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Dafey

Emergency Surgery During Lockdown

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Sibonga Simon
17 minutes ago, Dafey said:

Last Tuesday I started to feel some tingly pain in my stomach and that evening it turned into full blown pain. The next day I was starting to self treat for Diverticulitis which I had had once before and felt much like this. By mid morning I knew something was seriously wrong and asked the wife to take me to the Hospital in Ormoc, (about an hour away). She checked with some relatives that are with the Municipality and they told her there is no way through the check point outside of an ambulance. Soooo....we went to the local, (Isabel), ER.

We were interviewed and examined and told I had appendicitis and would need to go to Ormoc. (I love being told stuff I already know and they act like they just revealed the secret of life) Okay, let's go to Ormoc...Sorry Sair, no ambulance!

As it turns out they have 2 ambulances. One was in Tacloban and the other was in Ormoc, neither expected back for a few hours. (Seriously! They take a patient to the hospital and wait for them there? Of course the answer was yes...and that's when i stopped talking and started making a list of sins I need to ask forgiveness for!) I guess what really bothered me was the number of stories they had of life threatening illnesses that were turned back from the checkpoint as their single mindedness was...

 

Including a story about a 6 month old with dengue. 

At any rate there was no travel, emergency or otherwise, to Ormoc without an ambulance so we opted to go sit in comfort at home instead of one of the 2 ER beds which looked like the sheet hadn't been changed since past Easter.

Three hours later we went back at the prescribed time and surprise, no ambulance yet Sair. Fortunately we went with our Municipality cousin who actually had a friend that was in the ambulance on the way back from Tacloban. She talked to them on the phone we decided that they were less than 2 hours out. At this point I was in some severe pain and decided to forgo any hygiene concerns I may have previously had and laid down on the least filthy hospital bed near the revolving ceiling fan. The 'Doctor' on call was a nice enough sort who gave me a descent once over to come up with her best diagnosis and decided that it was 99% sure it was appendicitis.

Finally shortly after dark the ambulance arrived! I know it was an ambulance as it was painted in mirror image on the front in big red letters. (where did they find someone to do that? Most of these Province folks pee themselves if they are forced to say Hi in English let alone paint legibly in English 'mirror image.)

So they open the back tailgate and proceed to load the 4 bags my wife has so thoughtfully packed with multiple changes of clothes and 1 pair of PJs, (honestly my wife was amazing through this whole ordeal but the priorities make me laugh...not out loud of course) Next they look at the old fat Cano who seems unwell and the ambulance driver and helper, (EMT? No...definately helper) disappear so I load myself onto the rear facing gurney with the wife on a bench by my side.

With my IV bag hanging on a coat hanger from what's left of the headliner and half propped up just enough that I can't see out the window we take off. Literally...we take off! I don't know what they had under the hood of this rust bucket but this was by far the spunkiest vehicle I've ever been in in the Phils. (of course I've never been in Smokey's corvette)

So we are tooling along the National Highway at about 100 KPH, (53.9 Knots), nuts and bolts ricocheting off the undercarriage and the windows open to ventilate the van, (thank God it's evening and the air is cool), and I realize there is a little play in the locking mechanism on my gurney. I start having flashbacks to Saturday TV shows when I was a kid and Buster Keaton comes flying out of the back of the ambulance.

We get to the Ormoc Checkpoint after being waved through 2 others. As we are pulling in to the first tent my wife tells me, "they said don't cough"! (Oh Great! A little notice so I can clear my throat would be nice) 2 cops and a nurse open every door and do a visual search of the van and thoroughly go over our paperwork. A few minutes just sitting there. The driver gets out then back in. The helper gets out and back in. Then one more time the driver gets out then back in and we are waved to the next tent where they really scrutinize our paperwork, more searching, more in and out and finally a nurse takes everyone's temperature and we are on our way. Keep in mind we are the only vehicle at the checkpoint and it took 20 minutes to clear the checkpoint. (My wife is extremely proud of me for not arguing with anyone as surely they would turn us around. As soon as we are up to speed I start clearing a massive loogie out of my throat and told her I wanted to argue but knew I would start coughing)

Finally we are in Ormoc and the streets are empty, easy to navigate. We arrive at Ormoc Doctor's Hospital and the ambulance backs in where they are directed. Two medical staff in makeshift HazMat suits and a clip board and start asking a battery of questions. One of which was, "have I ever had my appendix removed before?" Now...I have mostly great things to say about Ormoc Docs but obviously at this point I'm wondering if we've made the right decision. (I open my mouth to say something and feel my wife's 'Wolverine' claws growing where she has a death grip on my knee) I kindly reply, "why no, this will be my first!"

