Monday, August 21, 2006

Modern Miracles

My Father had his kidney removed last week due to a cancerous tumor. Thank you to everyone who expressed their good wishes to me. He is back home from the hospital and should experience a full recovery.

Two weeks ago he had bronchitis and went to the doctor for a routine chest X-ray. The results showed some dark spots on his lungs, which my Dad said always appear on his chest X-rays due to some childhood scarring. Nevertheless, the doctor wanted to be careful and ordered an MRI. Fortunately, the MRI technician scanned a little bit lower than normal, and while the chest was clear, they noticed a lump at the very bottom of the scan. This led the doctor to refer my Dad to a urologist, who ordered an MRI in the abdomen region, which revealed a fist-sized tumor that had been growing on one of his kidneys for years. After getting a second opinion, the doctors decided to remove the kidney as soon as possible, thus surgery was scheduled for this past week.

I often hear that one of the reasons health care is so expensive is that doctors order "unnecesary medical tests" in order to cover themselves against medical malpractice lawsuits. While that may be the case sometimes, thank God that those tests were ordered this time. Normally, you don't discover kidney cancer until you find blood in your urine, by which time the cancer has spread throughout your blood vessels. For my Dad, they were almost able to save half of the kidney, but ended up removing all of it and found no other evidence of the cancer spreading. They left the major blood vessels intact and he's up and walking today (5 days later).

Modern miracles:
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) - It's expensive, but cheaper than death and allows doctors to see inside without cutting people open.
  • Specialization - the family practicioner, MRI technician, urologist, and surgeon worked together as a team and they saved my Dad's life.
  • Internet - I'm working from my Dad's house this week, and no one will notice a difference in my output. I can help him between naps, eat dinner with him, and mow his grass this weekend - without losing any work time. Without the Internet, I would have had to cut my trip short, leave customers and co-workers in a lurch, or use up my vacation for the year.

By the way, this reminded me that you can't replace the family and friends who you grew up with. If some of yours are getting older, please call or visit them today.

1 comment:

marchisi said...

It is amazing what we can do with these miraculous tools. I had an MRI done of my back/neck after a particularly rough Tradeshow CES in Las Vegas. I slipped a couple discs in my neck picking up heavy crates and could see the intricate workings of my spine.I still have the film to remind me to take care when using my back. Hopefully the meeting needs discussed here will continue to help make meeting planners lives easier and easier.