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Saturday, August 7, 2010

Surgical strike IV: The unsung hero

Before I get into the surgery I had this Monday, Aug. 2, 2010, I have to talk about an unsung hero through every one of my surgeries at Florida Hospital.

Dr. Adriana Otto
(Photo: Florida Hospital website)
Dr. Adriana Otto has been with me before and after each of the four operations I have had. At first I didn't quite realize her role in my care, but I soon came to see what a vital part of my care team she has been.

And each time she sees me as I'm prepped for an operation -- hopefully Monday's was the last time we'll meet like that -- she really helps remind me of how lucky I am to have had such a wonderful group of doctors and nurses work toward saving my life. She also reminds me of what a blessing this added time is and has been.

Now, back to the surgery at hand -- or, rather, at abdomen.

Dr. Joseph Boyer, the major-league Yankees fan and amazing thoracic surgeon, needed to go into my abdomen and rip out the mesh holding my abs and other tissue together because either it had become infected or just wasn't sitting right with my body. He removed the mesh and stitched up the insides of my body by hand with actual stitches rather than using staples. He also sewed up my skin rather than using staples. I was released from Florida Hospital's cardiac step-down unit on Wednesday afternoon.

Dr. Otto was there the moment I arrived and throughout my time at the hospital. She checked up on me, gave me encouraging words and made sure I was fine before leaving.

As a hospitalist, the so-called specialty of tending to patients in hospitals, that was her job, of course. But she went beyond that. She explained how serious the threat to my life was in 2007 and how I survived for a reason. I guess I just have to figure out what that reason is and make sure it was worthwhile for all involved. I think I've been doing that, in part through this blog and in other ways.

As I told Dr. Otto on Wednesday, I hope I don't see her under the same circumstances anymore, but I do hope we bump into one another again. That's because she truly has been an important part of my new found life.

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