They finally let me struggle myself out of the side door, backwards, showing my best side to all the bystanders. An orderly with an oversized wheelchair sits me down and wheels us to the next station where more HazMat clad Med Staff ask more questions, weigh me  and approve my admittance to the ER. 

Inside the ER we are greeted by a small army of professionals who wiz about taking ECGs, blood and put in a new IV which is done so nicely I am quickly getting impressed. The doctor on call interviews us and we find out she was on loan from Cebu Docs when she got stuck in the lockdown. All the staff in the ER have been awesome. That being said, I am the only patient so they have plenty of bored help looking for something to do.

While I am being poked and prodded my wife goes to have us admitted into a private room, 1200 PHP per night on the fourth floor where we find there are only 3 patients. It's now Wednesday evening and we have more tests and a lots of electrolytes and antibiotics being pumped into my IV. Grateful for that as the pain has taken away any thought of drinking water. We are told we will see the Doc tomorrow and rest as well as we can. A descent enough bed considering and a padded bench next to me for my wife.

Thursday morning they try to feed me and I turn them down but thanks. About 9 AM they take me for a CT scan, 15K PHP plus 1500 PHP because its a holiday. (note to self: don't get sick on a holiday, doctors and all medical staff get double time) A nurse approaches me and says she'd like to introduce me to my Doctor tomorrow. I about come out of my wheel chair explaining that I need a surgeon today! The Doc standing next to her has a big smile and reaches out to shake my hand and tell me that he is my surgeon, Dr. Tomaro! After a well needed laugh he puts us both at ease and explains whats going to happen. We take the CTscan and Dr. Tomaro and Dr. Chu, his colleague decide on emergency surgery as the appendix is already leaking a little. (I'm impressed it hasn't burst with all we have been through!) 

So we are set up for 11 oclock and my wife starts to break down but I put on my best face and tell her this is the best thing and how proud I am of her and happy that we came here.

Off I go to the OR! As we pull in the first thing I see is an operating table that strangely resembles a table where the perform lethal injection! (Fellers! You got the right patient? Was it my wise ass mouth? she said that would be the end of me!)

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About 6 peeps scurrying around preparing and nobody talking. (so of course, I decide to break the ice. It is after all my party!) Med staff on my left messing with my IV I ask who is the anesthesiologist? She says what? I repeat and she looks around for help from the others when the doctor comes in looking like he's going scuba diving and everyone snaps to! The girl I was talking to tells me then, in perfect English, that she will give me a 2 step anesthetic. (so you're my anesthesiologist? Deer blinking in the headlights) Anyway she tells me that I will be numb from the chest down but still awake. (What, wait, I get to watch? I'm not sure if this is a good idea you know, I might distract someone with a stupid statement?) She shakes her head and says no, you'll be groggy. (I'm groggy when I am at Greg's place in Siargao with a beer in my hand) A minute later I'm out. What seems like a minute after that the Doc is waving a disgusting looking appendix in front of my face!

Back to the room and several days/nights of in and out of sleep, meds, more meds, temperature, blood pressure, etc.

The internal pain eventually subsides and the current pain is from anytime I move my abs from the stitches. 57 stitches in all 45 internal and the top 12 are staples.

So Monday we are released after the wife's many trips to Hospital admin and pharmacy. One point I thought was interesting is I was under the impression that PhilHealth would not cover an Expat unless they purchased their own policy. The PhilHealth covered a porting of each segment of the bill as I am my wife's beneficiary. About 8K PHP in all.

The wife went to the new Robinson's and secured a private van for the ride home and grabbed some dog food and things we were low on on the way back to the hospital. We loaded up and headed home. The driver was already instructed to take his time as I just had surgery but the shocks on those vans are nothing great. I was cradling my abdomen the entire way and still got jolted a couple of times which tore a couple of the staples a tiny bit. The wife cleaned the wound and put on a new dressing a couple of times since home and all looks well now. She also chatted the Doc who was very helpful to look at the photo and reassure her all was good.

All in all I was impressed with Ormoc Doctor's Hospital and their staff. It's not a western Hospital but I was not expecting one.

 

Best wishes for a speedy recovery.  

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TimL

Wow, glad that everything worked out Dafey. I hope that you get well soon. 

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rfm010
12 hours ago, Dafey said:

started making a list of sins I need to ask forgiveness for!)

