Friday, August 7, 2009 Guest Post - AIN'T NO MO' GREEN BEANS!!!

[Editor's Note: AverageNation™ regular EbonyGentleMan returns with an update on his ongoing struggle. In case you missed the backstory, check out his prior post "Gut Check Time". Pray for this brother. ain't the same when he's not here.]

Look at this crap. Why in the bloody blue hell is this mess sitting in front of me? Cream of Wheat, egg subsitute and a freakin' muffin.

I don't eat muffins. I shouldn't have to eat muffins. I need cholesterol, DANGIT!!!!

On Monday, July 13th, I turned 30 years old. On July 14th, I was in a hospital bed, staring my fate in the face. Here I am, in the prime of life, with a portable ECG unit, I.V. and an oxygen mask on. A hot mess, since I hadn't been in a hospital bed in nearly 25 years.

That Tuesday morning started off wrong. I didn't sleep at all the night before and was struggling to breathe. Ten minutes before I was due to arrive at work, I knew something was terribly wrong.

My Dad (Love ya!) was taking me to the emergency room minutes later.

Scary silence followed as nurses and doctors walked in and out of the station. My Wifey arrived about three hours later. Luckily, she was working in the adjacent building and rushed in after my Dad called her.

An RN walks in with a large sonogram machine. This is the same machine OBGYN's use on pregnant women to take pictures of the bun or buns in the oven.

My heart was about to take center stage.

The process took long enough. I knew something was wrong when the nurse kept stopping...and stopping...and taking photographs....and stopping... and taking sound clips of my heartbeat...and stopping...and drawing pictures on the screen. I looked out of the corner of my eye and saw my Wifey's face as she stared at the computer screen:

Meanwhile I was lying on the bed looking like this:

The doctor walked back in after 30 minutes and delivered the bad news:

"Mr. Gentleman, due to your prolonged uncontrolled high blood pressure you have...

CONGESTIVE HEART FAILURE. And your condition has done THIS.. your heart. Your heart is enlarged and the muscles in your heart are very weak. It's not pumping out the fluid that it should. If your heart was a car, it should be running at about 60 miles per hour. Your ticker is going about 20 miles per hour...actually 16 miles per hour."

Now, while the doctor is looking at me incredulously, wondering how I'm still alive, I'm lying there simply accepting that I'm in a bad spot. I wasn't scared, or upset. as a matter of fact, I was concerned with everything BUT myself. I was worried about my wife and my job. It's strange but it's true.

The doc finished his diagnosis with this statement, "You're facing a life or death situation, sir. We going to have to keep you here."

So, I stayed for four days and three nights in the wonderful Hospital Hotel. ccomodations included checks from nurses every four hours. Needles in my wrists, my stomach and my hand (That "Blood Gas" needle hurts like HELL!). Fluid pills, blood pressure pills, bad cable television, an adjustable bed, and a beautiful view of the hospital's campus....well the brick buildings at least.

But most of all, the FINE DINING! Nothing had salt in it. Bland. Blah. BLECH! Every meal was a Cardiac blue plate special. THANK YA, LAWD!!!

Seriously. Thank You, Lord. I'm not sad about my situation. I'm just glad to be alive and doing better than I was. I'm taking five meds a day now, and I will be for the rest of my life. The $4 generic prescriptions from Wal*Mart has helped tremendously in spite of the fact that I am UNINSURED.

Yes, the folks up in DC need to make up their minds and help folks like me, in some form or fashion. It's not like I WANT to be uninsured. It's just that my job is making me WAIT a year to even sign up for coverage! Something needs to change and quick, because there are millions like me who work for a living and need health coverage.

But I don't want to raise my pressure any more than it is by getting mad. The $10,000 hospital bill I just got in the mail is doing enough.

But before I go off the deep end, I want to say thank you to my family for being there for me. Thanks to my co-workers for caring and visiting me. Thanks to the hospital staff and all of the doctors for helping me before it was too late. Thanks to my church family for their support. Thanks to everyone on here for not telling AB to kick me off of here because of my wild comments and style.

Most importantly, Thanks to God for allowing me to take a bad situation and turning it into a good one. Take it from me folks. Take good care of yourselves as best you can. I've got a new lease on life, and a better reason for living.

I got to stay alive so no other nigra beds my wife. :)

Dead men don't make money or make babies.


Question: How has the high cost of health care affected you? What solutions do you have for those who don't have health insurance? Could you live on hospital food alone?

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