My recent hospital experience may not seem odd unless, like me, you've had no need for such care since 1970.
By the time Sally and I arrived at the ER, I was getting shocky and shaky. The lady at the main desk winced and motioned to Triage, where someone else winced and handed us a paper that actually read, "Ticket to Ride" and aimed us at the Radiology Department.
Over the last 40 years there's been a huge change not only in medicine but in the attitudes of people who choose the medical field. The last time I required major medical care, hospital staff conversed only with each other and patients were a lesser, somewhat irrelevant species. We weren't consulted - we were acted upon.
Sally stayed near for moral support, but I wasn't scared for long.
Everyone was incredibly kind and made me feel like a member of a team
that cared deeply about my welfare. I was the team member who slept
through most of the festivities.
Everything played out as if Great Mystery had planned it for my
highest good. Sally would not ordinarily have been home at that time.
I'd been using electric radiators while awaiting repairs for Polly,
which is perfect since I can't haul pellets now. I'd just stocked up on
staples like cat food, bird food and kitty litter.
I was apparently expected at the hospital. Heather wrapped me in a
warm blanket, bleeping monitors were attached to me and there was a
needle in one arm. Bright lights and people moved fast and Dr. Isenhart
assured me that Dr. Meyers, a top orthopedic surgeon, would be right in.
Not having needed such treatment, I hadn't heard of Dr. Meyers, who
performs surgical miracles at Sutter Coast on only one day each month.
In the ER they speak of him in reverent tones, not only skilled but
kind. When I heard his voice and felt his touch, I knew everything was
alright. He saved me from the trauma of a flying ambulance and assured
me that Bach will never know I was gone.
Denise said she'd stay at my side until Sally retrieved me, and I was
in surgery less than four hours after my unscheduled flight courtesy of
a discourteous horse. The new anesthetics are so good I didn't even
notice the gap in our conversation that took place while Dr. Meyers
performed a surgery possible at my age only because I have "good bones."
Between one moment and the next, Sally was back and my right arm looked
as though I'd fallen into a high tech hardware bin.
Since I feel ultimately responsible for my own health, I eat right,
exercise, take vitamins and don't smoke. That leads to "good bones" as
well as general good health, and this is my plug for personal
But should the need arise, it's comforting to know that the Sutter
Coast Hospital staff is composed of highly skilled and dedicated
Reach Inez Castor, a longtime Triplicate columnist, at