Today is the 8th “anniversary” of my heart attack. I am watching a rerun of a Rock Center story on the questionable financial practices at some hospitals — people demanding co-pays before treatments, a national how-to-bill-collector firm that tells hospitals to put their financial health first.
I have no idea if my husband had to deal with this kind of behavior at The Queen’s Medical Center in Honolulu, but I doubt it. Having a heart attack turned out to be one of the truest, best experiences of my life.
From the security guard who took our car at the ER, to the nurse who took me back to the car in a wheelchair five days later, everyone there understood The Queen’s mission:
To fulfill the intent of Queen Emma and King Kamehameha IV to provide in perpetuity quality health care services to improve the well-being of Native Hawaiians and all the people of Hawaii.
Ian stayed with me the entire time, Mark came every day, Brook came every evening with blueberries and yogurt and sat at my bedside til morning. Mark’s sister Felicity came to our house from Canada to take care of us, her children gave up their summer so I could heal, Andrew flew in to see me, too. Friends popped out of the woodwork to visit me, one of them joking that “some people will do anything for drugs.”
I was lucky to have known Dr. Ray Itagaki eons ago; when I pulled his name out of a hat and said he was my cardiologist he came right away (who the heck has a cardiologist?). Ray got Dr. Michael Dang to do the quadruple bypass — even though I was still mid-heart attack. I walked in to Queen’s at 2:30 p.m. and was out of open-heart surgery at 7:30 p.m. Amazing.
Five days later, when I came home, Ragnar moved in and he and Ian entertained me. My childhood and forever best friend Mac came from North Carolina to cook me something with beans.
Even my adipose tissue took a break, waiting to come back until I felt better.
Our house and my heart were full of love.
Just a few days after SCOTUS upheld the Affordable Care Act, I am reflecting on the care I had, and hoping that in the not too distant future, every one in our country will be treated the same way.
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Gloria. Circa 1955.
Gloria. Circa 2012.
Other than working for the American Red Cross in Korea for two years, Gloria Garvey has lived in Hawai`i since 1971. Her opinion and other writing has appeared in: The American Philatelist. Honolulu Weekly, The Honolulu Advertiser, The Honolulu Star Bulletin, The Star Advertiser, Hawai`i Reporter, Pacific Business News, Island Scene, The Design Management Journal.