Do you think that if I raced to get dressed and drive to the hospital and be there by 5:45, that they would let me take him home?
No, I know I can’t, instead I’ll wait for the sun to rise, for the coffee to perk, for my suitcase to be packed, for the shower to take, for the good morning call to come from him and for this Slice to be written.
I’ve been riding a roller coaster for the last two weeks with Tuvia that began on a very slow Sunday ride home from my pre-birthday lunch in Ellenville with family. Just as we began to move onto the NYS Thruway Tuvia let me know that he wasn’t feeling well and he wasn’t sure why and just as I made it into the middle lane of the highway Tuvia began to pass out and of course, I started to quietly FREAK OUT!
But I was able to grab up my handy iPhone to tap in 911 for help and I did get an immediate response . As I was being switched to the state police Tuvia came back to life and assured us that he was okay. So we continued home but he soon realized that this was something serious and we stopped home just to pack bags and head for Englewood’s emergency room.
And so we begin this episode: He was admitted into the hospital and from Dean 6 room #624 he took tests, x rays, the usual. His internal bleeding stopped and he was sent home to get better and it seemed like he was. We started an abbreviated return to normalcy and everything seemed to be good until it wasn’t and the bleeding returned and Tuvia grew weak and one very long night I sat up with Tuvia’s son Ami, and listened to Tuvia breathe. The next morning he was sure he was on the way out and there was no hope, no hope that his doctors would be able find the source of his bleeding and operate to stop the leak. But there was no way that we would let him give up so easily and of course he didn’t want to either and with a bit of conversation, he was riding back to Englewood in an ambulance to continue to take on this problem.
I was sure that Tuvia was wrong and that he could be fixed up. After all, doctors have all the tools they need to cure problems with the human body, right? Yes, there’s lots of great advancements in medicine, but it still takes careful, thoughtful problem-solving and hope and faith that operations will work. From the emergency room Tuvia was now moved to ICU and the tests were repeated by Dr. Spinel. In the middle of this set of tests he met with us and explained with great passion and confidence what he was doing and where he believed the source of the bleeding to be. Ami and I bought into his confident enthusiasm and with one last report back from a capsule he inserted in Tuvia’s colon and by the next morning we were moving into operation mode.
Englewood, being Tuvia’s hospital of 40 years, the doctors working on his case were hand picked by him. Tuvia’s surgeon, Dr, ibrahim(Abe) Ibrahim, well respected and well known by Tuvia and his doctor friend Fred, was their first choice to remove the right side and transverse of his colon and it would happen quickly. Tuvia was weak but confident that this could solve the problem. When we first met with Dr. Ibraham he was hopeful, optimistic but hesitant to say 100% that this was the source of the bleeding. Maybe it wasn’t. I wanted him to say he was sure but I respected his honesty.
The operation took three hours and along with Tuvia’s two sons, his friend Fred and wife Sheila we sat and waited I couldn’t chat. Instead I played the new Plants and Zombies 2 on my iPad. and when Dr Abe came out to tell us the operation was over and went well, at that moment I fell apart but we left that night feeling almost good and then the next morning…
Tuvia, unused to being a patient, was inexperienced in the process of healing after surgery and was sure that he was still bleeding and that the operation was not a success. We sat at his bedside as he explained where we could find his will. I wondered though if it was true that Tuvia was on his way out why was the staff moving around casually just outside his room. Two realities. I called his buddy Fred, talked to the nurses and floor doctors and waited impatiently for Dr Ibrahim to arrive on a Saturday morning. Nothing happens quickly in a hospital and on a Saturday, everyone seemed to move in slow motion.
And here’s where my favorite part of the story begins but I have to stop now to go pick up Tuvia.
Back at 7:45 PM
Dr. Ibrahim gets my award for best doctor of Tuvia Rosenberg, for not just doing a great job in the operating room, but for communicating well with Tuvia and us when he needed to sit down in Tuvia’s dark hospital room and assure him that he wasn’t dying.
After my very short two week medical education in the moment, I can’t say that I liked most of the doctors who came in and out. All were respectful of Tuvia but few could make good eye contact with we civilians. The nurses fared better but only one doctor seemed totally dedicated to us. Tuvia explained that Dr. Abe was old school, not in a group, like had been during his career and both of them were 7-day-a-week doctors. I’m sure he’s one of the only ones left.
Tuvia is home and resting, respecting his body and hopeful that we will be able to reschedule the beach vacation we were scheduled to leave for on Labor Day. It’s good to have him back home, interested in our future.
Another bullet, dodged.