Tuesday, March 18, 2008

A ..new crisis.

I have traveled widely and without a doubt the most beautiful city I have seen is San Francisco.

Waking up at dawn in a room on the eighth floor of the hospital situated almost at the top of Twin Peaks the view in the background was the Bay Bridge already bumper to bumper with commuters' cars with headlights still twinkling on the top level and parades of trucks like elephants entering a circus tent on the lower level. As the sun rose, mist would rise unveiling the high rise buildings like a theater curtain on the opening act. From my angle the Transamerica Building with its thin spire seemed to be the tallest and the last one fully visible.

The hospital people in their wisdom placed the patient's beds in the far corner of the room so that none of this was visible to them.

One morning as I awoke and began perusing the panorama out my window I became aware of a rasping noise and quickly realized that Jean was gasping. I pushed the call button to summon the nurse but as minutes went by I went out into the hall and literally grabbed the first nurse I saw.

I told her the problem and her reply was, "You will have to wait because the doctors are all in a conference".

I just said to her, "This isn't right. I want a doctor here now."

In a matter of minutes a resident, a Brazilian with a very strong accent, arrived and did a cursory exam. I was a bit sceptical but reasoned that if he was accepted to learn under Charlie he must be good. He disapeared and soon a guerney arrived. Another trip to the surgery.

Jean's vocal cords were not operating properly causing a closing off of most of her air supply.
The surgery was a tracheotomy. An incission was made below the vocals cords, the muscles spread apart, and a plastic tube installed.

As a sidelight, this procedure was conceived not by a doctor but by a Walla Walla College student.

During Word War ll, every young man was subject to the military draft. There were exceptions for the physically unfit and for so called conscientious objectors. The test for the objectors were severe and few were successful.

The boys from Walla Walla College while refusing to bear arms volunteered as stretcher bearers subjecting themselves to great risk while rescuing wounded from the battlefield under enemy fire.

One, a pre-med student, found a soldier with a neck injury that impaired his breathing. Out of desperation the stretcher bearer reached into his pocket and with a pocket knife made an incision below the adams apple. He then used a barrel of a fountain pen to keep the airway open and staunch the bleeding saving the soldier's life.

To be continued


Blogger Frances said...

When you need to travel within San Francisco for a long time, you ought to check out the cars over at the used cars San Francisco lots.

9:51 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home