Armed With Meds and a Plan to Combat Health Issues

Published by Daleen Berry on

The roller-coaster ride is probably not over but one week later, we’re home. My husband’s glucose levels are far lower than they were even a few days ago, and we are well armed: with a plan to reverse his diabetes and heart disease. (I thought a daily journal would show our progress and keep score at the same time: Butch 1, chronic disease 0, etc. Turns out, I found an app for that very thing.)

Here’s the gist of our seven days at Hotel Ruby: a minor stroke led to the discovery of blocked carotids, so docs said Butch needed surgery. Past heart surgeries made the need for a chemical stress test prudent, but those results were abnormal. This effectively made surgery a no-go. Not so the stent, however. But too many “cooks in the kitchen” mangled that message. Add to that the hospital administrators who became involved once the docs realized we didn’t have insurance. We were told he was being discharged and that yes, money was a factor. Talk about stress. I was already staying at the hospital 24/7, but still felt like admitting myself as a patient.

By Saturday, I knew Dr. Claudette Brooks and Dr. Frank Bittner (with the neurology department) were ready to pull out their hair. Because I sure was. And yet, after spending one hour with us sorting it all out, we finally learned the problem: some of the dozens of medical interns, residents and docs who paraded through Butch’s hospital room told the attending docs that we insisted on medical intervention. We said yes, we did, but only after some of those same people told us he would die without it.

The meeting Dr. Brooks offered us occurred Sunday; she and Dr. Vince Miele (both attending physicians —not medical residents) were present. They spent the better part of another hour with us. By then, we heard Dr. Miele’s loud and clear message: Butch probably would not survive the carotid endarterectomy Dr. Miele had recommended, before learning Butch’s heart couldn’t withstand it. However, if Butch’s condition was life-threatening, Dr. Miele would have already done it. I’m guessing we were minutes away from scheduling another meeting with hospital administrators over having the stent—and making arrangements to pay for the $15K procedure—when Butch spoke up. “If I have a stent, then something goes wrong, can I have the surgery then?” he asked.

And in less than a minute, everything was resolved. That’s because both doctors, Brooks and Miele, said the same thing: once you have a stent, surgery is out of the question. It simply can’t be done. So Butch opted for medical management at home, which involves new and different drugs. He also wants to begin the Dean Ornish diet. It’s proven to reverse both diabetes and heart disease, so it’s probably the best alternative he has. I’m betting if he sticks to it, not only will he have no reason to return to the hospital for either procedure, but he’ll lose weight and feel much better, too.

Of course, sticking to any diet is the hard part. If he doesn’t do that, then hopefully by the next time Butch requires hospitalization, we should have insurance. The application’s under review and as far as we know now, it’s a done deal. All for the low, low price of $400 a month. Which is just a little more than we paid for Butch’s new prescriptions we picked up yesterday before coming home.

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Daleen can be reached at daleen.berry@gmail.com.

Editor’s note: Berry is the first recipient of the Pearl Buck Award in Writing for Social Change, for her second book, Lethal Silence, to be published sometime in 2012. Berry speaks about overcoming abuse through awareness, empowerment and goal attainment at conferences around the country.

Her memoir (paperback and as an e-book) can be found at bookstores everywhere, or ordered online. To read the first chapter free, please go to Goodreads. Check out the five-star review from ForeWord Reviews. Or find out why Kirkus Reviews called Berry “an engaging writer, her style fluid and easy to read, with welcome touches of humor and sustained tension throughout.” To read her award-winning memoir, Sister of Silence, in e-book format (or any other e-book), download a free app from Amazon for your phone, tablet or computer.

Her memoir (paperback and as an e-book) can be found at bookstores everywhere, or ordered online. To read the first chapter free, please go to Goodreads. Check out the five-star review from ForeWord Reviews. Or find out why Kirkus Reviews called Berry “an engaging writer, her style fluid and easy to read, with welcome touches of humor and sustained tension throughout.” To read her award-winning memoir, Sister of Silence, in e-book format (or any other e-book), download a free app from Amazon for your phone, tablet or computer.

If you want to read more than 100 reviews, go to free app from Amazon for your phone, tablet or computer.

To view the Sister of Silence book trailer, go to her VintageBerryWine Youtube channel.

Categories: West Virginia

Daleen Berry

Daleen Berry (1963- ) is a New York Times best-selling author and TEDx speaker who was born in sunny San Jose, California, but who grew up climbing trees and mountains in rural West Virginia. When she isn't writing, she's reading. Daleen is also an award-winning journalist and columnist, and has written for such publications as The Daily Beast, Huffington Post, and XOJane. Daleen has written or co-written eight nonfiction books, including her memoir, "Sister of Silence," "The Savage Murder of Skylar Neese," "Pretty Little Killers," "Cheatin' Ain't Easy," "Tales of the Vintage Berry Wine Gang," "Shatter the Silence," and "Appalachian Murders & Mysteries," an anthology. In 2015, West Virginia University placed "Sister of Silence" and "Guilt by Matrimony" on its Appalachian Literature list. You can follow her blog here: https://www.daleenberry.com. Or find her on Facebook and Twitter, as well as email her at daleen(dot)berry(at)gmail(dot)com. She loves to hear from readers.

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