This post is coming a little late, due to my manic Monday.
It started Sunday as I was eating dinner and felt a problem with the bridge in my mouth.
Monday morning I went to my dentist to have it looked out and cemented back in. Well that did not happen. Instead the bridge slipped down my throat. Gone.
Now the coughing and slight choking was the least of my problems. My dentist assumed that the bridge went down my esophagus and told me to eat some bread and drink water to move it through my digestive system.
After eating half a loaf of seeded semolina Italian Bread and 5 glasses of water, the pain did not move down my body.
So I drove to a walk-in medical office, which my family call doc-in-a-box, and explained my agita problem. The young doctor took two X-Rays and broke the news. “You need to get to the hospital right now. The bridge is in your lungs.”
To me the pain was manageable, but I knew I had to do something. I went to the ER and was ferried through a very crowded triage and ER unit with may patients on gurnys in the hallways, to a room.
So here’s where the economy angle comes in. The woman who checks your insurance comes in. I give her my information and she says, “Oh, you have very good medical insurance. Thank you and get well soon.”
And so starts the parade of tests and specialist, who to the best of my knowledge have little or not expertise in what I am experiencing.
A vascular intern wants to look at my legs. A EKG technician comes in to run a test monitoring my heart. A cardio fellowship doctor comes in the let me know my heart looks good. A psychiatrist fellow comes in to ask me if I have anything to discuss about what happen to me?
All the time the meter is running on my “good medical coverage”.
Finally the Angel of Mercy comes in — the ER nurse — and tells me this and that about what is going on. I tell her it has been three hours and I need to have a cigarette. She tells me how to get outside and will cover for me.
Ok, I know, I have a three-inch metal and ceramic piece sitting in my right lung, but an addiction is an addiction.
SO now the fun begins, the pulmonary team wants to send a probe down a breathing tube to retrieve the bridge, but the anesthesiologists control the tube so they have their own thoughts on how to pull it out.
Everyone is involved because this type of case does not walk into the hospital everyday or every year, or so I am told.
All the while the haggling is going on over me as I laid on the bed in this “closet” in the Pulmonary Care Unit. “Let’s use this trach device,” says one gas passer. “No, this one is larger,” says another. As I look at the size of the mold plastic and say out loud, “Linda Lovelace, couldn’t get that down her throat.”
Unfortunately, not one of the twenty-to-thirtysomething Indian-decent doctors had a clue to the reference. But the doctor in charged knew and laughed.
So here’s where the fun began. The medical team of 10 people, including nurses, put me out and proceed to retrieve the bridge from my left lung, they are able to grab it, I am told afterwards and bring it up, only to drop it in my right lung.
Twenty minutes later after figuring out what went wrong, the pulled out of my right lung and placed it in a jar. I am told photos of the bridge in the jar were taken, but I have not seen them yet.
And so, that’s my tale of a bridge too far. Oh, one last kicker. The the hospital lost my favorite shirt from Rockaway Surf Shop that I was wearing. It had The Beatles in silo carrying surf boards across Abbey Road.