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Parting Glances: A stroke in time

By | 2020-06-17T11:42:20-04:00 May 28th, 2020|Opinions, Parting Glances|

It was a year ago this Memorial Day 2020 that I had a stroke and spent two weeks in Detroit Receiving Hospital and a month in physical rehab in the Senior Care Center in Henry Ford Village, where I am now living in its Berkshire Gardens units.
My recovery has been steady, thanks to the excellent rehabilitation care, exercising pacing and challenging encouragement to get better I have been given. COVID-19 was not yet then a horror on the horizon of a worldwide pandemic.
In March of this year, my medical check-up registered pluses for pulse, breathing, blood quality and 180 pounds, waist 34”. Again, COVID-19, the fear thereof was not a factor.
Perhaps there’s a touch of long-range irony here, but today’s need for wearing masks and practicing social distancing reminds me of when, just out of Cass Tech High School I trained as an OR Tech at Harper Hospital, where I happened also to be born in 1936.
In the mid-1950s many metropolitan city hospitals had acute shortages of surgical nurses. This was very, very much the situation during World War II. In both instances it was found that laypersons could be trained to pass surgical instruments reasonably as well as surgical nurses
As an OR Tech at Harper, I learned sterile procedure: how to scrub my hands, how to keep sterile procedures while putting on surgical gloves and gowning to pass instruments.
During my year-long tenure at Harper I passed instruments and sutures on several caesarian sections, countless tonsillectomies, a few D&Cs — dilatation and curettages — and, the one surgery I hated, sub-mucous resections — cracking by scapel of nostril bone.
There were 13 operating rooms at Harper, numbered 1 through 14; no number 13, I also witnessed a craniotomy, where four holes drilled into the skull, and was in attendance when I patient died on the operating table.
Another OR Tech and I tagged his thumb and big toe, and put his body into a freezer unit. To break our first such encounter with death, we tried to make jokes about its seriousness.
And, what may well be an item for the Guinness Book of World Records, I actually got to scrub with the doctor who brought me into this crazy, wonderful, at times horrible and baffling world, Dr. Leonard Heath. The moment of recognition understandably amazed us both.
Perhaps all of this backgrounding is appropriate as it coincide with this BTL’s interview with my friend of 30 years John Floros, the head R.N. at Karmanos Hospital, and the current nurse at Novi State Hospital.
Fortunate for myself, John Floros was my principal care giver for this past year of my stroke recovery.
John was there at my bedside at Detroit Receiving Hospital on my first day of admission, watching over me, monitoring and reporting on my day-to-day progress.
He has since run countless errands for me and encouraged my recovery with good-natured, metaphysical understandings and comments. John! My heartfelt gratitude!
May I also extend many, many appreciative thanks to those who wished me well on line and on my Facebook page. Your remarks were pluses of healing for me. The simple truth of the matter is we all need each other. Especially during this time of unintended isolation and fear.
We share our LGBTQ pride by loving and caring for others in good times as well as the unseasonable times we are now experiencing. This too shall pass. Pride will last. One can only hope.

About the Author:

Charles Alexander