NEWS – The Conclusion of the Medical Story

Writing about my medical problems is an unpleasant chore for me. It’s not very interesting and I don’t like reliving it. I feel an obligation to bring the record up to date, though, so here goes. The last time I wrote about this was last Friday when I was on my way home from Lenox Hill. My hemoglobin was over 10, I didn’t seem to have any active bleed (at least not one that an endoscopy or colonoscopy could find) and I anticipated doing a pillcam test sometime the following week. Monday morning, I went to Dr. Horbar’s office and had my level taken. My hemoglobin was still over 10 and from there I went on to have a fairly normal day. By afternoon, though, I was close to bedridden (I had to forego seeing The Chills, a band I love, at Monty Hall in Jersey that night – they hadn’t been in town for over twenty years). The following morning I called the doctor, finally reached him in the afternoon, told him my condition and was told to come in the next morning. Was there at 8:30AM. Rectal exam showed copious fresh blood. Go right to Lenox Hill emergency room, get tested and my hemoglobin is down to 5.5! My normal is 14.8 so I’m down to about 40% of my baseline. Receive transfusion of two bags of blood. Get a “bleeding” cat scan which reveals nothing. Sent up to surgical ICU since it’s anticipated that they’re going to need to open me up to find and stop the bleed. Take another test where they remove some of my blood  and zap it so it becomes radioactive, then they inject the blood back into me and do a scan. The scan shows a little blush in the small bowel. The surgical team gets ready to do an angioplasty to correct whatever the condition is but Dr. Horbar decides to try the pillcam first. Meanwhile, through all of this, my hemoglobin is holding steady at 7.2 which indicates there is no active bleed. Remember, this is my second day admitted. I swallow the pillcam

(technology devised by the Israelis for espionage purposes) which transmits images for eight hours to a walkman sized device hanging from my neck. No one is available to read the results until the following, Friday, morning. The pillcam pictures reveal an ulcer in the small bowel but also shows that the ulcer has scabbed over and isn’t bleeding anymore which explains why my level is holding steady. I receive another transfusion which brings my level to over ten and, at 10:00pm last night, I’m sent home. So over the course of three days and two nights I’ve been tested three times, been transfused three times and have not undergone any surgery or corrective procedure because the condition corrected on it’s own. Today, Saturday, I’m home and feeling pretty good. I’m guessing I’m over 11. Tuesday I’ll go back to Dr. Horbar to have my hemoglobin taken and, if it’s moved up, then I’m done. It’s been an ordeal. This last hospital stay was especially punishing, what with my physical condition and all the uncertainty and the grim possibilities and just being sick of the whole damn thing. Shout outs to, as always, my love Jolean, Samara, my Mom, Don Grubman, Deb Stein, Mark Gompertz and everyone who stayed in touch and was so concerned during my stay. Sorry to put you all through it.

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