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Hartselle Enquirer

Down but not out

My medical history took a turn for the worst in April when I learned from a vascular surgeon that I needed surgery to repair an aneurysm in my stomach.  

Previously, my surgical experiences were limited to hip replacement, eyes and prostate gland.  

I learned of the aneurysm through my family physician three years ago. He spotted the problem while reviewing a CT scan, which was made on another doctor’s order for a different medical problem. A follow-up appointment was made with Valley Vascular Consultants, which was followed by annual exams for the past three years.  

My concern about the problem was the absence of factors that it existed and was growing. The aneurysm was measured at 4.6 cm when first diagnosed and had grown to 5.3 cm before surgery. 

My first stop on the path to surgery was a one-hour visit to Huntsville Medical Mall, where basic medical exams were performed to clear me for surgery. A four-page medical history was included in the process. 

The threat of the coronavirus pandemic was evident throughout the Huntsville Hospital campus. Visitors were met at every entrance and had their temperatures checked and hands washed, and they were questioned about having contact with individuals who tested positive for the coronavirus. The hospital staff was equipped with face masks and personal protection clothing.  

The hospital’s policy with respect to visitation was something that caught Geanell and me off guard initially. Surgical patients were instructed to be dropped off at the front entrance and were not allowed to see visitors during their hospital stay. Geanell and our daughter, Pam Gray, dropped me off at 5:30 a.m. May 5 and picked me up at the same spot at noon May 6. 

Geanell received updates from the surgeon following surgery and the nursing staff in ICU afterwards.  

I’m making progress daily and looking forward to the time when the doctor will release me for driving and working in my garden. 

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