Ok so you'll survive.  While you're recup'ing, how about some details on this list?

 

 

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HeyMike

Wishing you a speedy recovery, Dafey.

I related a similar story a few years ago, but not as good as yours.

I came down with sharp pains in my abdomen and could not pee. I assumed appendix. My bro-in-law went and got the ambulance, but I had to first go to the local hospital (glorified clinic) before they would take me to a city hospital. The pain was unbearable, worse than my tooth extraction. No matter how I tried to get relief, there was none to be had... lying on my side, sitting up, on my back, open my jeans ... only pain.

I get to the local hospital and the dr. presses my abdomen and says it is probably not my appendix because I would have been on the ceiling after she checked my abdomen. She said probably a kidney stone. I said, fine, just give me something for the pain.

She says, she can't give me a pain reliever because if it was the appendix it could be fatal. She told me I have to go to a city hospital. Okay, great.

So I am in the ER for like 30 minutes more and I see the ambulance is still outside. I ask the nurse what the hold up was... the friggin pain was like having my balls in a tightening vise. The nurse tells me the driver is having his dinner, he should be done shortly. Another 15 minutes and the driver finally shows up... then the hour drive to the city.

When I get to the hospital, they immediately put an iv set-up on my hand. I tell the doctor I need something for the pain, NOW!

She explains about the appendix, but I tell her I don't care, just give me something for the pain. The dr. injects something into the iv tube and after about 10 minutes I finally felt relief of the pain. I mean I felt good enough to walk out of the er, but I didn't.

Then after 30 minutes, the pain comes back just as it was before. I shout for another shot of the good stuff. Again, relief.

After 2 hours of this, they finally take me for a catscan, or what ever its called. I had to first borrow the money from my brother in the States before they would do the scan.

Yep, it was a kidney stone stuck in my urinary track. I get some pain killers and prescriptions for potassium citrate(?) and something to lubricate the urinary track. 

I had bad side effects from the prescriptions and stopped taking them after 2 days. My wife said buko juice every morning would do the trick, and she was right. The pain subsided and after a few days I was pissing normal again. 

I was very thankful that I did not need an operation.

 

Get well Dafey.

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Dafey

Good story Mike, glad you found relief and passed that stone.

As hard as it can be sometimes I still wouldn’t trade my life here for a more ‘civilized’ one in the west.

And thanks everyone for the well wishes. Gradually feeling better. We were given a travel pass for a week from today to go back and have the staples removed. I’ll let you know how that goes.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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Headshot

Glad to hear that you survived the ordeal and that you are doing better Dafey. Did you catch the coronavirus while you were in the hospital? I guess it doesn't matter, since you are stuck in quarantine anyway, and they certainly won't let you get anywhere near the hospital if you did catch it (loved your "You shall not pass" quip).

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Banacon

Made me smile..thanks and glad all turned out ok..where was your underwear, while showing your backside?

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Salty Dog
4 hours ago, Dafey said:

They finally let me struggle myself out of the side door, backwards, showing my best side to all the bystanders. 

big-butt.gif

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cookie47

Glad to hear that you're on the mend. 

I had my appendix removed over 45 years ago in Australia (still single)... A fairly strait forward affair. 

Taxi to emergency, and was on the table in about 2 hours.. However the interesting part was when a young nurse arrived at the emergency room cubicle with a razor and and some shaving foam. She said I'm afraid I've got to shave you,yeh right,, AND she didn't mean my head. :shocked:... 

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M.C.A.

Dafey what an experience just to get to a hospital but glad your okay.  I couldn't imagine what that bill would come up to.

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smokey

Dang well you finally got to leave house and shop .   speedy recovery 

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papimafioso69

Happy it all worked out for you . That first cold beer will be the best . 

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battleborn

Glad all went well Dafey.

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Dafey
17 hours ago, Headshot said:

Did you catch the coronavirus while you were in the hospital?

Interestingly enough, I chatted with the Surgeon briefly and he said they had 1 PUI in Ormoc Doc's and sent confirmed cases elsewhere as the facility had the most advanced medical equipment locally to help other than virus patients. Seems they wanted to keep their facility clean for other circumstances.

I believe the PUI was kept on the 2nd floor and an elevator looked to be dedicated to just that floor. If that's the case the 1st floor is Triage, outside, ER and special services, Pharmacy, Admin, Radiology, labs etc. The 2nd floor would be the virus floor with 1 PUI. The 3rd, 4th and 5th floors would be for admitted patients other than virus and ICU.

