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Time in the ER, hospital waiting rooms

Despite what many thought when I was The McLeod County Chronicle editor, I do have a heart.
I proved it recently after a trip to the local emergency room that included a variety of heart tests. It included a video of my heart and, yes, it was beating.
Nagging pain between my shoulder blades rolled around to my chest recently, and even I (as a male) paid attention. It was not something I had experienced before, so I shocked my wife by suggesting we go to the hospital. It may be a heart attack.
In the end, the doctors reported my heart is fine, according to all tests. That’s what I wanted to hear.
That said, I have been in more ERs, hospital waiting rooms and patient rooms in recent weeks than I care to count. Besides my trip to the ER, I have been dealing with my daughter’s medical emergencies as well.
My daughter, who lives in Ranier, a short jog east of International Falls, was bitten by her own cat. She was literally trying to break up a “cat fight.” She lost.
One of her felines bit her on the ankle and top of her foot. She tried to treat it herself, but several days later it got worse, and more infected. Treatment with antibiotics at the Falls ER helped, but the area around the deep bites got worse.
I happened to be in the Falls on another matter in early March when I found out she had a doctor’s appointment. I decided to wander over to the clinic to lend moral support.
Before I knew it, she was headed for surgery. The infection had spread.
Instead of a consultation, my daughter went under the knife and spent four days in the hospital.
I was already back in Glencoe when I got a call that she needed to go to Duluth for more surgery… and now.
Her mother, my ex-wife, asked me to pick my daughter up and drive her to Duluth because the car they owned was in such poor condition it might not survive the drive.
So, from 350 miles away, I drove to the Falls, and the next morning, very early, drove to Duluth to make a 9:45 a.m. appointment at St. Luke’s Hospital. That’s another 150 miles.
That was March 20 and my daughter expected it would be same-day surgery. She is still in Duluth after undergoing two more surgeries and now rehabilitation.
All over a blankety-blank cat! Are you kidding me?
The Duluth surgeon calmly explained that cat bites are some of the worst to treat. While a dog will bite and tear, a cat’s fangs penetrate the skin like needles, infecting tissue deep inside.
Because of the location of the bite, the surgery to clean out the infection was near her shin, where there is little skin to work with. Therefore, the third surgery was needed to place a mesh graft over the shin area to help regrow enough skin for the plastic surgeon to suture the incision together. The grafting takes time, thus the extended stay in Duluth.
The kicker, the surgeon said, is if the infection is not controlled, my daughter could lose her foot.
And the cat? Like all cat lovers, my daughter included, they declare, “It’s not the cat’s fault.”
As a non-cat lover I asked: “And the cat’s still alive!”
Rich Glennie was the editor of The Chronicle for 23 years. He retired Aug. 1, 2014, but still plans to submit an occasional column.