The Greenwater Report for March 31, 2008

Saskatoon, Monday, March 31, 2008

March 30th, 2008:

The snow has been gradually receding and now there are very large bare patches of ground. If we get a hard thaw now, it will hardly raise a ripple. We got home from our bus tour on the 15th of February, and since then all we have had is the odd trace of moisture. We could use a good day’s rain to clean things up. At the same time, we hear of substantial snowfalls east of us so suspect Greenwater still has lots of snow around.

We just took in Gardenscape at Prairieland Park. Interesting but with a lawn that’s about 8’ x 25’ (that we don’t have to look after) and a planter the size of two medium-sized flower pots, we didn’t see much that we could use. How I would have loved one of those fancy little tractors with all the attachments when we were out on acreage, though. Why do they always invent these things just when I no longer have use for them?

We got an e-mail with a bunch of photos from Kelly Rusteika, new owner of our cottage there. They spent a good deal of time there over Easter and had a ball. The boys did very well fishing, including catching a 15-lb. pike just off-shore from the cottage. That must have been a thrill! Lots of wildlife visits including the return of the redpolls, deer, and a sighting of Gudjonson’s lynx, and lots of snowmobiling. No question – there’s no place like Greenwater for a winter holiday.

Many of you Greenwater folk will remember Doreen’s sister, Lucille, who has accompanied us to coffee row on her visits to Greenwater. She was one of the factors convincing us to move to Saskatoon, and she was a great help in finding and furnishing our place. In January, she started having chest pains. Her doctor put her on a nitroglycerine spray and told her to watch the pains carefully. On January 16th while we were out shopping, she decided it was getting serious so we dropped her off to see a cardiologist at City Hospital.

For two weeks, she languished in City, waiting to be sent to Royal University Hospital for an angiogram. Every time she thought she was going, she would get bumped at the last minute, without any explanation.

Finally, on January 29th she got her angiogram, which showed one small artery completely blocked. Her doctors were having a meeting next morning to decide what to do about it; they were thinking of sending her to Edmonton for surgery. Lucille’s son, Ron, phoned us with the information while we were on a gondola ride at the Venetian in Las Vegas.

From then on it was hurry up and wait. At least she had minimal discomfort; they put her on a nitroglycerine patch all day but at night she could barely make it to the bathroom and back. Many doctors visited her, each one with something different to say. To her great disgust, though, she never heard a word from her personal GP. He had been involved when the decision was made to send her for an angiogram, but then he seems to have been cut out of the loop and heard nothing about her.

It was February 26th before she was finally airlifted to Edmonton, and she had her surgery on the next day. After mostly lying on her back for six weeks, she was very weak and slow to recover. Ron was there again, and when he had to return to Prince George, Sandy went and spent a few days with her, until she was released.

Lucille kept hearing that they wouldn’t fly her back to Saskatoon, that she would have to find someone to give her a ride; then she heard they would fly her back but she would have to wait until the air ambulance was flying another patient in, as they wouldn’t make a special trip for her. Finally the air ambulance did make a special trip and she was transported back to City Hospital in Saskatoon, a great relief to her as by this time the Edmonton hospital was the root of all her suffering.

Then, another worry was thrown into the mix. She was told that nobody in Saskatoon seemed to know how to remove three huge staples in her chest. She was afraid she might have to go back to Edmonton to have them removed. On March 18th, Lucille put her foot down – she was tired of hospitals and was going home, whether they were finished with her or not. The day she was released, her GP, who by this time was back in the picture, found that there was a doctor in his office who knew how to take out the staples and it was done with no fuss.

Since then, recovery has been very slow, with family members staying with her every night for the first week she was at home. She has now had several nights alone, and is handling it well. We even got her out to Tim Horton’s for some forbidden sweets.

The worst part of the whole fiasco was the lack of communication, between doctor and patient, doctor and specialist, nursing staff, and between hospitals. Nobody seemed to know what was happening, everyone had a different opinion, and nothing happened on schedule. If they had just told her when she was being bumped, and why, she would understand, but I guess being a mere patient she was not entitled to that information. There was a co-ordinator, but she was overruled by just about everyone in the hospital and was not allowed to co-ordinate. No problem with the skill of the doctors or nursing staff; no problem with the quality of the hospitals; BIG problems with the management behind it all!

Doreen & Jerry Crawford


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