The novel CRYSTAL COWBOY has been outselling ALASKA BE DAMNED! To date, my best selling novel. I thought it may have been the lowering the price to .99, but that was done a month ago. One never know in this writing world.
As one would expect, health becomes the number one priority for most folks when they’ve had a scare like I recently experienced. So, I’m going to write about it -- again. As an author, I have an eye for detail. Observing people, mannerisms, inanimate objects and the like is just habit for use in future stories. I’d like to share those observations with you, now. CLEAN – There’s household clean and clinical clean. Hospital clean should be of the highest order. Hospital Chiriqui smells clean, the floors appear to have been mopped with a disinfectant but the exam rooms look shoddy and grimy. The girl in the lab who took my blood the second time, had dirt under her fingernails and I assume hadn’t bathed that morning. The Regional Hospital was extremely filthy. In the ward I was housed, there was blood on the floor, insects running willy-nilly across the ceiling and of course the gurney where I was bunked hadn’t seen soap and water since its manufacture – sometime during WWII. When you think you’re dying, none of this makes a whit of difference. However, in retrospect, it gives me the shudders. EQUIPMENT AND PROCEDURES: How can any reasonably intelligent doctor make a decision based on erratic procedures and outdated equipment. Every instrument needs to be calibrated on a regular basis. I’m just guessing here, but if those three EKG machines used on me were set side by side and hooked to the same patient, all three would give different results; same with the BP apparatuses and the lab equipment. Where am I going with this litany of complaints? I’m not sure other than to expose what I witnessed and experienced and hope you are forewarned to this backward health system for the average and less privileged. Bob
I suffered what I suspected was a heart attack (severe chest pains) the other day and had a friend take me to Hospital Chiriqui. I filled out the forms, a nurse took my blood pressure 160/80, and then doctor on staff at the emergency room looked at the chart and ordered me to have a chest X-ray. Thirty minutes later I’m ushered into his office and informed I still have residual phlegm in my lungs from when I smoked 3 years ago. He wrote a couple of prescriptions, one for anti-inflammatory and another for cough syrup. This dipstick hadn’t even placed a stethoscope on my chest) DOCTOR #1. A day later at 5AM, I drove myself to the same hospital. Again I had severe chest pains. A young Panamanian woman doctor was on call. (DOCTOR # 2) After using the stethoscope and reviewing my blood pressure (160/100) she promptly gave me an EKG. Then she sent me to the lab for some blood tests. (the one person on staff was very professional) I returned to the doctor an hour later and she reviewed the results. They were normal. I hadn’t had an INFARTO (heart attack). However she was worried about what she saw on the EKG print-out and asked me to come back at 1pm to review the results with the Cardiologist. At 1:00 PM. I arrived at the hospital with my friend, Sue. She is a retired nurse from BC. She knew what questions to ask. The Cardiologist’s office was just down the hall from the emergency room. He wasn’t there and we were told by the rudest receptionist to come back at 3:30pm. By 4:00 we were in front of the Doctor. (DOCTOR# 3) He looked at the file; cardiogram and laboratory results. He pulled out a worksheet and checked off every lab test known to man. Then he wrote a couple of prescriptions; one for Plavix and the other for Exforge. He added one for a sleeping pill. He wanted to run another EKG and a stress test the next morning at 10. My friend Smoot agreed to drive me to the hospital in the AM for the Lab work. There were three young women in the lab. I watched them carefully. None were focused on their jobs…I have a no confidence in the results of their test results because they were playing grab ass, texting, and really being unprofessional. One hundred fifty bucks later, I get my results…4 pages of hieroglyphics. I might add…not once during these tests did they check my blood pressure. Now, I’m in the cardiologist’s waiting room. His nasty receptionist hollers out. “How are you going to pay $290 for the tests?” I argued that I’d never agreed to those prices. Finally Smoot and I were ushered into the inner sanctum. My BP was really high 180/110. I asked the doctor “Explain to me why at the other end of this hall an EKG is $23. And in here it’s $145?” (wrong thing to do…like cursing at a cook before he prepares your food) Well, he gave me the EKG for the price of an office call ($40) than wrote a set of instructions on a prescription pad and told me to go to the regional hospital. I didn’t realize how bad I’d pissed him off until I was admitted to the welfare hospital. The hallways were filled with patients on gurneys, all lab work is done in the hallway. A scrap of paper is taped on the wall above your head and the occasional nurse make notes on it from time to time. I was in the hallway for seven hours waiting for a bed. During that time my BP was checked once and they stabbed some kind of needle with a cap into my hand. (A dead person in a body bag on a gurney was sitting in the hall in front of me during this procedure). I was finally ushered through a ward with at least sixty sick or injured people on gurneys, to a cell like room with four others…it said observation above the door. I spent six hours on a hard cot with no pillow, nothing to drink and I saw my assigned doctor once…when they told me I could leave. (Doctor # 4) Yesterday, I met with a doctor of my choice. (Doctor# 5) I showed her my test results including my EKG’s. I asked her what she would do…she indicated the Plavix and the Exforge was a good call. The half a sleeping pill was good, too. She took my BP, it was 130/90. The best since this whole thing started. She gave me her private cell number and told me to call her anytime and she would make a house call, too. I’m confident I’m in good hands and now I can mend. Bob
A few years back, when my novel, PARTNERS, was being published, I was fortunate to have Bill Moomey in my corner. He allowed me to use several photos of his Western Art Paintings. These were beautiful pieces, the full size canvases were the size of plywood. They were used as the cover of PARTNERS as well as several interior illustrations. The details, captured on a large format camera, were even evident when the photos were rendered down to book cover size and later to the small digital images you see on the Kindle and Pubit sites. I’m proud to have him in my corner. Without his assistance, half of my books would be naked.