As I prepare to leave for Cleveland, I felt like this was a good time to throw a big MAHALO out to my medical team -- it really is my own personal team -- of doctors here in Hawaii. Despite all of the problems I have encountered, especially in recent months, I still consider myself remarkably healthy, and it's them I can thank for it.†
In alphabetical order (with one exception):
• Dr. Erlaine Bello, infectious disease specialist, who has helped keep the staph infection at bay and kept me on a course of antibiotics that has kept it from spreading.
• Dr. Satyanarayana Chekuri, nephrologist, who has helped me maintain the limited amount of kidney function I have left and helped steer me toward better choices in my diet.
• Dr. Yuko Kusaka, who has helped me keep an even keel in the choppiest of waters ever since I first needed medical attention in Hawaii.
• Dr. Samuel Lo, ophthalmologist, who has saved my eyesight from iritis (it's an actual thing), cataracts and other affects of diabetes on eyesight.
• Dr. Gregory Morris, podiatrist, who I see every year to make sure my feet are in good working order and as free as possible from complications of diabetes.
• Leslie Pobre, DPT (doctorate of physical therapy), who helped get me back on my feet and on the road to recovery before the infection sort of sent us back to the drawing board.
• Dr. Alex Silver, primary care physician, who I am forever indebted to for, literally, saving my life twice (this is not overstating things). He directed me for treatment when my appendix ruptured (unbeknownst to me, who battled the pain and thought it was just indigestion) and infected my abdomen, and again for suggesting the ultrasound that detected the lumps on my thyroid that turned out to be cancerous.
• Dr. Laurie Tom, endocrinologist, who has helped encourage and motivate me to get my diabetes under tight control, and bring my hemoglobin A1C (diabetics know why this is important =) down from double digits to as low as 6.1 in recent months and currently to 6.4.
I'd also like to thank the two newest members of my medical team, Dr. Whitney Limm and Dr. Mark Coel, the former who removed my thyroid gland and the latter who oversaw the radioactive iodine treatment to make sure we destroyed any cancer cells that were leftover.
Finally, I owe a huge and sincere amount of thanks to Dr. Thomas Kane, orthopedic surgery. Dr. Kane (pronounced \ˈkān\ like the walking stick) and his staff, Wendy and Patrice, are like family to me. He replaced my hip in 2001 and has overseen my knee replacement and subsequent infection with the greatest amount of care and empathy that I could possibly ask for. When I said I wanted to seek a second opinion from the Cleveland Clinic, he backed the idea 100 percent. He presented my case to other experts who he trusted in trying to come up with a solution that was the least disruptive to my life and made sure that I was in the hands of the right doctor to finally get rid of this infection.
While I'm at it, I'd also like to throw a huge thank you to everyone at the Queen's Medical Center, which has always given me the very best care this side of the Cleveland Clinic, particularly the folks on the orthopedic recovery floor, and to the people at HMSA, who have also been very helpful throughout all of this.
The takeaway from all of this: WOW! I have a lot of doctors!? =)
† While I would wholeheartedly recommend any of my physicians to someone looking for a specialist in that area, I can not speak to their availability and whether they are accepting new patients. Best to call their offices.