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Morongo Basin, Ca.- This is my personal testimony to the professionalism of the Hi-Desert Medical Center Hospital Emergency Room staff, doctors and nurses. In 2000, I was given a cardiac clean bill of health after a complete workup at the Mayo Clinic in Arizona. Two months later I developed an irregular heart while visiting family on Thanksgiving Day. I was given an injection to convert my arrhythmia to normal sinus rhythm and it worked! Further tests confirmed I was okay…just a fluke….family stress? Too many expressos? Since that episode, I would experience a random irregular heartbeat once a year unable to identify the trigger. To convert my heart rate back to normal, I would hold my breath, wrap my arms around my upper body with a firm squeeze and then slowly exhale. My pulse rate would convert back to normal within 10 minutes or sooner.
Back in September 2004, in my fourth year living in the Morongo Basin I was experiencing my annual irregular heart beat. I was in Big Bear that day at an elevation of 7,000 feet again slugging back 2 or 3 espressos and convinced myself it was altitude sickness. Besides, six months had passed since my last EKG and Echo cardiogram clearance so I remained calm and did not panic.
After returning to Yucca Valley, I was not able to convert my pulse rate to normal using my breathing and squeeze technique. I broke ALL cardiac rules and went into the bedroom to take a nap after preparing dinner for my husband. Readers, do not ever do what I did because countless thousands of people never wake up. Apparently, “dying peacefully in my sleep” was not part of my dance card and the pounding of my heart woke me up. I was diaphoretic, wet and clammy accompanied with shortness of breath and an irregular heartbeat. I stumbled into the living room and asked my husband to drive me to the emergency room. (Another cardiac rule broken by not dialing 9-1-1 )
When I was wheeled up to the admission window my skin tone had turned white, I was wet, clammy and started retching. Okay, now I was really concerned. The hospital admissions staff ran around the desk and wheeled me to the ER room through the lobby yelling out “Cardiac!” Within moments I was hooked up to a heart monitor and an IV was started in my left arm. There were two injections trying to convert my heart beat back to normal which did not work. Blood test results indicated I was now kicking out cardiac enzymes and in full blown cardiac arrest. The doctor leaned over close to my ear to tell me he was going to sedate me and use the paddles to convert my heart…that was the last thing I remembered.
I am here today to write about this because of the quick action of the Hi-Desert Hospital medical staff, the admissions clerk, the nurses and the Emergency Room doctor to save my life. I was diagnosed with walking pneumonia which complicated the situation. After my treatment for the pneumonia, I was transferred to Eisenhower Hospital for another complete cardiac workup to include an angiogram. My test results indicated I had no obstructions and my arteries were clean as a whistle…another cardiac clearance.
As a past hospice volunteer at Hi-Desert Medical Center, I can also vouch for the caring nurses and staff at the hospital and Continuing Care located near the hospital. I was present at all hours of the night and day to observe the nurses stations, the cleanliness of both facilities, positive attitudes of the aides and genuine concern for the patients.
CEO Lionel Chad Chadwick left the hospital citing “irreconcilable differences” and long term Trustee Director Paul Hoffman quit his position after 12 years on the Board. While both gentlemen have taken the high road and are not speaking about the true reason for their exits, I have heard from the Staff and employees…”off the record.” All I can say at this point is one elected Board member set out to “get even” for the turmoil she caused while employed as a nurse at that facility. Last year, as Board President, she was seen marching the corridors with her clip board wielding her new power and critique not authorized by the Board. Thank goodness she is no longer the President, she has done enough damage to the hospital and morale of the staff!
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