Friday, September 29, 2006


VOODOO? My horrific experience at the Memphis VA hospital

Well, I will attempt to record my horrific experience at the Memphis VA hospital. It feels so wonderful being home in my own bed. I slept good for the first time since my surgery on Monday.

First of all, the doctors were excellent and very professional, competent physicians and I got as good a treatment as I would have gotten in any hospital, if not better. The ICU unit was also very good and attentive to my pain and needs. I sincerely thank them for their professionalism.

Then, I was transferred to a regular floor. From there, the caring and fine service went south very fast. Gail was very tired and went home to rest awhile and feed our cat and was coming back later on to spend the night again. I was sure I would be fine staying alone for a few hours? WRONG!!!

It started when they delivered my noon meal. I was very hungry and hadn't eaten any solid foods for a couple of days and was looking forward to eating a good meal. The person came in my door and sit the tray down on the table and left the room. However the table was located in the corner of the room far beyond my reach. I was unable to get upbecause of having my catheter and being drowsy from my pain medicine.

So, I hit the nurse button on my bedside and when the voice came on saying, "May I help you?" (ebonic pronunciation). I told her of my predicament, when she said, "OK" or "OTEY".

I waited for about 10 minutes, no one came so I pushed the nurse button again, "May I help you?" (ebonic pronunciation). I said, would you please send someone down here to roll my table to me so I can eat?" Again, she says, "OK" or "OTEY". I waited for another 10 minutes and finally, someone comes in. I asked her, "Do yall expect me to get up out of my bed and get that table by myself?" She says, "YES, if you feel like it" (I thought that was a stupid reply) and the way she treated me was very unprofessional and was with a reverse racial discrimination attitude.

So after she left the room, I attempted to eat and it was so cold that I just picked over my food and didn't eat much. I looked for side dishes of deserts and there were none. I remembered from being in ICU that there were good side dishes like jello, ice cream, fruit cocktail, etc. I didn't think much of it until after getting about 4 meals with still no side dishes. I requested Ice cream and juice but the reply was always, "We have none of that". In my opinion, I think they rob the trays and hoard the ice cream, jellos, fruit for themselves. Of course I can't prove it but, that's what I think.

So after I ate, I was trying to rest when this (whatever she was?) black gal game in to test my sugar. So, I stuck out my finger and she stuck it about 3 times??? I'm thinking, does she know what the hell she's doing? To top it off, she takes a coarse paper towel and started to rub the puncture in a hard circler motion. I jerked my finger back and said, what the hell are you doing to me? She looked at my with hate in her voodoo looking eyes and said, "I was just trying to help", then she left the room.

I immediately got on the phone, called home and told Gail of my experiences and told her PLEASE come up here ASAP! So, Gail did come back and never left again. She witnessed a lot by herself and could write her own article. The next 24 hours was mental torture to me. I felt like I was in enemy hands and was a POW. I later learned that most of my care givers where Hurricane katrina refugees from New Orleans VA hospital who had transferred to Memphis VA hospital. I did notice their Cajon ebonic accents. I swear, this one gal was practicing Voodoo. She looked like one of those shrunken heads too.

That same one came back later on that night and wanted to test my sugar again. This time Gail was there to witness it. She did the exact same thing? she takes a coarse paper towel and started rubbing the puncture in a hard circler motion. I once again jerked my finger back and this time told her to leave my damn room. She looks at me again with them voodoo looking hateful eyes and left the room. Gail and I couldn't believe it?? I was doped up on pain medicine but I still could feel the pain she afflicted on me. That same one came in around 11:00 PM to remove my Catheter??? All hell broke loose then. She really hurt me. I think she did it on purpose. From that point on I refused her ever touching me again. They assigned another one to me. Matter of fact, due to my empty stomach, being pumped up on pain medicine and running a high fever and them torturing me, I went into a diabetic seizure. I was shaken all over. I very well could have died.

The other ones didn't hurt me when they pricked my finger and of course didn't rub a coarse paper towel in a circle motion. I asked them, "why did the other gal do that?" Their reply was, they didn't know?

