that myself. Also, neither hospital provided water with meals, only tea. Patients
were responsible for providing their own
water and snacks. My Livada team must
have known this because they brought
me bottled water the first day. When my
bottled water ran out I would go to the
sink and refill the bottles. It was amazing
how much better I felt when hydrated.
I had a team of three physicians that
would check on me according to their
shifts—two young men and one gentleman near retirement age (which, in Romania, is 65 and mandatory). The younger
gentlemen spoke relatively good English,
but the elder physician spoke very little.
Although, he was friendly. He always entered my room with a happy expression
on his face and said, “Hello, mister!” It
wasn’t until my ninth day in the hospital
that he asked me what my name was.
Once, a nurse brought me a tiny yellow pill. When I asked what the pill was
for she said “I’m sorry. I don’t understand you” and turned and walked out
of the room. She wasn’t being rude, but
like most of the nurses, was embarrassed
that she did not speak much English.
Another time, a nurse brought me a
10cc syringe full of some clear medication and injected about 2 ccs into my IV
and left. I thought that was very peculiar
and wondered what she did with the rest
of the medication. Due to the communication challenges, I rarely knew what
medication I was being given.
The diagnostic imaging equipment at
the government facility was very old and
looked like a nuclear medicine camera. I
had to lie supine on a plexiglass table to
get a chest x-ray. I was also instructed to
take a deep breath for all of my x-rays.
Neither technique was appropriate for a
pneumothorax. The chest x-rays taken
at the government hospital were printed
on 10" × 12" film ( 24 cm × 30 cm). The
chest x-rays taken at the private facility
were printed on standard 14" × 17" film
( 35 cm × 43 cm). Not one of the x-rays
taken at either facility would have passed
QC in my hospital. Several of the x-rays
were too light and every one of them cut
off portions of the affected lung. I talked
my doctors into performing a chest CT.
The CT scanner was a 16-slice and I
asked them to burn a CD of my images
to take back with me. The images on the
CD contained two scout images and two
axial series, one in a lung window and the
other in a soft tissue window (no bone
window images). The Romanian radiol-
ogist dictated two broken ribs, the lung
fully expanded, and no pneumothorax.
My radiologist at home dictated seven
broken ribs and a slight pneumothorax.
The private hospital did not provide
imaging services in the same building as
the hospital. Twice, I was taken by ambulance to an imaging center a block away.
Once, I was taken by wheelchair to an
imaging center across a courtyard (and
was wheeled outside through the rain).
Twice, I walked to the imaging center
that was a block away, once while carrying my chest tube bottle. I had to cross
four intersections to get there.
I don’t have the space to tell you
about the reasons behind my hospital
stay being extended from five days to ten,
or the hospital acquired subcutaneous
emphysema, or losing the cap to my IV
and bleeding all over the floor, or knocking over my chest tube bottle, or hiding
my pain meds in my box of cookies, or
the amazing support provided by my
hospital back home.
After leaving the hospital, I had to stay
in Romania another two weeks to allow
my lung to heal enough for the flight
home. I returned to the Livada guest
house and to the mission work. In all, my
original ten day trip to Romania turned
into 30 days. It may sound strange, but
because of the relationships I was able to
develop and the experiences I had due
to the injury and subsequent recovery,
I would not have changed a thing. I went
to Romania to be a blessing to those in
need and I returned feeling blessed beyond
Kelly Murphy holds a master’s degree in radiologic
science administration from Midwestern State
University. He has been working in radiology for over
23 years and is currently the director of imaging services
at Centennial Medical Center in Frisco, Texas. He may
be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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