My Passage to India

By
Text Link
,
This is some text inside of a div block.
of
This is some text inside of a div block.

On the way to a job as a Home Inspector, I detoured to the hospital emergency room.  Having had several kidney stones in the past, this pain felt higher and more on the side, unlike anything I had experienced before. They did a CT scan and found a kidney stone in the urethra and an abdominal aortic aneurysm of 5.4 cm. The pain from the kidney stone let up so they gave me some pain pills, thinking I would pass the stone and sent me on my way, recommending I visit a vascular surgeon.

Three days later I ended up in the emergency where they used a scope and a basket to go in and retrieve the stone.  I received a bill from the hospital a few days later and then seven more bills from doctors and labs.  The total added up to approximately $23,000.00.

On the way to a job as a Home Inspector, I detoured to the hospital emergency room.  Having had several kidney stones in the past, this pain felt higher and more on the side, unlike anything I had experienced before. They did a CT scan and found a kidney stone in the urethra and an abdominal aortic aneurysm of 5.4 cm. The pain from the kidney stone let up so they gave me some pain pills, thinking I would pass the stone and sent me on my way, recommending I visit a vascular surgeon.

Three days later I ended up in the emergency where they used a scope and a basket to go in and retrieve the stone.  I received a bill from the hospital a few days later and then seven more bills from doctors and labs.  The total added up to approximately $23,000.00.

No Insurance. Took the credit cards to their maximum limits.

I went to the vascular surgeon who told me the aneurysm was a bulge in the approximately 1/2 inch diameter aorta, to about 2 inches.  If this bursts I would have about three minutes left to live. He recommended I have an open repair with a gortex graft and asked me to get approval by my cardiac surgeon before the aneurysm surgery.

My cardiac surgeon said, “hold up here,” the ultrasound and nuclear stress tests we have done show some indications of blockage and you have a low ejection fraction.  We need to do a heart catheterization to determine how much blockage there is. When we have determined that, we want to go right ahead and do the stents or bypasses that need to be done.

So I contacted three hospitals to try to get quotes for all three of these procedures. As difficult as it was getting answers from the hospitals I did finally get a guesstimate from one.  Adding doctors’ fees and testing, the bill could be close to $450,000.00.  The hospital would help with payment if it was an emergency like the aneurysm burst, but then with only a few minutes to live, that didn’t seem like much help.

I saw a program on television where they were talking about medical tourism. I’m thinking, nose jobs, in Mexico with 10 days of lying around on the beach in the sun.  Well they do more than that. I contacted a company called Healthbase.  They are a medical tourism provider.  They offered medical treatment in many countries – Mexico, Thailand, Singapore, India, Turkey, Belgium, Costa Rica and Panama. I chose India and started to investigate.

For heart and vascular problems, there were several hospitals to choose from on the Healthbase website.  I was impressed with Apollo hospital in Delhi as it was JCI certified.  I found a doctor, Dr. Naresh Trehan who was trained at NYU where he was a successful surgeon and returned to India to establish a hospital.

From Healthbase I received quotes for the three procedures including doctors’ fees, lab work and tests, the costs in India amounting to less than 10% of my local hospital in the US.

Working with the Healthbase team, I was able to expedite passports and visas for my son and myself.  We booked flights to India coming home 21 days after arrival, allowing for recovery time from all of the procedures.

From Delhi airport we took a ride to the hospital in an air-conditioned “limo”.  The hospital entrance was quite impressive. Our deluxe private room was large enough for an extra sofa that converted into a bed for a companion.  I was assigned a liaison for anything that needed to be done. After settling in, the next day we did a battery of tests – blood work, lung function, ultrasounds and more.

The second day I went for the heart catheterization, a procedure done while I was awake. Got the first good news in weeks.  My arteries showed very little blockage, ten, twenty, one might just be 30% blocked.  This is very good.  No bypass surgery, no stents.

The third day I went in for the Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Repair.  Nothing, nothing and then, slowly, I came to be aware that because I was hearing and feeling things that I was still alive. Oh Ya!  I love being in ICU.

I was moved to ICU2 which is a step-down unit.  The doctors and nurses were all excellent. The care I received was absolutely marvelous. The doctors explained what they were doing and how I would be feeling.  Almost everyone had a working knowledge of English.

The doctors visited me regularly; so many that I cannot recall them all. The nurses took wonderful care of me and were very hard working, dedicated, capable, careful, practical, cheerful and caring professionals.  All of the nurses answer to “sister”.

Slowly I was able to get out of bed and walk and started to eat some real food. After six days in ICU I made it back to a regular hospital room.  However, I was glad to get to the hotel to start feeling normal again. I made one more visit to the hospital a couple of days later for a final exam before they would release me to travel.  I received instructions for aftercare, picked up medications and got a support belt that helped keep my stomach together.

I had the staples removed (53 of them) and have had a follow up visit with my cardiologist. It is now eight weeks since the surgery and they don’t want me to lift anything, especially a ladder, for 90 days. I have about 30 days left.

The people I met, the hospital staff, the people at Healthbase were all very helpful and I am grateful for their assistance.

Yes, if a need arose I would go back for medical treatment. I hope to return someday for sightseeing.