The worse was yet to come.....
Later on that night, around 3:00 AM, they came in to remove my tubes from OR. While in surgery, they had rapped what looked like 3-4 rolls of very sticky clear tape around my whole arm (looked like the Mummy). It took them 30 minutes to remove all the tape from one arm!! It was very, very painful. It pulled my hair and for 30 minutes, I let them know orally how much it was hurting. Of course they didn't care. So imagine being in pain for 30 straight minuets? It was the worse I ever experienced. All the time while removing the tape, I was told that it was unecessary to have rapped me that many times. Once again, I thought it must be a racial thing, although I can't prove it.

The next day finally arrived. My doctor came in asking how are you feeling today? I told him of the hell I went through and how I was being treated by the nurse staff. He did write a report, apologizing. I don't think that report will get far since it's a negative racial thing. The doctor says, I will try and release you by tonight. I felt relieved and couldn't wait.

However, the night came and went and I was still there having to go through the mental torture. What seemed to help was when Gail would roll me down to the cafeteria for coffee. So, finally the next morning arrived. The doctor came in my room around 6:00 AM and said, I could go home and gave Gail my discharge orders, telling her that all she had to do was go by the Pharmacy and pick up my prescriptions. So, I got dressed and she rolled me down to the Pharmacy. However, the sign said they didn't open until 9:30. So, I figured we would kill some time rolling around the hospital. We went to the cafeteria for breakfast.

Then, she remembered, she had left something in the room, plus some change on the night table. I said, well we can go back and you can get whatever it was you left. So after eating breakfast, we returned to my room. She got whatever it was she left. Of course her change was not there. Someone got it. She didn't care, she only wanted to leave. So, we was heading out, Gail pushing me in my wheelchair when she wanted to return a pencil she had borrowed from the nursing station. Again, all hell broke loose!!

This smart ass black nurse or whatever the hell she was says, "And where do you think you're going?", I said, we're going home'! She says, oh no yor' not, you have to have your discharge papers and wait for you prescriptions to come up and that it will take a few hours!!". I said, I don't think so, I got my doctor's discharge orders in my hand!

She says, well there is a procedure and unless you follow it, you will not be released!" Again Gail and I could not believe what we were hearing? and in such a disrespectful way? I then told her, apparently, you have never dealt with me before?

And then I told Gail to take me back to my room where I can make some phone calls. I immediately called my doctor's office and the chief pharmacist office. Not only did they listen to my complaint, they sent representatives to my room in under five minutes. This one very nice pharmacist young lady came in, she apologized and gave me a piece of paper and said, Mr. Sowell, take this piece of paper to the pharmacy, you will not have to wait. They will give you your perscription and yall can leave and go home. I felt somewhat better.

So, once again Gail was rolling me back in front of the nursing station heading toward the elevators when this same black gal says, "And where do you think your going"? I told her, I am going home and don't even talk with me again. It was very apparent to everyone around me that I was very, very mad and meant what I said. All of a sudden this white medical person with a white lab coat came up and told the black gal behind the nursing station to give me the discharge papers NOW!! The gal started running her mouth on how she ran that place and nobody was to tell her how to run her job??

I then, immediately got up out of my wheel chair and started throwing things like I was a Mad man. Several nurses had to hold me down. And finally, that damn black bitch gave me my discharge papers. And then I told her, "It looks like I won"! because, I'm out of here BITCH! And we left.

In closing, I have always heard about the racial division at the VA hospital (both employees and patient care). Well, now that I have experienced it, I can say, They're right. It makes me wonder, how are the old WW2 veterans being treated, especially if they had no family members to stay with them? Where they being abused? or even killed due to the incompetent employee staff?

I will gather my thoughts and fill an official complaint with the Veteran's Administration through the regular channels. But, I fell like most government agencies, nothing will become of it.

Will I ever go back to the VA hospital? I can't answer that yet, but I will give it a long thought. I have heard of this same type of thing in other Memphis area hospitals. It's more like, "the sigh of the times". I would like to emphasize that not all VA Black employees treated me bad, there are a lot of fine, caring
black employees that treated me with the utmost curtesy and respect.

I am home now recuperating. I can't lift anything weighing over 10 lbs and I can't drive for two weeks. My neck is swollen twice it's size. I am supposed to take it easy. So, here I am back on the computer blogging. It helps to write about it.

