Hospitalized in New Jersey

By: Modesto P. Sa-onoy

HEAT, HECTIC schedules, lots of walking and talking and lack of sleep all combined to send me twice to the New Jersey Medical Center for high blood pressure. As a result, I failed to visit the Intrepid, the aircraft carrier in New York, and the US Military Academy in West Point, New York. I had to cut off time in Washington, D. C. Anyway, I had already visited the West Point museum but there are things there that could be exhibited in our planned War and Peace Museum in Patag.

The heat in New York was scorching and we had to walk a lot. Meetings would last till after midnight and I was unable to take my usual siesta to recover lost sleeping time. My schedule was punishing, compounded by the hurried need to secure archival materials as much as time permitted.

In the afternoon of July 3, when my blood pressure shot up to 220 over 125, they had to bring me to the New Jersey Medical Center. There I experienced the best kind of medical care. I underwent a series of thorough testing. A gadget was attached to my arm where it automatically took my blood pressure every 15 minutes. I had several blood tests and x-rays where the machine was brought to my bedside; it took less than two minutes. They conducted EKG tests several times and I underwent a CT scan and an MRI. It was as thorough as I could think. They gave me three kinds of tablets and injected me with water because I was “dehydrated”. In between, I fell asleep.

I needed to go back to our apartment because I had friends and relatives going there on July 4 for a birthday party lest the celebrant would not be there. Sympathetic, the doctors promised to give me priority in the other tests so I could be released for lunch. The hospital cardiologists came over and said I have a strong heart and that nothing was wrong except for the dehydration.

After our return from Washington, D. C., I was back at the New Jersey Medical Center, again for high blood pressure due to more hectic work and heat there. The attendant of 911 first examined me and said I must be brought to the hospital. The attending physician at the hospital smiled at me and said, “You’re back! You probably like it here!” The other medical attendants, nurses and doctors said the same thing.

Again, I underwent a series of tests, except the CT scan and the MRI but the doctor gave me one more kind of medicine and was released just on time for me to take our evening flight to Manila. Again, the diagnosis – need to rest.

Somehow, I am glad that my pressure was up where the best of medical care and modern facilities are. We had a great view from the 5th floor looking at the back of the Statue of Liberty. The room was like a hotel. Early morning an attendant entered with her cart with a computer. Every attendant pushed or dragged a computer on wheels. She asked, what do I like for breakfast and I said, whatever she had. She enumerated choices of bread, turkey, tuna, fruits, drinks, etc. How about lunch and dinner – what would I like? The menu list had the calorie for each item.

Coffee was always available at the nurses’ station, a choice of regular or decaf and sandwiches of turkey or tuna – all for free, unlimited and any time. Milk was not in small plastic cups but half a liter – no charge.

We were given floor hugging socks so we would not slip. We did not need slippers because the hospital assured the cleanliness of the floors, etc. My wife, Verns who was with me, was provided with a good divan and blankets to sleep and since the meals were rather large, they were more than enough for both of us.

They never said anything about payment or questioned my travel health insurance. I know that the test alone would have cost me a lot of money. In fact, they asked me to sign an authority that in case the insurance company reneged, I am appointing them as my representative.

Above all these are the efficiency and solicitousness of the doctors and staff. They made us comfortable.