The Kindness of Strangers

UVa HospitalThis is an intensely personal post. On Sunday morning November 1st I had a severe case of heart arrhythmia at my home in southern Albemarle County. Feeling nauseous I went into the bathroom and promptly collapsed. I have no recollection of this happening.

My wife called the Scottsville Rescue Service and they arrived to get me ready for transfer to the University of Virginia Medical Center at about 4 AM. My wife who teaches kindergarten at Scottsville Elementary School actually taught one of the EMTs children.

Let me tell you right now that we need to support the various fire and rescue services. Without their professional expertise and speed I might have died right in my bedroom.

I was taken to the UVa Emergency Room where after some preliminaries Dr. Gus Mealeor determined that my heart was out of rhythm. He tried to get it back in rhythm using my pacemaker but eventually had to shock it back into its normal rhythm. Needless to say I was knocked out for this procedure.

Before he performed the procedure I asked him why we had so many spectators. He told me that the Emergency Room people didn’t often get a chance to see this type of procedure. When I woke up and everyone was smiling I realized that it had worked.

I was taken to the Cardiac Care Unit where I spent the next six days. Let me say right here that the care that I received from the doctors, nurses and support staff was exemplary. With just this one patient they justified their hospital’s ranking as a Top 100 Hospital.

You see they were all strangers to me. They went out of their way to make sure that I recovered. There were no grumpy ones. Their expertise was enjoyable to watch as they worked their 12-hour shifts untiringly.

I’m home now but I face a long recovery with many twists and turns along the way. With their aid and assistance I’ll ultimately be healed.

I like to thanks Dr. James Bergin, Dr. Molly Fleece, Dr. Sumat Agarwal and most of all my cardiologist Dr. Jamie Kennedy. Without their help I wouldn’t be writing this today.

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