Tuesday, March 30, 2010

room with a vista

My surgery was exactly what I would expect from medical services in a high-quality hospital in The States.

My hospital room was what I would expect from a Milan boutique hotel.

Comfort.  Clean lines.  Able bilingual staff willing to please.

From what I could see on my floor, each room was private with a nifty adjustable bed right out of the Sharper Image catalog.  A pullout sofa for family members to spend their days and nights with the patient.  A private well-appointed bathroom. 

And a view of the sea front -- or of the buildings between the hospital and the sea.

Let me get one point out of the way.  Several of you have been asking if I have much pain.  The answer is: very little.

From the moment I received the epidural, I have felt only a slight irritation around my ankle.  Even after my recent two falls.  And for that I am thankful.  For the lack of pain, that is.  Not for the falls.

During my overnight recovery the doctor thought ahead to install a syringe filled with a strong pain killer in my back -- just in case I was in severe pain.  I am pleased to report no one needed to push the plunger.

But the moment the nurse put me to bed, I was bored.  My book (Masters and Commanders: How Four Titans Won the War in the West, 1941-1945 -- a good read) was in the truck -- a mile or two away.  My computer was in my hotel room -- just across the street from the hospital, but it may as well have been on the moon.

So, I took out the reporter's note pad I carry with me, and started jotting down memories of the day.  In between moments where I would simply pass into sleep.

In the middle of the night, it hit me.  My hotel room!  I was scheduled to check out at noon. 

When I woke up that morning, I watched the hours tick over.  I had two problems: (1) checking out of the hotel and (2) getting my computer to give a valid credit card number to the cashier and to start contacting friends to figure out my escape plan.

And then an angel* appeared.  She was part of the hospital staff that ensures all paperwork is completed -- especially payment information.  For me, she was the equivalent of a Milanese concierge.

I explained my dilemma.  If I could reserve another night at the hotel, that would give all of us time to work out the financial and transportation issues.

She checked.  Every room was filled for semana santa.  I was a veritable Mary and Joseph.  No room at the inn.  (OK.  Wrong story.  But same book.)

She then offered to check me out of the hotel and to bring my computer and luggage to me.

When the computer arrived, I started contacting friends to see if I could put together a plan to escape the hospital's gravitational pull.  And you all know how that part of the story turned out -- with the intervention of my friend, Lou.

My angel then arranged to let me stay at the hotel for another night -- at rates far less than my imagined Milan boutique hotel.

Everyone complains about hospital food.  My four meals were a nice balance between fruit, vegetables, and protein.  Well-presented and far better tasting than most restaurants I have encountered in Mexico.  That is not to denigrate Mexican restaurants; it is to compliment the hospital.

But that does raise the question of price.

A great topic for tomorrow.

* - There is more to that term than meets the eye.  If you want to hear a more personal story, let me know.  This post is probably not the place for it.


Joe S. said...

Okay Steve, I wasn't a fan of "Touched by an Angel" but I'm curious about the sequel that apparently played out in the hospital. You've got my email.

Anonymous said...

I am pleased to read that you are not in great pain.

How wonderful that the lady was so kind as to take care of your hotel reservation and bring your bag to you.

Of course Lou deserves credit for riding the bus in order to drive you home in your own vehicle.

It seems God worked everything out. The right people showed up at the right time.


Steve Cotton said...

Joe -- Details are on the way.

Mom -- Right people. Right time.

Anonymous said...

We all want to hear the angel story...please.

Larry said...

Just got back from spring break vacation to hear about your adventure. Hope you are in not too much pain. Look foward to seeing you in May. Larry

Anonymous said...

Hi Steve,

So sorry to hear about your accident and subsequent surgery. But it seems like your care is first-rate, and judging by your prose, that you are in good spirits.

I wish you a speedy recovery.


Kim G
Mazatlán, Sinaloa (Until Saturday)
Where we are just kind of hanging out in the hotel for now.

Steve Cotton said...

Anonymous -- I will give it some thought. If you email me, I will share.

Larry -- Gloria Gaynor had it correct: I shall Survive.

Kim -- Good to hear from you again. I have missed your pithy PSs. Not to mention the body of your comments. Too bad I am not on two feet. I could fly north to meet you while we are both in country.

Anonymous said...

Hi Steve,

Meeting some time would be nice. Perhaps we'll go back to Puerto Vallarta next year. I think it has an edge over Mazatlan, actually.

Hope you get well soon!


Kim G
Mazatlan, Sinaloa
Where we, sadly, are packing our bags