Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Triple Bypass


When I wrote my last post about the doctor who made a tasteless joke about my husband taking a second wife in my presence, little did I know what would happen in our lives in the coming days. When Adnan complained to me that he had been having difficulty breathing at the slightest physical exertion, like climbing a flight of stairs, I insisted that he go in to a doctor to have it checked out. The news wasn’t good. We got two opinions, both of whom recommended an angiogram. This came as quite a surprise to both my husband and me - Adnan has always been very health conscious about eating and isn't overweight.

Adnan applied for approval to have the procedure done at a government hospital, where it would have been done for free. We personally don’t have health insurance here (like many people here), but there are government hospitals that offer free quality care as well as private pay hospitals. But after about a week, Adnan finally decided to go in and paid to see a heart specialist, who was so concerned at what he saw that he insisted that Adnan be at the hospital the following morning for an angiogram and a likely angioplasty.

The doctor wanted to put in 4 stents, however the blockages were so extensive that he was unable to complete the procedure and couldn’t even put in the first stent in the largest vein. Adnan was kept in the hospital for observation until open heart surgery – a triple bypass - could be performed a few days later. The operation was successful.

I spent the entire ten days at the hospital in his room on the surgical floor, even while he spent three days down in ICU after his operation. If it hadn’t been for the circumstances, I would have felt like we were staying in a lovely hotel. I have never felt more comfortable in a hospital before, but of course, I wasn’t a patient either. There was a small fold out couch that opened up into a very comfortable single bed that I slept on. As my husband’s guest, I was also provided with three nourishing and delicious meals a day.

The room we stayed in is called an Executive Suite. It’s made to accommodate two patients, but there was just one hospital bed and where the second patient bed would have been was a large comfortable sitting area. When you first enter the room, there was also a smaller separate sitting area, where visiting women could sit when there were other men visiting. Our son was also able to stay with us for part of the time, although it wasn’t really that comfortable to sleep in either of the sitting areas, unless you were maybe the size of a little person like in the Wizard of Oz. There were two large windows that looked out over a beautiful park which many people utilize towards late afternoon.

International Medical Center (IMC), an affiliate of the world renowned Cleveland Clinic, was many years in the making from the idea for its original conception back in 1993, through its design and construction until its opening in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, in late 2005. IMC is a gorgeous 300-bed facility, utilizing different shades of marble in its main lobby and other common areas and highlights distinct Middle Eastern and Islamic design elements throughout the entire building, inside and out. The building was designed by famed local architect Dr. Sami Angawi, one of the most well known Islamic architects in the region and whose unique modern but traditional home I have had the pleasure of visiting.

There was a beautifully landscaped inner courtyard, as well as an enormous park adjacent to the facility, where people by the dozens gathered at dusk to just sit and enjoy the spring air or to walk the track around its perimeter. At one end of the park was a field of palm trees with paths and benches interspersed among the trees, and at the other end was a large open grassy area where children played or families picnicked. It was a wonderful layout and we had a fantastic view of it from our fifth floor room. It was really nice to see so many people enjoying the outdoors here because in the part of Jeddah where we live, there’s nothing like it and I just don’t get to see people outside at leisure that much.

My husband’s doctors were top notch and professional and were from Saudi Arabia and the Sudan – I had complete faith in their expertise and recommendations, and I knew Adnan was in the best and most capable hands. The staff, comprised of about 80% Filipino and the rest mostly from Middle Eastern countries, was amazingly helpful and genuinely concerned in making our stay there as pleasant and comfortable as possible - from the nurses to the kitchen staff to the cleaning crew to the guards.

I got the feeling that my husband and I were somewhat of a unique and curious attraction during our stay, since I was not Saudi; but I cannot say enough nice things about the hospital and its wonderful staff for making our entire experience while we were there a pleasant one. I am truly grateful for their kindness and professionalism in creating such a nurturing environment for its patients.

Adnan and I have been home now for three days and already I can see a little progress and less pain for him every day. He's also starting to get back his sense of humor a bit too, which is a great sign. I hope to share more about some of my particular experiences, impressions and adventures I had at IMC – so stay tuned.

65 comments:

  1. So happy to hear your husband's procedure went well, and that his care and your comfort were well-addressed. I imagine it's been a stressful period, and that you're immensely relieved at the outcome!

    I have to ask (and I imagine the thought may have crossed your mind in the thick of things)...

    Is your son now old enough to act on your behalf (I can't remember the correct term for that) if your husband had been incapacitated? If anything happened to your husband, could your son have given permission for you to leave KSA, for example? As an American woman, the thought of not having that freedom of movement seems so scary!

