Guest Column

Thank you, St. Charles.

In August I went to the St. Charles Heart and Lung Center for an echo stress EKG. I failed it miserably and Dr. Mott sprayed nitroglycerin in my mouth and had me rushed to the ER. In the ER I was hooked to an IV and given an angioplasty.

Based upon the results of the angioplasty I was scheduled for quadruple bypass open heart surgery and taken to the Coronary Care Unit to await the surgery. All this in less than three hours.

Open heart bypass surgery involves having your chest cavity opened to expose the heart, stopping the heart for a couple hours while being hooked up to a heart lung machine, having veins removed from your legs and used to bypass the clogged arteries at the heart.

In my case I had four arteries with at least 90% blockage. You are then sutured up at the rib cage and the skin over the ribs, three one- inch tubes are inserted into the chest cavity for three days and an IV is inserted in your neck for three days. This process took seven hours. It was done by Dr. Slater and his team. I learned that Dr. Slater had recently come from Oregon Health & Science University and is considered the best cardiac surgeon in Oregon. I can attest to that, as the time from when I left the operating room to the time I left the hospital was less than four days. Thank you to Dr. Slater and his team.

While I was recovering in the CCU I met a nurse, nurse Rayonyetta, my friend. She would take me on my recovery walks in the CCU. She is the first person I met who I could tell was smiling even though she was wearing a mask. You could see it in her eyes. She had come to St. Charles from Atlanta, volunteering on a temporary basis. We would walk and talk.

One day I asked her how she handles having patients die in the ICU; especially with COVID. She told me when her first patient died a doctor asked her how she was feeling. She said, not well. He said she would get used to it. She told him she never wanted to get used to it. Rayonyetta went back to Atlanta last month and before she did she told me she would never again work in an ICU. She was still smiling on the outside but you could tell she was crying on the inside. Thank you, Rayonyetta.

I’ve been back to the Heart and Lung Center since my surgery and, if you go to the hospital now you are greeted by members of the Oregon National Guard. Please talk to them and thank them for their service. Thank you to Staff Sgt. Scales. I hope your son was able to visit with you and you were able to take him zip lining at Mt. Bachelor.

Lastly, I want to thank the administration of St. Charles for the behind -the -scenes work they do to manage all the different groups; your normal staff, visiting nurses and the Guard, and providing exceptional service and care. Thank you, St. Charles.

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Dennis Dauenhauer lives in Bend.

(1) comment

Transitory Inflation

Great letter, thanks for sharing.

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