Skip to main content

Cardiac Perfusion

Alex dialed the number. "Hey, Dad. I've got a real heavy patient load today, so I wanted to go ahead and call because I didn't know when else I'd be able to reach you."

The Seimens whirred softly in the background, its automatic imaging sequence well underway. The patient, tucked under warmed blankets, smiled.

"Yeah... yeah... okay...," Alex nodded into the phone. "Do you know when you and Mom will be here? Will it be tomorrow or Tuesday?"

The patient kept infinitely still, breathing regularly but so as not to disturb her position.

"Okay. I'll see you then, Dad. Bye," Alex said, putting down the phone.

The Seimens continued to scan the patient's heart. Perfusion—a test to see how much blood the heart is holding at rest and after stress. What about the heart that scans the patient heart? That heart under stress, how much can it hold?

"Pshew! Wow. You didn't move a muscle did you? Great pics!" Alex said.

The patient rose from the table and settled into her wheelchair. Alex folded one blanket in half and spread it across the patient's lap. Then he trekked across the unit to the closet where the blanket warmer was kept.

"Lean forward just a little," Alex said to the patient. He draped the warm blanket across the patient's shoulders. "We'll get you finished up down here and back upstairs to get something to eat."

The patient was wheeled into another room. A chemical stress test was induced. The patient was returned to her room in the observation ward. She was, after eleven hours, allowed to eat. The patient rested. Her father and mother and husband arrived. The cardiologist came. He spoke of ifs and thens. The patient was summoned for her second set of scans.

"Did you get something to eat?" Alex asked as soon as he saw the patient's face.

The patient smiled. She settled down on the table with her arms resting above her head. Again, warm blankets were tucked around her. Again, the Seimens began to whir. Otherwise, it was quiet. The patient was relaxed.

"How much longer does this thing have?" she asked in a low voice.

"Six and a half minutes," Alex said with concern in his voice. "Why?"

"I'm falling asleep," the patient said.

"Oh, yeah, if you fall asleep, you might jump when you wake up. I could sing to you, but they'd probably fire me for torture," Alex said.

"Tell me about your dad." That's what the patient should have said. Alex's Father's Day was spent with a surrogate family, a family of wounded hearts in need, hearts made perfuse, at rest and after stress, with his care.

(With thanks to my own father who spent his Father's Day reading the newspaper in a big, green recliner by a hospital bed—instead of reading the newspaper in a big, green recliner at home—and took a raincheck on the family cookout and promised blueberry and goat cheese pie.)


Popular posts from this blog

Access Medicine X: Live Stream Brings Silicon Valley Direct To You

Stanford Medicine X is a catalyst for new ideas, designed to explore social media and information
technology’s power to advance medical practices, improve health, and empower patients to participate in their own care. But Medicine X also seeks to engage and empower those unable to attend in person to still get involved in the discussion.

Through Medicine X’s Global Access program, main stage content from the three-day conference will be made available through a high-quality live stream. Anyone with an Internet connection around the world will be able to view keynote speakers such as Daniel Siegel, MD, clinical professor of psychiatry at University of California-Los Angeles and author of The New York Times bestseller Brainstorm: The Power and Purpose of the Teenage Brain, and panel discussions such as Gonzalo Bacigalupe's focusing on the e-health movement and inequality among marginalized populations.

“Medicine X has distinguished itself through a singular commitment to inclusivit…

And In The Wilderness A Clearing Emerged

In addition to my work as an advocate, my actual "job" has been as a reporter and editor. I've been in the field professionally since I was 17 (though one could count running the school yearbook and starting a literary magazine as my initial forays). My first employment outside a horse stable was in an university's public relations office. I worked four summers there moving up from the mail room and putting together basic press releases to writing full articles and contracting for assignment work while at college. I earned a degree in journalism with an outside concentration in political science at UNC-Chapel Hill. While there I worked as a writer, desk editor and managing editor of The Daily Tar Heel; wrote for and edited a literary magazine; volunteered for Journalists United to Maximize Potential, a student-run organization that taught middle school students how to produce a newspaper; interned in public relations for the Morehead Planetarium; and interned in publ…

Crowdfunding Creativity

For as involved as I am in the national (and, at times, international) healthcare social media community, I find myself in a local void. The mountains I call home are not the epicenter of anything to do with healthcare or social media much less the two together. I've been chipping away, trying to carve out a foothold such that the wealth of education and opportunity found in healthcare and social media can enrich the lives of those I routinely connect with in real life as it has my own. It's slow going. Every fear, every socio-economic force that pushes back against the #hcsm tide can be found here. But today... today made a new friend.

As like minds are prone to do, @SociallyMD and I connected first via Twitter. Lo and behold — we live a mere 20 minutes apart. Prior to departing for Stanford's Medicine X conference, I suggested that since we were the only two Tweeps occupying the local #hcsm space, @SociallyMD and I should meet. And meet we did, instantly connecting profe…