Exit stage left – leaving the hospital – I am out of here!

The gig for leaving the hospital was to sign a paper that stated if I died that the hospital would not be liable.

That in and of itself caused a hesitation on my part. If I die the hospital is not responsible – that is pretty darn dire.

Alas, these 3 things kind of made my decision a bit easier.

1) The problem was with my left leg – in 4 days, no one looked at my leg.

2) They wanted a stool sample. That had not happened since I had been in the hospital. Took the number one quite q bit, but number 2 never happened. One of the few times in my life that I would say I was full of crap.

3) The differing bugs I saw crawling along the wall next to my bed. Just an unsettling thing when it comes to a hospital – and thinking that if the operating room was anywhere close to the condition I was living in now, it would not be the most sanitary to have an invasive procedure.

So, one last time the doctors came by.

I said, “Look, I have been in here for 4 days. No bath, I cannot brush my teeth, and have not had a bowel movement.”

“The problem is my left leg, and no one has even bothered to look at that leg since I have been in here. You doctors are not telling me anything about what is going on here.”

The reply was what I had heard for 4 days. “We are implanting a device that will stop the blood clot from moving to your heart and/or lungs. If you want to leave, you have to sign the release that we are not responsible for your death.”

One doctor, who had promised to stop by once before says, “Look, I will stop by and talk to you before I leave today.”

I tell him, “Look, I hear what you are saying. You promised me that once before and never stopped by. You have me chained to this IV, and I cannot move around and talk to anyone.”

“Are you not concerned that I have not had a bowel movement since I have been here?”

“My problem is my left leg, but no one has even bothered to look at it since I have been here.”

“This all makes me feel unattended – that you are just going through the motions.”

Their reply was, “We do not know what more you want from us. We have told you what we are going to do. If you want to leave, just sign the form, and you can go.”

Down the row of patients they moved. Conversation over.

About 2 hours later, that was it.

Nurse came by to give me a cloth bath, and I stated, “I am out of here. Get me the form, and I am leaving.”

Within 10 minutes, I had the form in hand, signed and got out of the IV hook-up.

Put on my clothes, slowly got out of bed, and walked out of the hospital.

Now, I am in the streets of Panama City.

It is hot, and noisy and crowded.

I need something to eat and my body decides now is the time to take care of number 2 that it did not want to do for 4 days. And it wants to do number 2 quickly!

I do not have my bearings, I do not know where anything is. I know that there is a McDonald’s close by because the guys on the ward ordered food from there, Also, KFC was brought in.

But, where are these places and how quickly can I get there to use their facilities?

Mind over bodily functions. The goal is to find one or the other. I ask the police, they speak no English, but I am getting better at understanding.

I am close to a McDonald’s, not sure about KFC. They have directed me to a chicken place, but the facilities are questionable.

I walk, and as luck would have it, a McDonald’s appears.

Mad dash to that, and into the restroom I go.

Let me put it this way – I have held and crumbled rocks that were softer than what came out of my rear end. This body function was a major task – and a long one at that!

To complicate matters, the guard comes into the restroom and knocks on the stall door – tells me I have been in there to long.

I’m thinking, “Yeah, just what I need now – is pressure to get it done!”

Laughing quietly, I am thinking that this “blood clot” is going to move now, and I am going to die in a stall at a McDonald’s.

Finally the body gets done with what it has to do, and I am out of the stall, and wash my hands and go to the counter.

Order a coffee and a juice.

Sitting at a McDonald’s in Panama City, having no idea what the heck I am going to do.

Am I going to die here?

What is my next move?

Should I head back to the states?

What is my next step………………………..?

Finish the coffee and juice, and head back to my car.

I am really, really tired, feel filthy and have no idea what to do.

Get to the basics, I decide.

I need a place to stay – back to the hostel I was in. That is the first step.

Get my car, work my way back to the hostel.

Need more info about leg problem, blood clots.

Get on the internet and start reading. Seems there are out-patient treatments for this.

Get phone, get a second opinion.

Guy working the counter at the hostel speaks a little English.

I get on google translate, and we communicate through that.

I get told about another hospital, better one, but I will have to pay for a consultation.

Fine, where is it.