    On an unrelated topic, my job involves a lot of travel in the extreme southeastern corner of AZ and I often stay in Bisbee, Douglas, Sierra Vista, Nogales, etc. I've often wondered which "little town on the Mexican border" you're from...because I've probably spent some time there! :-)

    Again, so glad to hear things had a positive outcome!

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  2. Hi Michelle - My husband has talked to his brother about my leaving the kingdom in case something were to happen to him. My son is now 17, and I've heard that he would be my mahram at 21 if my husband were incapacitated. My only reason for being here in KSA is my husband, and his family knows that. I'm not worried about getting stuck here.
    I grew up in Douglas - small world! Even though I haven't really lived there since the mid 1970s, I still consider myself a Douglas girl. I was just there in October for my class reunion.

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  3. I am glad to hear that your husband is home and doing better. Triple bypass is not exactly a walk in the park.

    The hospital looks amazing! Thank goodness the care was just as amazing.

    Good luck to you both... here's to a speedy recovery! :-)

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  4. Sorry to hear about the surgery and all, I hope he gets better soon, and glad all went well with the operation and the hospital experience.

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  5. Oh Susie - that seems like quite the scare! But I am so happy that your husband is doing well now and that you had a great stay at the hospital. I know what it feels like to be in a bad hospital, and also what it's like to be in a hospital where you feel loved and cared for, so I definitely understand where you are coming from. It's so important to have a good experience in a time of need, and I'm so happy that you had that!

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  6. What a wonderful hospital that fosters healing through esthetics, and garden walks, along with high quality professional care. I am glad things are going well for Adnan, and hope he has a swift and uncomplicated recovery.

    Looking forward to your further postings on your experience and on IMC.

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  7. Susie...what a surprise. I am so glad that things worked out well. Never have I seen such a magnificent hospital! Hopefully Adnan will have a speedy recovery. I wish you well.

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  8. Hi, Susie.

    First off, praise God for your hubby's successful surgery and promising convalescence. I pray he will be back on his feet soon.

    Thank you also for sharing pictures of the beautiful palace of a hospital that is IMC. :) Gosh, I wouldn't mind working there myself! It looks like a five-star hotel! I imagine the unconventional architecture and design of the hospital took some of the anxiety out of your hospital stay.

    My heart skipped a beat when I read the symptoms your husband exhibited. My dad also gets tired easily. His angiogram did not show any problems with his heart, but he is scheduled for a chemical stress test early in the morning tomorrow anyway.

    Again, it is a relief to hear that all went well with your husband.

    As always, warm greetings from Florida. :)

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  9. Hope he's feeling better now, and I had the same concern as Michelle. Thanks for answering that. I wish him speedy recoveries.

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  10. And this is probably not a good time to mention this, but the pictures are gorgeous. That is indeed a beautiful building!

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  11. I am so glad the operation was successful and your husband is on the mend! Sounds like the hospital stay was very pleasant--at least as pleasant as it can be! Hope you are well and not too worn out from all of that.

    Take care and Happy Spring!

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  12. What an amazing facility, glad you were both taken care of so well. Also happy to hear Adnan is feeling better already, a good sense of humor is a sure sign. Remember to take care of yourself also.

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  13. Susie, I am so glad your stay at the hospital was a pleasant one and that you had faith in your husband's doctors. I hope he continues to improve. That hospital is nothing like what I have seen in California, Thailand, New York, and Hawaii. So elegant and ornate.

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  14. Alhamdulillah your husband went to the Dr. before having a heart attack and alhamdulillah the surgery was successful. in sha' Allah he'll have a quick recovery and be back to his life soon.

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  15. Allahi chafik. Amazing, i have never see an hospital like that!
    May God bless you and your family.
    Aïsha

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  16. Hi Susie: so glad to hear that your husband's procedure has been successful. Must have been very scary for all of you. I was very interested in your description of the IMC as that is where we would go in the event of an illness or an emergency and it's great to hear that they took such good care of Adnan there. My best wishes for a speedy recovery to Adnan and some rest for you and your son.

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  17. Hello Susie,

    I am glad to hear that Adnan is recovering well from his surgery. I have heard that heart surgery can be very challenging on an emotional level, as well as the obvious physical aspects of getting through major surgery.

    I hope you also have people supporting you through this period, as I'm sure it must be very stressful.

    Take care! Best wishes from Australia!

    Kristina

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  18. I'm very glad that everything turned out ok for him. Had they ever really checked his cholesterol levels? You can eat right and exercise and take great care of yourself but still have dangerously high cholesterol levels that need meds to control.

