The patient, me, had been having a difficult time taking a deep breath, but was still able to run up stairs and do his daily work without discomfort and the problem that had brought me to the ER was the feeling that my lungs were just not accepting air as usual. It kind of felt like they were somewhat already filled with something. Not knowing that Paradise Valley had a horrible reputation for scamming potential patients to extract extra money from them, I chose to go there, since it was close. It turned out that Mayo Clinic was just as close, probably closer.
The Cath Lab was an operating room setting, with people wearing masks all around me and a huge monitor above me. I laid there making jokes, so as not to cry. Suddenly, the two operating room doors swung open and a maniac with a foreign accent, somewhere in the Middle East, came busting in, similar to the way that Elvis would entered the stage. He was ranting and screaming at everyone, myself included. I don't recall what he said to others, but to me he said, "From now on you're my patient and you don't listen to any other doctors, do you understand?" I nodded, yes! I kept thinking that at any moment security would come through those same doors to contain this escaped maniac, but it turned out, he was my doctor, (holy crap).
He began by asking me what allergies I might have and then asked if I were allergic to shrimp? I thought we were going to order out, but it just turned out he wanted to know if I were allergic to iodine. The next thing I know, there is someone puling off my pants and shaving cream is applied to my private area and a razor is being applied. Quickly, I was naked and shaven and still no one explained anything to me. I started praying!
The overhead monitor lit up and suddenly I was watching my own angio-gram. Terribly interesting. Now, the maniac yells out that he's found 75% blockage and is going to install a stent. Huh? At some point and I'm watching on the monitor, he's having a difficult time and begins cursing, when he pushes too hard forward and I watch the monitor fill up with blood, or for all intents and purposes, just turn black. I ask the idiot/doctor what just happened, because I could tell from the reaction of the others in the room that something very bad had just occurred. I heard him casually say, "I tore your heart"!
At first it didn't even compute. I stalled, my thinking was adjusting for what he meant. Can you tear a person's heart? If so, what do you do to resolve it? My thoughts went directly to John Ritter, the actor who had just died of a torn aorta. Was I going to die? I asked the butcher/doctor and his reply was a casual, "I don't think so, we have a controlled environment and we'll fly you to John C. Lincoln Hospital and you'll have open heart surgery" and he walked away... I asked someone why they don't just do the surgery here and was told, because we don't have a cardiology department..........huh?
So they called Air-O-Vac and they flew me over for about $17000. I remember seeing the sun coming up over Camelback Mountain and how beautiful it was and praying that it wasn't the last thing I'd see. We landed on the roof at J. C. Lincoln and looked for the first person I saw that looked like they could administer an IV. By this time, I was in severe pain, as blood was leaking out into my chest cavity. They put me out and I was in a coma for 2 and 1/2 weeks. During that time, I lost kidney function, as someone did not install the assist pump properly and it caused my kidneys to shut down. My son flew in from CA and was told that I was not going to make it. While I was out cold, I had several more procedures to try to keep me alive. I had a blood clot removed from my lung and constant drainage of my lungs that were filled with fluid. I was turning septic, I was told.
During that period of time, they discovered what was really wrong with me to begin with. When they opened me up and I mean with a scalpel and a dremel to saw open my poor chest, they found a liter and a half of fluid in my pericardium, the sack around my heart. I had endocarditis or an infection in my heart. All of this could have been avoided with an antibiotic. They also found a aneurysm, that otherwise may never have been found and may have killed me? Perhaps this was part of God's big plan to begin with, I'll never know.
One thing I do know, is that doctors and nurses were lined up to congratulate me for my survival and as far as Dr. Jan Prasad was concerned, I think he may have come to see me, although I was pretty heavily drugged and had a hard time telling reality from hallucinations. I think he came to see me, but had nothing positive to say, only that my chart did not look too good, that he didn't think I was going to make it and left without saying, I'm sorry, or things like that happen sometimes. He was very negative and I never answered him or replied in any way. I watched him walk out and asked the nurse to not allow him back, that he seemed unbalanced...
I wrote this story in 2007 in more detail, but neglected to mention the horrible doctor's name, due to repercussions...It's been 8 horrible years since 2005. The man literally ended my life as I knew it. I suffered the initial shock of what happened, endured dialysis and bi-weekly pumping of fluid out of my lungs for months. Several surgeries to install and remove lines and pumps. Many more procedures including a misdiagnosis of bone cancer that continued for 6 months. This man cost my my life as I knew it.............. and no apology!