Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Kidney Club: Back to Einstein we go on orders of the higher-ups

Yes, I went back to Einstein Medical Center, named after the fellow below.

Here's Herr Einshtein in a pensive mood.

The rule is: When you have a fever over 101 degrees, you report to Einstein. Yessir Dr. Kung. It was 102.1 plus I had the whole-body shakes, called rigor, pronounced RIGH-gor.

I took the circuitous route b/c I thot I could get away w/ it. Dan drove me to the Abington Memorial Hospital ER at 8 pm and stayed till 1:30 pm while I waited for a room.

And then Ruthie?

Well, they took me by stretcher to a large room where a nice Jewish lady named Sophia, born in 1929 (the things we hear thru closed curtains) was wheeled in after me. The nurses and adjuncts treated her as if she were a child just b/c she's 82. It was pathetic! I mentioned it to her and would later tell it to the Chaplain at Einstein that she shouldn't 'infantilize' patients.

I learned that word from Mike Vaccaro, MD, co-chair of my grad school program. He brot into class one of his patients, a man w/schizophrenia, and someone in class suggested one of us walk him to the train.

'He's a grown man,' said Vaccaro. 'Don't infantilize him.'

I said goodbye to Sophia b/c they were transferring me to yet another room. Rodney was my escort again. Up the elevator we went, me on the gurney.

In the new room I was to meet one of the smartest docs I've ever met, Manuel Rosenberg. Since I didn't take his pic, I'm posting a photo of another smart person, the late Nobelist Richard Feynman:

Richard Feynman, co-developer of atomic bomb and quantum mechanix, musician, peace activist 1918-88.

Dr Rosenberg came in to check on me. He represented my own family doc and would give him a report on me: What I was wearing, if I was making a good fashion statement from bed, if those socks w/ the sure-grip bottoms were on straight.

He told me he works as a hospitalist, a doctor who only works at a hospital. He had an unusual way of speaking, accenting certain words for emphasis, but in a sort of twang.

He called me a very educated patient, esp. after I showed him my Kidney-Diabetes journal

He asked permish if he could bring in some junior doctors and I said SURE.

He brot in a young Indian woman MD, a Pakistani who took notes, and an American med student. He asked them all lots of questions - I guess you could say this was like a Grand Rounds - and the doc from Pakistan knew the most.

The Socratic method of teaching.

I mentioned I'd gotten the BK virus and Manny asked one of the docs to do some research on this. I said, 'Copy me on this.'

Then I learned Einstein sent Abington a message:

Red rover, red rover, let Ruthie come over.

So later that day the ambulance arrived to transport me down 611 to Einstein. Kevin Krausz and his partner, whose name I didn't get, made the trip a whole lotta fun.

Kevin drove the ambulance and "Joe" sat in the back w/ me. They're both EMTs, but can't give shots. That would cost them about $8,000 to take the course. Their company is located in Hatboro on Turnpike Drive as are other ambulance companies!

They were very solicitous before they strapped me in and began the ride. They'd brot a blanket from Abington and wrapped it tightly around me in this slightly chilly autumn weather. They'd also warn me when we were going over bumps.

They joked that the ride might be more fun if they turned on the siren.

I loved these guys!

Dan visited me that nite. I asked him to stop at the grocery store to get me some healthy food. The most important foods he bought were two yogurts w/no preservatives and Triscuits, rye flavor.

Why would I want my own food instead of Einstein's?

Einshtein! Listen up! You don't give insulin-dependent diabetics juice! You give them fresh fruit. You don't give them white things, like white bread french toast and cream of wheat that has barely any nutrition or fiber. The pancake syrup is loaded with artificial ingredients and preservatives.

The coffee wasn't bad. I took a few sips since I don't drink coffee any more.

Before leaving Einstein, a woman from the kitchen came up and asked me to comment on the food. I gave her my honest opinion. 'For example,' I said, 'today's stuffing that came with the [SIMPLY TERRIBLE] turkey, had way too much salt. Diabetics must watch their salt intake.'

Then she asked me to rate the food from 1 to 10.

I gave it a 5, which, at the time I thot was accurate. In retrospect, I was wrong. Bonnet Lane Diner has #5 food. The Einstein food is #1.

Here's the night nurse Que Nhe, pronounced Quinn. She's from Vietnam like my former eye doctor Nick Man Vu. Que Nhe said she also has an American name but doesn't like to use it.

She also said that many Vietnamese - like her parents - have diabetes b/c of their diet. Rice is the basis of their diet.

The nurses were very good. They had so many things to do - so many patients - that they often forgot things they needed to do. I would ring for them so they wouldn't forget. Otherwise, I'd still be in the hospital waiting for my discharge papers.

My unit, eighth floor of the Tower Building, holds both Transplant patients and Oncology patients on the other side.

Shortly before I left I saw chief transplant surgeon Radi Zaki, who was still wearing his shower cap from surgery earlier that day. He removed some parathyroids which are located next to the thyroid. Nurse Debbie was with him, old friends from Kidney Clinic. Also met a new Kidney fellow, Dr. B. She's from Lithuania. Everyone thinks she's Russian. Is Lithuania part of Russia? You're on your own, Dear Reader.

View of heli-pad from window.

Keystone Ambulance Service finally drove me home from Einstein. James, the driver, gave me his card. I told him a friend of mine has his commercial license and is looking for a better job. James has worked there 11 years. It pays benefits. Since James is 69, he only works PT now.

The minute I got home I checked my emails, phone calls, called a few folks, and then drove over to the Giant pharmacy to pick up the new antibiotic Cipro I'm to take for 10 days. Dr Kung also lowered my immunosuppressants b/c I'm over-immunized.

Diagnosis: Urinary Tract Infection. UTI.

Confucius say: After kidney transplant, delicate balancing act begin like the delicate balancing act before transplant.


  1. I am so sorry you had an infection. I didn't know. I haven't been in the loop for several reasons. I was not happy to hear that you had to go to the hospital and am so glad you are home. Feel better. With all those Eastern European country borders changing over the years, it is hard to know sometimes but yes, Lithania was indeed part of "Russia" or the Soviet Republic but yet they worked to keep as much of their identity as they could, like Latvia, Estonia, Belarus, etc.

  2. yes, it's hard to keep up w/your many commitments. thanks for the great info about lithuania. today i feel absolutely terrific and am working hard on a writing assignment due tomro nite at my writing class. it'll be chapter one of my kidney book i'm writing w/sarah. take good care, Iris!!!