Day 9/46 of my daily Lenten blog journey.
It was a hectic morning at the hospital, as usual, with a swarm of patients in the waiting room biding their time. On occasion, there are folks that sneak past our triage system and try to catch the doctors as they wander past, hoping for a quick hallway consultation.
Not surprisingly, a friendly Garifuna fellow tried to grab me in the hall for such an interview. He and his lovey wife wanted to ask me about a CAT scan that had been done recently. It was crazy busy, and I’m a wily veteran, so I juked left but then went right. After easily eluding them, I continued with my numerous tasks for the day. I made a quick pit stop at the information desk to have our staff direct him to the Triage office, to be ‘processed’ properly.
Finally, I got ahead of the game enough and zipped down to the Triage office. Each morning, there is a large contingency of people who show up at the hospital without an appointment in the hopes of being attended to. It can be anywhere from 5 to 50 people. We have a triage process by which we decide who needs to be seen immediately, who can wait for an appointment, and who doesn’t really need to be seen. It was here that I re-encountered Greg (not his real name).
Greg explained to me that he and his wife had just been here a few weeks ago, and I had been their doctor. Suddenly, the lightbulb went on in my brain. I knew who Greg was, but I just couldn’t quite believe it. The reason I was so incredulous was that 3 weeks ago Greg has been partially paralyzed, mostly unresponsive, and we had sent him home in a palliative manner (our version of hospice.)
Going back further, Greg came to us a few months back with a history of seizures for 5 years. Then, 6 months ago he developed severe right-sided hemiplegia (severe weakness), with facial weakness and aphasia (difficulties communicating). It essentially looked as if he had suffered a stroke, and now he was wheelchair bound. A CAT scan was performed at that time and it showed a gigantic goom-bah (mass) in his brain. I mean, you don’t have to be a brain-surgeon to see this one:
We got several opinions from other radiologists and doctors, and determined that it was either a huge cancerous tumor, an abscess (ball of infection) or a large area of hemorrhage (blood). In any event, all of these carried a poor prognosis for recovery.
A common cause of seizures in developing nations is cysticercosis. Cysticercosis is a parasitic brain infection caused by accidentally eating another human’s poop that contains Tapeworm eggs. Eating someone else’s poop? Yes, don’t get me started, here’s a whole ‘nother blog about that… CLICK ME! As a ‘Hail Mary,’ I put him on some medication a few months ago to treat this potential infection. But when he returned for follow up, he wasn’t any better, and when he returned again 3 weeks ago, it looked like we were at the end of the road.
Getting back to Greg, here he was walking around, smiling, and talking to me. He had a new CAT scan in hand, which I reviewed with one of our head docs. It looked as if some of the lesion had become smaller, but it was still definitely present. I explained the clinical scenario to my colleague (whom I consider to be one of the brightest doctors I’ve ever been around) and his explanation for Greg’s apparent recovery was this: He scratched his head, then shook it, and then threw both hands up with eyebrows raised.
Miracle? It remains to be seen, as this may be a temporary reprieve from his symptoms. But maybe he is being gifted a bit more quality time with his family. Maybe more time to praise the Lord for his Goodness, and share his mercy with others. I’m excited to find out.
9 down… If this makes you smile feel free to ‘share.’ See you mañana.