated from surgery, I can walk again... a living testimony to all who cared for me.
    Now, to work. After my thanks comes a new issue. While we’ve perfected the best hospitals in the nation (which I attest as a frequent patient) and we have the best surgeons and nurses working for us, there’s one thing I think we forget. That’s the daily nitty-gritty needs of the patient that are important to survival.
    We do wonders to save and restore patients with new procedures. But — and it’s a big “but” to this patient — we now tell the patient that he or she has to do most of the prep work.
    Here’s my recent experience with surgery a few months ago. As many of you know, I’ve survived five major and a few minor surgeries since I turned 45. In each of those, I experienced the best care in both of our two wonderful hospitals. For these, I used to go in the night before surgery and, during the next few weeks, all my physical needs were cared for — by doctors and nurses.
    Recently, I faced major leg surgery. But, first, I had to attend a two-hour class a week before. There, they told me all about the procedure and nearly scared me into canceling it, quite honestly. Then came the real trauma for this 83-year-old. They gave me a 24-page book that tells of all the things I had to do — on my own — before surgery. A list of exercises, preparatory details that normally the hospital would do before surgery; such as keeping a record of my medications (and be sure to stop a specific one five days before) and giving myself, yes, the enema that the hospital used to give on the night before surgery. Are you guys kidding?
    You’re asking any patient, especially one who is 83, to “do it yourself?”
    This prompted me several times in frustration to yell, “Heck, give me the scalpel and I’ll do that myself, too!” That got a chuckle from my dear, fine surgeon, but he, too, is strapped to the rules and regulations now governing us.
    Who’s responsible for these new, ridiculous rules? I emphasize it’s not the fault of good hospitals or the skilled doctors we’re blessed with. From my perspective, it involves two forces: insurance companies and sue-happy people. Insurance companies dictate how things are paid, and set-up times and situations to be the most profitable. Why? Well, most of the blame must go to the people who wage frivolous litigation. As in all struggles, it’s those who wage schemes of greed who screw up the good things the system can do for the rest of us.
    Page 2 of 2 - We read every day about heroic gains in medicine that restore new life for the near-dead and those who conquer before-unknown ways to save and prolong life. We salute the fine doctors, dedicated nurses and hospitals who struggle to make it all happen. But on the down-home needs of those you save, don’t throw out the baby with the bath water; find a way to take care of all of the patient’s needs — before and after surgery — as well as the miraculous cure, so a vital stay in the hospital doesn’t become a nightmare of preparation.