Get some poor directions, and start.

45 minutes later, find the hospital and get to admissions.

Ask to see vascular specialist, but have to see regular doctor first (Yup, Panama as learned a few things about getting into a patients pockets)

Finally get to see the specialist, and he says just circulation problem.

Need to take these drugs and an aspirin a day. And give up smoking! (How many times have I heard that in the last 1 1/2 years – about a gazillion!)

So, start taking the drugs, and within a day, the foot is less swollen, feels better.

Doctor says I need to exercise the leg more. Less driving for about 2 or 3 months.

Well, needless to say, but I will say it anyways – what a relief!

Soooo – now the game has changed a bit. What is The Big Mozey going to do now?

Well, a trip to Colon. then a trip to the end of the Pan-American Highway.

Have to make sure that the doctor is correct – does driving aggravate the leg?

Coming up – a missed post about Cahuita – a beautiful beach and park, Colon a city that’s been passed by and the end of the Pan-American Highway – what is at the end of this major highway through the Americas?

Thanks again for all your comments, well wishes and prayers. It really has meant a lot to me. More than you’ll ever know.

Cheers for now!

About John Wilson

Traveler, writer and photographer. No home now, just traveling the world in search of the lost chord.
This entry was posted in Exit stage left - leaving the hospital - I am out of here!, Panama - the country, people and pictures and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Exit stage left – leaving the hospital – I am out of here!

  1. Louis Cypher says:

    Keep on truckin’. Baby Asprin is what they prescribed right?
    Yes, driving will aggravate the condition because you are sitting so long. Stop and walk around every now and then. I’m not a Dr. but I have seen this before.

  2. John Wilson says:

    Nope – in Panama it is cardiovascular aspirin – they can charge more because it is cardiovascular – same as baby aspirin!
    Thanks for the advice snoopy – it is correct advice – driving aggravates the problem.
    I appreciate you taking the time to leave a comment.
    John D. Wilson

  3. Senaf says:

    I am happy to hear you are out of that hospital and got better help. Circulation problem can be fatal so nothing to mess around with. I think you need to listen to the doctor this time and stay off driving. This turned out to be a happy ending afterall and you can put this experience behind you now.

  4. Hi, John.

    I am glad you are out of the hospital, and it certainly gives me pause to think of the conditions in that Panamanian hospital.

    From a stranger’s perspective it sounds like you need some TLC in the form of a lifestyle coach. KFC, McDonald’s… isn’t there some sort of homemade and delicious food in Panama?

    Anyway… Please take care. Walk more every day. Fresh homemade food is the best everywhere. Keep away from the fried food, drink lots of water, eat some fruit. None of those things are a burden and all can help.

    From someone who enjoys coffee, tea and red wine, and has a ‘fat-tooth’ I know what you are going through. I can just be happy that I don’t have the ‘sweet-tooth’ too. We all pick our poisons.

    Walk and eat fresh and that should help. Just cut a regular aspirin in half and there you have the baby aspirin.

    Best of luck.

  5. Hi John,
    Glad you got out of that place! I had a clot once that happily dissolved itself before I even realized I had one. Anytime you sit or stand in one position for a length of time it can be dangerous. The doc told me to become a foot jiggler if I had to sit too long – bounce your foot/feet up & down to help pump the blood back. If driving long distances, stop every hour or so and walk, stretch, bounce, whatever.

    Stay well!

  6. Silverboom says:

    Great story, dude, well told. Funniest part was the thoughts of dying in the Micky D’s stall. LMAO :D
    Hope you learned a lot from it…last time I’ll be thinking about a trip to Panama to save on healthcare LOL!

  7. John Wilson says:

    Thanks for the advice and comment.
    I truly appreciate it!
    John D. Wilson

  8. John Wilson says:

    Hey Silverboom,
    When you’re having a rough time, it is really amazing where your mind goes to – like dying in a McD stall in Panama City.
    Wouldn’t it have created a stir – finding me dead in a stall of Mcdonald’s – probably would have created an international incident – complete with investigation and news articles about my demise.
    Fortunately, that never happened!
    Thanks for taking the time to read and leave a post – greatly appreciated!
    John D. Wilson

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