Wednesday, March 31, 2010

I Celebrate Doctors' Day!

Yesterday, twenty days after the lengthy surgery to replace his aortic valve and to perform a quadruple bypass, Steve got off the ventilator!

Steve, the Respiratory Therapist, prepared Steve, the patient, by saying:

"On the count of three, I want you to cough and spit. Ready? One, two, three, and OUT!"

And out came the endotracheal tube. Steve was off the vent. And little by little, he settled into the comfort of breathing on his own: his respiratory rate slowing while his oxygen saturation levels stayed at 100%.

About an hour later, Dr. Teply, the Heart Surgeon who spent nearly thirteen meticulous hours taking down the scar tissue from Steve's previous heart surgery, stopped in on his rounds. His face reflected the joy and relief we all felt.

"I am so grateful for the work you did, Dr. Teply. And for the courage you had to even do this surgery."

Dr. Teply smiled in an "Aw shucks" kind of way. "I'm glad we could help," he said. Dr. Tupper, the electrical engineer-turned-Anesthesiologist, also stopped by, acknowledging with a broad smile, "You made us work, Mr. Williams."

But it was really nothing short of a miracle. It was an amazing composite of medical/surgical artistry and skill. And we are so thankful.

Even Steve, his voice sounding like a baby frog, was able to squeak, "Thank you, Doctor" to Dr. Teply and "Appreciate it" to Dr. Tupper -- the two doctors whose marathon efforts had truly saved his life that long night.

Later in the evening, I stopped by the Doctors' Lounge on the way out of the hospital. A partly eaten chocolate cake was decorated with "Happy Doctors' Day." I never gave Doctors' Day any thought...until yesterday. The day I received the best possible gift from physicians of extraordinary skill.

Take care. Linda Gromko, MD


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. So, do you talk to baby frogs often??!! Seriously I'm so glad to hear of Steve's successful surgery and I hope he continues to recuperate fully without further incident. Best wishes to both of you. Kathy Swoyer

  3. Thank you, Kathy. OK, so I take a little literary leeway...Yes, we are ecstatic to have Steve "back," though we have a long way to go. What a relief! Thanks for your good wishes. LG

  4. I love readding, and thanks for your artical. ........................................