It took a village to bring me back to health

By Donald H. Harrison

Donald H. Harrison

SAN DIEGO — I always figured if I ever developed a fondness for members of the Scripps family it would be because of their historic contributions to newspaper journalism, or perhaps to oceanography, but as it turned out I thank them for their philanthropic interest in health care. I was a guest at Scripps Memorial Hospital for a full week following open heart surgery consisting of a valve replacement and a bypass.

Notice I wrote “guest,” although I could have used the word “patient.” But thanks to the doctors, registered nurses, certified nursing assistants, radiographers, lab technicians, transportation team, and even the cheerful employees of the food service, I felt as if I were being given VIP treatment.

It began at Kaiser Permanente Hospital with my cardiologist, Dr. Haghani, who recommended me to Scripps cardiac surgeon, Dr. “Call Me Sam” Baradarian, whose team  performed the two procedures. They included Dr. McCaul, a pulmonary specialist,  Dr. Dockweiler, an anesthesiologist, and Nicole, Dr. Baradarian’s able physician’s assistant. Kaiser Permanente Hospital contracts with Scripps to do cardiac surgeries. I believe I may have been under anesthesia for nearly five hours, and after I awakened I found myself a full-fledged member of the “zipper club” — a reference to the vertical stitching that now traces a path from my chest to my belly. They had to crack me open to get to my heart.

A parade of nice people began in the ICU. These included nurses Chris, Matt, Lynn, Helen, and Graham; respiratory therapists Alisa, Jill, Jester and Brian; charge nurse Sidonia; phlebotomist Flora; and case manager Mary, to cite those whose names my wife Nancy wrote down.

I was transferred to a private room — they all are private — and over the next several days met a new lineup of caretakers including physician’s asssistant Tony; nurses Angela, Sarah, Ruth, John, Amir, Jessica, Catherine, Marie, and Narcissa; certified nursing assistants Kitchie, Yeny, Wendy and Naomi; mentors Charya and Shiela; physical thereapists Tova and Adam; occupational therapist Amber; respiratory therapists Betty, Sandra, Barbara and Sandra; cardiac rehabilitationist Pat; hospitalist Dr. Covner; transport specialist Schuyler, and for an additional procedure in another part of the Scripps Memorial Hospital complex, nurse Melissa; xray technician Allison; radiologist Dr. Hulse; radiological assistants Amir and Robbi.

Some of the staff’s names or their positions, or even where I was when I met them, may be inaccurate because a large part of the time I was groggy, and under the influence of various medicines that had been pumped into me.

However, I think it is fair to say that it took a village to keep me alive; and I want to thank every villager whose name we were able to record as well as those whose names we didn’t get down.

I tried to verbally thank each and every one of them as they helped me back to health, but I’m hoping this column will also express my deep gratitude. Thanks to them, I’m back writing and editing news, features and opinion pieces.

Harrison is editor of San Diego Jewish World.  He may be contacted via [email protected]

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Copyright 2017 San Diego Jewish World

3 Responses to “It took a village to bring me back to health”

  1. Devorah Shore says:

    Don, So glad you are back on the job and doing well.
    Yes, it does take a village!
    I know for the pervasive caring and perseverance on those involved in creating and running, souls are being saved and families rejuvenated.

  2. joan says:

    So glad you had such a good experience. Welcome back!


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