November 9, 2021 Message to the Membership
Posted on November 9, 2021 in Message to the Membership
So a funny thing happened on the way to the Business Builder Awards… Not funny like as in haha funny, but funny as in weird or unusual; more like what’s going on?
Nor was this funny similar to the time earlier this year when I started a message to the members in the same fashion when our cabin was being threatened by an impending fire. (So a funny thing happened on the way to the lake…) No, this time it wasn’t property being threatened; I could only wish.
Anyway, back to the Business Builders… as I was walking into the venue, which had been darkened with mood lighting for ambience, I noticed that my vision was changing literally before my eyes, well more accurately, my eye.
For background, three weeks prior I had seen my optometrist because I had been seeing ‘floaters’. Upon examination he told me that something had pulled away from the back of my eye causing some shrapnel-like objects to ‘float’ in my field of vision. In time they would settle, he told me, but if anything changed, I was to call him.
As I was walking into the darkened room at Prairieland Park, I could tell that these floaters changed. I wasn’t sure if that was because of the lighting in the room and my eyes just adjusting to that or if something else was going on. The floaters seemed to be getting bigger, more persistent and now there were some black wispy streaks that looked like waves or smoke.
Upon exiting the hall I noticed that the vision issues were persisting. Therefore I texted my optometrist and advised him that my vision in my left eye had suddenly changed. Within seconds he called me back, asked me to describe what was going on, and after hearing my explanation, he told me I had to come see him immediately.
I told him that I wasn’t sure how that could work as I had responsibilities at our annual awards banquet which was minutes from starting, to which he reiterated, ‘Keith I need you to come see me immediately. I just left my office but I’m turning around now and will meet you there.’
Even though he was trying to be firm with me, you could also tell he was trying to be compassionate. Either way, I knew it didn’t sound very good. So I went in and told my staff that I had to leave for a medical emergency and left them to fend on their own for the evening, which turned out great by all reports.
Within minutes of my arrival at Dr. Lukenchuk’s (my optometrist), tests were done and Dr. Lukenchuk was examining me and the test results. While there, my eyesight had deteriorated drastically. I went from having floaters and these black wispy lines to essentially being completely blind in my left eye. My best way of describing it was like there was a thick layer of Vaseline on my eye. I could sense lighter things and darker things, but nothing more.
Dr. Lukenchuk told me to call my wife to let her know he was sending me to the Eye Centre at City Hospital for emergency eye surgery. Lenore, my wife, arrived at Lukenchuk’s office a few minutes later. Although we were forced to wait for a return call from the Eye Centre, he reassured me that although I was waiting, I was at the right place and that the surgeon on call was excellent and that I would be taken care of in an exceptional manner.
After what seemed like an eternity, (it was anything but), they called back and Lenore and I went to City Hospital. Aside from being processed for COVID protocol we breezed in without being admitted, registering or any of the typical bureaucracy. We went directly to the 4th floor, where more tests were done, and soon Dr. Masri, the surgeon, was examining me. It took him a little while, but eventually he saw a blood vessel on my retina had ruptured and was hemorrhaging into my eye. Those black wispy waves? Yep, blood.
He gave me two options, both of them surgical. One was a quick laser surgery to repair the ruptured vessel, while the other was a more invasive eye surgery. I asked his opinion and settled on the quicker, less invasive option. He took me immediately to the operating room and did the surgery, which took about 10 minutes.
What does all this have to do with a business organization, you might be wondering. Well, as I explained, it all started at the Business Builder Awards banquet. Word had caught there through some in the crowd that I’d had some type of emergency occur and my phone started buzzing and pinging with well wishes from dozens of business and community leaders. That shows you what the character and quality of these people are all about.
But my story also speaks to the business (and politics) of health care in this province at this point in time. In my case, I first made my call to my doctor at 4:35 pm, was in his office by 5 pm (I took the wrong bridge to get there, but that’s another story), was over to City Hospital by 6 pm, and by 6:45 had already been seen by three doctors there. By 7:30 pm I’d had my surgery, and was home eating my Taco Time supper by 8 pm. (I would have much preferred Prairieland’s prime rib…)
Point being, Saskatchewan’s health care system in this circumstance was stellar, top notch, unbelievable. I had a follow-up surgery on Monday to catch things that were missed Thursday (due to the amount of blood in my eye), but I’m more than thrilled to report that my prognosis is excellent, with a full recovery expected for my vision. My post-op recovery as described by my doctor was that my vision would remain blurred for weeks to come, approximately three months. I can more than live with that.
And the irony that this occurred on Health Care Worker Appreciation Week is not lost upon me. I am so very grateful for our health care professionals, particularly Dr. Lukenchuk and Dr. Masri. My life would be vastly different if not for these two heroes and their support staff. Thank you.
I apologize for the length of this week’s message, but apparently I had a lot to say. And I cannot overemphasize the outstanding quality of health care in my circumstance.
Until next time, be safe, be smart, be considerate, be well but most of all, be kind. I’ll see you soon!