They Called Him "Mac"
Today's post is a long one, but it's a story I have to tell.
My sense of humor is on the back burner this time, but not for long. You may even get an idea of where it comes from
I did want to include this photo of a fan that is actually an advertisement for Tums!
My blog-friend Kenju over at JustaskJudy has a huge collection of these and I knew she would appreciate seeing it here!
"WHO IS THIS?", shouted some guy in scrubs. "WE WEREN'T EXPECTING ANYBODY! PUT HIM IN THE HALLWAY.
Mac's wife thought they were putting him there to die.
Exasperated with this demonstration of frustration, she told him, "Mac, you have a stroke and I am shooting your computer!"
"Don't shoot the computer."
I saw your typical stroke victim. For all intents and purposes, Mac's left side was dead. Facial droop. No reflexes. Not one. Speech slurred because of the left sided facial paralysis but no expressive or receptive aphasia. And a surprisingly upbeat affect. When his wife said, quite seriously, "Mac, you've had a huge stroke and you can't move half of your body. Aren't you upset by that?" His answer: "Yeah, I didn't get my coffee this morning!"
But let me give you some background about Mac's family. Three nurses: one trauma nurse, one ED nurse and one L&D nurse you would not want to meet in a dark hallway if things weren't perfect. The kind of family member the nurses all hate. She spoke to the nurse manager.
Mac had a room within five minutes. A private room.
Oh, and did I mention that prior to transport Mac had regained the use of his left side? All of it. A slight weakness remaining. That was all.
Doctor's Hospital in Modesto was such a bastion of neurological services that they had no beds on the neurology floor. So Mac was admitted to the oncology unit. A pretty, home-like unit where Mac developed severe headaches that were not medicated. And persistent vomiting. But he was alert and oriented. And not a neurologist in sight.
A neurologist had not even been consulted.
It seemed as if they were writing off this vibrant, active man.
This time it was the ED nurse family member who professionally, assertively and ever so extremely politely demanded a neurology consult. STAT.
A neurologist came, seemingly reluctantly, and examined Mac. He then looked at the CT of the head taken in Merced. His exact words were:
"If I had seen the x-ray before I had examined him I would have expected to see essentially a vegetable. The entire right side of his brain is essentially gone. The level of recovery I see is nothing short of a miracle."
Miracle. Not a word I hear neurologists throw around very often.
The family did the usual grilling. Question after question. It was pretty obvious that Mac's wife was not comprehending a single thing. Good thing the family was with her.
Especially when the "Social Worker" came up to her after Mac had been at the facility 48 hours and told her he was being transferred to a convalescent home. She lost it. Mac's brother called the ED nurse family member and repeated what was said.
In the world of hospitals there are two phrases that will chill the soul of a hospital administrator. One is "Standard of Care" and the other is "you are dumping this patient". The ED nurse ever so extremely politely advised the administrator of nurses that transfer to lesser care 48 hours after an acute brain infarct was not the standard of care in the state of California and that it appeared Mac was being dumped due to a lack of beds.
It seems that the "Social Worker" had spoken to the wrong family.
The medics came. There was no way in hell the family was going to allow him to be taken to Modesto. They requested Fresno.
He told his wife "I love you" at the door.
The ambulance drove the half-mile to meet the LifeFlight craft that would take him to the largest hospital in Fresno. Mac was lifted into the craft as one of his son in laws watched. Mac then removed his oxygen mask, crossed his legs, put his hands behind his head .....
Kendall Hall McAllister died of a massive pulmonary embolism.
He lived from January 31, 1938 to March 10, 2000.
They called him "Mac".
But I just called him "Dad".
And there isn't a day that goes by that I wouldn't give my life to have him back.
I love you, Dad.