Saturday, June 14, 2014

The One-Hoss-Shay

One Sunday afternoon, it seems like an eternity ago now, but perhaps it was within the last month, I went to the hospital to visit my friend’s husband, who was recuperating in the ICU the day after the cardiologist had placed a stent in one of his coronary arteries to open a blockage. It wasn’t quite that simple, though. He was supposed to have had the procedure about a week earlier, but they had to cancel that one because another problem had cropped up in the results of the routine lab work the day before, and the cardiologist said they had to get to the bottom of that problem before they could do the stent. So, they had to schedule another diagnostic procedure, and during that test they did indeed discover what could have been contributing to the problem found in the lab work, but then they  found another problem they were not expecting at all which was most certainly life-threatening.

They gave him some blood transfusions and did the stent, and the team of doctors that had been assembled (two family practice doctors, a cardiologist, a general surgeon, an eventually, an oncologist) began collaborating to figure out which thing to treat first and how to do it, and they scheduled him for major abdominal surgery 2 days after the stent procedure to try to fix the second life-threatening problem.

My friend pointed out how much the situation with her husband reminded her of the poem The Deacon’s Masterpiece or The Wonderful One-Hoss-Shay ), written by the father of Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr, the Supreme Court Justice.
Have you heard of the wonderful one-hoss-shay,
That was built in such a logical way
It ran a hundred years to a day,
And then, of a sudden, it--ah, but stay
I 'll tell you what happened without delay,
Scaring the parson into fits,
Frightening people out of their wits,--
Have you ever heard of that, I say?
The poem goes on to talk about how the Deacon builds his carriage and how long it lasts, going and going and going, and it keeps on going and passes from person to person to person until it comes to its final owner, a Parson. And then, all of sudden and without warning…
First a shiver, and then a thrill,
Then something decidedly like a spill,--
And the parson was sitting upon a rock…
Everything falls apart at once, and it wasn't too much of a leap to see the similarities with my friend's husband.. It was just sort of mind boggling how all of these unfortunate medical things seemed to be happening to this lovely man all at the same time.

The abdominal operation the next day achieved what it set out to do, but there was some trouble getting him home to recuperate until one of the GPs finally came up with a solution to the problem being caused by one of the medications the general surgeon and the cardiologist were squabbling about.

He has started chemotherapy, and now we wait and see.

My friend was there for us when our world began to turn upside down in June 2010. And now here it is, 4 years later, and my friend’s world is now starting to tilt. It is a terrible coincidence. I hope with all my heart that her world rights itself, and that she does not have to go through what we did. I hope that I can be here for her now the way she was for me.

1 comment:

Far Side of Fifty said...

I am certain you will be there with all your love and support. Sometimes when it rains it pours that's what my Grandma used to say.