    I've got to say that I nearly spit out my coffee when I read 'He's also starting to get back his sense of humor a bit too, which is a great sign' LOL after your last post!

    Nice that he discussed your leaving the kingdom if anything were to happen to him. Did he also happen to mention making sure that you also take all the marital assets with you? It would certainly concern me if I didn't have any knowledge of or access to the bank accounts (as I believe you have mentioned before)

    Speedy recovery Adnan! He's very fortunate not to have had a heart attack first. That makes the recovery from bypass so much more difficult.

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  19. Great that it's all over and Adnan is on the mend. It's good to hear how good the hospital and staff were and very nice that you could stay there with him.

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  20. I'm glad to hear that everything went well. Wow, that happened quite fast.

    The hospital is quite stunning, glad you were both taken care of.

    Speedy recovery to your hubby, and hugs for you.

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  21. Oh my dear dear Susie! How scary! I am glad he is home and that he is doing much better. That must have been such a frightening ordeal. Wishing you and your beloved husband the best.

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  22. That is one incredible hospital. I hope your husband is feeling much better very soon. Your blog is absolutely fascinating.

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  23. What a relief you went to the doctor in time: thanks God!
    I hope the things will get better very soon, and life restarts to go on as happy as before.
    I wish you all so many beautiful things.

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  24. Susie, so very glad your husband mentioned his discomfort and YOU took action. Sending you hugs, loves and prayers for speed recovery. Lawana

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  25. Susie,OMG oh my gosh!!! I am so glad to hear that Adnan is doing well, what a scarey adventure for all of you.
    Please send Adnan our love and that we wish him all the best in his recovery.
    Tell the girl from Sierra Vista AZ says now I am from Phoenix LOL...
    Take care all my friends, Love, Pam

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  26. Glad to hear the operation was a success and the hospital looks amazing. Like you said it looks just like a hotel. Ham Dilah Salami for you and your family. I hope you husband has a speedy recovery.

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  27. So glad to hear all went well - may Adnan have a complete & speedy recovery, inshallah! Thanks for describing the hospital & posting the lovely pictures!

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  28. What a scary time for both of you!I am glad to hear he is recovering well ; much better days will come for sure.The hospital looks like a 5 star hotel like you say,and the care you and your husband received sounds just perfect.Let's just hope that everybody gets that kind of treatment over here!all the best

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  29. Greetings from sunny Arizona ... and I am so glad Adnan is okay ... Love ... Bea

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  30. Hey Suz -
    Glad to hear Adnan's surgery went well and all is ok. What a stressful surprise!!!

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  31. Hey Suz
    Glad to hear Adnan's surgery went well and all is ok. What a stressful surprise!!!

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  32. I hope Adnan is good as new. What a great hospital!

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  33. Susie, glad to hear your husband is doing good. Hope you are doing well too. I keep reading your blog since I find it interesting.
    My saludos to you and your family. Stay well.
    Art

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  34. Susie,
    I am so glad that your husband is recovering well and will soon have all his strength and “scents of humor” back. Keep us posted on his progress and you take care of yourself too and don’t run yourself down.

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  35. Denise & FamilyApr 7, 2010, 1:49:00 PM

    Oh Susie! I am so glad Adnan is okay. That's scary stuff! We wish him a speedy recovery!

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  36. Glad to hear that things went well during the operation. We wish you both all the luck you need.
    Love - Vivian and Jim

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  37. Oh susie (long time reader here) so pleased he came through the surgery well. What a shock! Rest carefully now.

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  38. Hi Susie!
    So glad that Adnan's surgery went well, we've been saying our prayers for you both. Take care and tell him to we are happy the worst is behind him.

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  39. If, as the Queen suggested, Adnan needs cholesterol medication, please make sure his liver functions are monitored. Those adverse side effects can be just as deadly as the high cholesterol.

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  40. Salaam Susie,

    Whew!! I am very happy to hear that Adnan is recovering from such an operation!! And the whole facility and it's staff sound very wonderful!! When I was at a local hospital, I experienced the same kindness from the nurses that you described -- it made what I was going through easier...

    Anyways, can't wait to read your next post!!

    Luv, Aalia

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  41. Susie,

    So glad to hear that all went well for Adnan. We wish him the very best. What an amazing looking hospital. Are best to you all.
    Jessie

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  42. Praying for Adnan and you too. You and yours are in my thoughts.

    Beautiful hospital :)

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  43. I join your friends in wishing Adnan a speedy recovery. What a wonderful hospital in which to have the treatment. Thank you for sharing this family story.

