Sunday, August 19, 2007

Oops, sorry to interrupt, now back to the story

The Walla Walla Clinic had hired some new doctors.

The one assigned to Jean took me aside and asked me why I had traveled to Portland for care when we had such a great medical school in Seattle.

I found that these guys also had personal contacts at U.W. Med. School.

With problems still persisting we made an appointment and checked in.

The first thing done after the patient was signed in, had blood drawn, and set up in a room was a visit from a young resident. He had a tray with a kit and as he informed me that he had never done the procedure before, I opted to stay and watch.

I learned why visitors are asked to leave the room while the doctor is working.

The resident had Jean sit up and turn her back to him. He then selected a hypodermic needle and counted down the ribs. After marking the spot he pushed the needle into the marked spot and removed the plunger part allowing the almost clear spinal fluid to flow into a beaker.

He explained the importance of using just the right size needle to control the flow.

He went on to explain that in the original surgery the Oregon neurosurgeons had run the drain from the shunt into the thorax where a protein reaction had ensued causing a buildup of the spinal fluid requiring, I believe it was called thorocentesis, removal at least a litre of spinal fluid.

A new surgery was done utilising the stub into the brain but using an updated pump and a tubing size that maintained a pressure closer to her natural pressure.

Also the tube was fed into the atrium of the heart so the fluid would be carried in the bloodstream.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Dan asked me about the musical "Young Frankenstein"

Y.F. has been put together and is being tried out in Seattle at the Paramount Theatre.

It is a real treat to have real Broadway pros on the local stage although the Seattle theatre scene does not lack in the quality of its talent.

Dan, if you haven't already looked it up the name of the monster player is Shuler Hensley.

At just shy of three hours running time there obviously will need to be some cutting of scenes before it hits Broadway.

The dance numbers are superb.

There may be a few people in this world who do not appreciate Mel Brooks' schmutzic, vaudeville gag laden genre but they surely were not in the sell out audience Sunday. If the area between the seats would have been wider a majority of the occupants would have been off their seats and rolling on the floor.

Another Producers? Very possibly.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Just to lighten up a bit, I was rereading some past posts and came across a comment by Burl about a counter clerk he hired who was married to one sister but having an affair with the other sister.

I never heard of him again. But it brought to mind another employee who worked for us for a short time.

He was from a family of several brothers, at least five worked for us at one time or another, all from the same father but separate mothers.

The old man would marry European women and have them travel to Walla Walla at their expense. After they delivered a child, he would get rid of them. I don't really know how. He would keep the kids as a handy source of welfare checks.

He had worked for us at various time but mainly hung around the saloons spending the monthly support vouchers.

The kid Burl inquired about was a clean cut fellow who spoke about continuing to Med school. This reminded me of this other clean cut kid mentioned above who in the course of moving a bale of steel dropped it on his foot loosing a toe.

Newly married he spent several months at home recuperating. Of course there was a pregnancy.

On the date the child was delivered a settlement check from L&I insurance arrived in the mail and our hero hobbled over to his attorney to file for divorce.

Speaking of clean cut employees. there was the truck driver we had hired who divulged that previously he had been a driver of a fuel truck used at the airport to service planes. On hearing that his fiancee living in another community had sent him a "Dear John" letter he gunned his truck onto the highway and began a topspeed mission to plead his case with her only to crash his fuel laden truck into a bridge abuttment about twenty miles out of Walla Walla.

Since he didn't burn up the bridge or kill a passerby his sentence was mostly probation.

After a series of incidents in my employ I won't recount, I "let him go".

He returned to college where he became editor of the school newspaper, student body president and was sent to a mideast country as a "student ambassador".

As far as I am concerned he was still a schm###.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Back at Good Samaritan Hospital in Portland Jean was back in her three bed ward next to the nurse's station.

The diagnosis was hydrocephalus. As I understand it, the brain constantly exudes spinal fluid that is drained into the spine through a series of valves in the area of the brain. In the course of surgery or other trauma it is not unusual for blood to clog some of these valves.

So in fact a pool of spinal fluid had been accumulating in her head and pressing on the brain. The next step was a surgery to install a shunt to replace the blocked valves and allow the constantly oozing fluid to drain.

Fluid drained and Jean was her smiling former self.

The problem was to allow the fluid in the closed system to drain at an ideal pressure. A relatively new technology was used. the Wade-Dahl-Till or WDT valved shunt.

Patricia Neal was an academy award winning American actress married to English author Roald Dahl. They lived in London and had five children.

The youngest, Theo, was struck by a car while being wheeled across a street in his pram by a nurse. A head injury resulted in a hydrocephalus condition.

Mr Dahl aside from being an author with some popular movies to his credit was also a former Wing Comander in the air force during World War II. He called on some of his comrades from the war who were hydraulic engineers to assist him in devising a shunt from the ventrical of the brain to the atrium of the heart.

An American engineer had invented a valve for his son that proved unwieldly but in the course of his experiments had come up with a combination of silicone and rubber that was inert to body chemestry and in fact is used today in breast implants and heart repairs.

The WDT was first used in 1962 but even in 1974 it was still a novelty at Oregon Medical School because the good professors of neurosurgery did not install it quite right