I would like to thank all my visitors, the phone calls and especially, all the prayers. There is no doubt in my mind that it was those prayer that got me through the whole ordeal. Also, special thanks to the Cupboard restaurant for catering me and Gail a meal with all the trimmings including pie and blackberry cobbler! Thanks Chuck! When I got home, there were 28 calls on my answering machine and numerous emails.

The Power of the Voodoo Dance in Casting Spells

Voodoo means "Spirit of God." It's a system of beliefs originating in Africa. It is estimated that Voodoo has over fifty million followers worldwide. Voodoo flourishes in Brazil, Trinidad, Jamaica, Cuba, Haiti, New Orleans and in private homes in every country in the world. Spirits (Loa) rule over the world's affairs in matters of family, love, happiness, justice, wealth and revenge.

Today, a significant percent of the population of New Orleans partake in Voodoo rituals. The practice of Voodoo involves the blessing of a Voodoo doll by an experienced practitioner which allows the possessor of the doll to contact the spirits directly - requesting fulfillment in love, finance, career, family matters, getting revenge, etc.

Related Links

Voodoo - African Origins

Authentic New Orleans Voodoo

The Voodoo Experience
Official site of New Orleans

Voodoo Dolls & Spells
Authentic Voodoo Dolls, Spells & Curses

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Pre-Surgery Blues

98% fat free? Well, not my artery on my left side of my neck, it's more like 95% blocked. My Surgery date is set for next Monday, Sep 25 th. Ironically, it's the anniversary of my ONLY hurricane that I went through, Hurricane Eloise, Sept 25, 1976, category III in Ft Walton Beach, Florida. It tore the place up pretty darn good and me being in the military at the time, I got to experience hurricane cleanup first hand. I remember thinking, "I'll be glad to get out of here" ...and I did!

The VA doesn't operate on profit, being a government facility. In fact, they are just the opposite of private hospitals. They don't want to do any unnecessary surgeries and constantly looking for ways to cut down on cost. That's why they have (and still are) putting me through the ringer with tests. Now I have to go there Thursday to meet with the anesthetioglost, get more blood work and a chest x-ray. Prior to these test, I've already had an MRI, Treadmill, Ultrasound and they have stuck me umpteen times, ALL for this upcoming Surgery!

The Cost has all ready been Paid in Full....
It was prepaid it back in the1968 when I was drafted and unwillingly servered in the Vietnam War, became an alcoholic, suffered from PTSD (Post traumatic distress disorder) and was exposed to Agent Orange. I can remember when I first got back home (the US), my hair glowing in the dark. I use to laugh about it, not knowing the real reason it glowed (Agent Orange). I could turn off the lights at night and when I pulled off my T-shirt, my hair would really glow! Not just static electricity, but it lite the entire room up. It doesn't do it as much now as it did back then.

Yea, I'm operating on 2% (Heck, I don't even drink 2% milk, just 1%) Maybe after my surgery when I have 100% flow, I can really get down on the piano! I told my surgury nurse this morning that I played the piano for a living and how long will I have to wait to play? She said, within a week. Then I told her that I grunt when I play?? She laughed and said, I've heard of ball players grunting but not piano players? Does it not make you want to go to the restroom? Then I said, well perhaps I can just play slow love songs for an hour. And then she said, that the audenice jut might be needing just that??? Love Songs??!! So, I hung up the telephone with both of us laughing. I have always grunted when playing. I don't know why? I'm sure that cuts off my blood flow. whenever I concentrate on something, I automatically start grunting. The more I concentrate, the more I grunt.

Yauk!! A Monday Operation???

It's most likely no big deal and pretty much routine nowadays but, I'm 59 years old and NEVER have been cut on, so I am a little concerned, especially it being on a Monday and it's at the VA. But I know God's in control and I'm not too worried. I will post more after the surgery.

When going through an unpleasant experience such as this, it helps to have a little sense of humor. After my doctor informed me of the importance of having this surgery, I said, "I heard of the VA taking off the wrong leg?" in which he replied, "Legs don't grow out of your neck!"

Fanal Countdown
Sep 25, 2006

Well, here it is 1:00 AM Monday morning. I figure time will go by slower if I stay up. If I go to sleep, it will come sooner. Besides, why awake from a sound sleep only to be put back to sleep? My operation begins at 6:30 AM!! Bright and early. I hope the doctors got plenty of rest and not hung over from the weekend.