Tuesday, April 6, 2010
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.