The 4th floor where I was there were only 3 patients including me. One was a 7 yo boy with a brain tumor. (hope he does well. I couldn't really complain about my pain when I listened to him next door. Very sad)

Also the nurses on my floor were very casual when it came to PPE. Mosty just wearing a mask, (usually homemade), and no gloves or eye protection. When a lab person came for blood they had a mask, face shield and gloves. Even the custodial had mask and face shield.

However there was one nurse who apparently was above this kind of protection and would wear her mask slung low just at the bottom lip line. She also screwed up my IV on the 3rd night. After trying to hit a vein 7 times and using what seemed like a full roll of tape I insisted they get someone from ER up to do it.

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Dafey
14 hours ago, smokey said:

Dang well you finally got to leave house and shop

Yes. When I get the stitches out next week we will go check out Fall Fashions at Robinson's!

Actually, it was good to get dog food.I can live on baked beans and eggs, (though the rest of the family might not appreciate it), but the boys were getting tired of the rice supplement!

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smokey
Posted (edited)
56 minutes ago, Dafey said:

Yes. When I get the stitches out next week we will go check out Fall Fashions at Robinson's!

Actually, it was good to get dog food.I can live on baked beans and eggs, (though the rest of the family might not appreciate it), but the boys were getting tired of the rice supplement!

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Nice group i have 5 myself all strays very loyal and well fed and shots of course .one even sleeps on top of my corvette which has double car covers so no more scratches. Hope you recover soon ..... When in robinsons ask if they have sawdust its the meat that falls from the big cutter they sell it i pay 70 a kilo i think 

Edited by smokey
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Dafey
26 minutes ago, smokey said:

ask if they have sawdust its the meat that falls from the big cutter they sell it i pay 70 a kilo i think 

Can press that into treats! Great idea!

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easy44
Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, Dafey said:

Yes. When I get the stitches out next week we will go check out Fall Fashions at Robinson's!

Actually, it was good to get dog food.I can live on baked beans and eggs, (though the rest of the family might not appreciate it), but the boys were getting tired of the rice supplement!

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Looks like dog food may be a problem for me too. Someone was supposed to bring me a 20kg bag from Ormoc today but said they were out. Don't know how hard he looked but my 6 dogs require lots of food. Wife said agrivet in Villaba had some for 80/kg last week but thought too expensive. Looks like we will have to bite the bullet now. If they have any. I knew this was gonna be a problem. Sorry for OT! 

Edited by easy44
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Dafey

Ask the Agrivet if they have it in the sack at a cheaper price.

Wife bought a sack of Alpo from the old Robinsons before we came back. Not my favorite but has what the dogs need


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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Dafey
On 4/14/2020 at 6:31 PM, M.C.A. said:

I couldn't imagine what that bill would come up to.

Lots of time on my hands so finally added up all the bills.

Total cost for us about 115K, (after discounts and PhilHealth)

Keep in mind it would be a little cheaper if not on a holiday. Also, I wanted to limit my wife's exposure to the public during these times so had her use the pharmacy on the ground floor of the hospital. About 20%-50% more expensive than if she had shopped around Ormoc. They also took charge cards so we didn't need to deplete our cash resources during these trying times.

Again, as my wife's beneficiary PhilHealth ended up paying about 25K for various portions.

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fivestarph
56 minutes ago, Dafey said:

Lots of time on my hands so finally added up all the bills.

Total cost for us about 115K, (after discounts and PhilHealth)

Keep in mind it would be a little cheaper if not on a holiday. Also, I wanted to limit my wife's exposure to the public during these times so had her use the pharmacy on the ground floor of the hospital. About 20%-50% more expensive than if she had shopped around Ormoc. They also took charge cards so we didn't need to deplete our cash resources during these trying times.

Again, as my wife's beneficiary PhilHealth ended up paying about 25K for various portions.

Dafey, did your wife have to state you are her beneficiary when signing up for Philhealth or did you just show your marriage certificate?

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Dafey

She told them I was her beneficiary. They never saw me.

Though, all the other paperwork shows that I am a foreigner.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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easy44

Philhealth would not add me as a beneficiary when they knew I was a foreigner. Had to use my own account. 

 

I think you got lucky! 

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Davaoeno
22 hours ago, Dafey said:

Ask the Agrivet if they have it in the sack at a cheaper price.

Wife bought a sack of Alpo from the old Robinsons before we came back. Not my favorite but has what the dogs need


 

Best then that you eat something else and leave the Alpo for the dog!

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