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  44. Susie, I am so glad that Adnan is okay. It sounds like this hospital did everything in its power to fix the problem and relieve the stress associated with a very anxiety provoking situation.

    I have visited the King AbdulAziz University Hospital in Jeddah and was very impressed. But it was nothing like this one!

    Lioness

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  45. Patti & Kenny SeitzmanApr 8, 2010, 4:14:00 AM

    Hi, Susie--

    Kenny and I were sorry to hear about Adnan's surgery. Kenny had the same experience when he went for an angiogram, and ended up with a double bypass, but that was almost 2 1/2 years ago, and he's proof that you can get past it and do very well! Regards to Adnan and Adam. Please wish Adnan a speedy recovery. Let us know when you're in town again.

    Fondly,

    Patti and Kenny

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  46. Oh Susie I'm so happy for you both - your hubby's at home and you can take care of him - he'll be better and better every day I'm sure...

    Greetings from sunny Casablanca, Morocco!
    Take care!

    BLOGitse

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  47. I'm sorry to read that Adnan had to have surgery Susie, but I am really glad to read that he's on the road to recovery. At least he's starting to smile, and that's the main thing, and I wish him a speedy recovery (and you the patience to deal with him!)

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  48. I'm glad to hear that your husband has made it through the surgery and is healing well. I'm sure that the next challenging part will be getting him through the emotional part (many people do have depression after this type of surgery). In addition, some friends of mine who have had this surgery more than once indicated that they felt their ability to remember things afterward was impacted. One of my father's friends had to be really coaxed back to work a year after surgery (dispression again). But the first issue is to get him physically well first and that sounds like it is going fine. Thank you so much for blogging about the hotel. You mentioned it was private. Did you end up having to pay for both the doctor and the hospital - or was some of that covered under government health care? Take care of yourself and your son too - I know it's a strain on both of you as well.

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  49. Hi Susie,

    So glad that all is well and that you're both back home safe and sound.

    I've heard many nice things about IMC from others as well.

    M.A.

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  50. What an amazing husband you have, Susie. I pray things continue well for you all, and he mends very well.

    That hospital looks like it's straight out of a fairy tale.

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  51. Interesting Blog about a World I really don't know.
    Thank you for sharing.
    My best wishes to your Husband.

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  52. Wish Adnan all the best of health.

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  53. Susie, now days post-op and at home-how are you three feeling? How does the doctor see Adnan at his post-op visit?

    Our prayers are with you all. May this be a quiet time of feeling for your spaces and needs that need attending to.

    A big warm hug all the way from NYC.

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  54. Best wishes for your husband's recovery!

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  55. Wow, that must have been a scary time for you and your husband. I'm glad the operation went well and he is doing well.

    Hugs!

    Anisah

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  56. Just found out! Wishing your husband a speedy recovery which I am sure will happen as he is a heathy man and this looks to me like just a bump in the road; my dad that a quintuple bypass a few years ago; he is doing fine and is eighty now. This hospital looks grand! how lucky to have the operation in such a setting!

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  57. Sending best wishes to you & your husband & family!

    Love you blog--life is very surreal sometimes (even in the U.S.!), & you are an inspiration for trying to make sense of it gracefully & with courage.


    Lena

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  58. Best wishes to your husband for a speedy recovery! You take care too.
    Pat

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  59. I know you haven't had much time to blog, but just hoping that everything is still going well for your husband, son, and you. All of you do have all of our best wishes and thoughts.

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  60. I found this article by following a link from one of your other messages...
    http://arabnews.com/saudiarabia/article42513.ece

    It was about misyar marriages and was particularly interesting because it talked about the curse of spinsterhood. It's only a curse if you can't do what you want, go where you want, etc., without a man around. I find the whole thing about needing a male relative available to be so binding for both men and women.

    Anyway, thanks so much, Susie, for the link that led me to this article also - it was certainly a different perspective.

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  61. My prayers are with you and your husband. Thanks for sharing about your experience and I am glad that your husband's care was so good.

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  62. Hi Susie!
    I am glad that your husband's operation was successful..I wish him full recovery...

    Thanks for the pics of the hospital...the owner of the hospital is one of many Saudi men who are making a great difference in our lives...
    http://www.imc.med.sa/EN/know_doctor/1.html

    Thanks

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  63. Dear Susie,
    I wonder if we have met?? I have been to Sami Angawi's "salons" many times. you should ask to interview him for your blog. I always thought it strange that he has two wives.

    Best wishes to your husband. I am glad he got such good care.

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  64. Arbgrlusa--please shoot me an email to chiaraazlinquestion AT yahoo.com. Thanks! :)

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