Tag Archives: Kaiser

Back to the Emergency Room & Hospitalization


Kaiser Moanalua

Kaiser’s Moanalua Hospital. File photo by Mel.

So like this blog has fell behind. My second hospital confinement is being labeled as “Throwback Thursday” since it happened more than 3 months ago now. I’m doing well today. But on January 10 I ended up in the emergency room only 5 days after being released. The following is a brief account of that time.

I was released from the hospital on January 5.

I started keeping a log of my meals, medications and more in a tablet starting on January 6. The following are brief summaries from entries I wrote in the log after my initial release from Kaiser Moanalua.

January 6: Took my morning medications: Oxycodone for pain; and then later Amiodarone, Low Dose Aspirin, Famotidine, Furosemide, Metoprolol, and Terazosin. At the time these and a few more for my evening routine were / are considered essential to my post-up survival. My evening meds included some of the above in addition to Atorvastatin and Warfarin. It was difficult at the beginning to get used to the medication names, dosages and times of day to take each one.

Meals were limited to small portions of fish, fruits, veggies and cereal with low fat milk during breakfast. In those early days after my initial discharge, things were tough.

Walking was a chore. I moved very slowly because my breathing accelerated and grew tired quickly after walking only a short distance. However walking was the key to my recovery as the doctors encouraged more walking many times every day.

Besides walking, PAIN was… well a pain! I was also encouraged to cough the mucus out that built up in my lungs after surgery. I was still required to hold the heart pillow against my chest. For the month of January, the pain level at every cough was a severe 6, 7 or 8 on the numeric pain scale of 0 to 10.

Pain was a constant companion after surgery for many weeks and is still around today but not as intense as it was in January.

Shortly after my release from the hospital I bought a blood pressure monitor. I also have a Pulse Oximeter which I bought for my Mom in 2014. I got it back after she passed away last year. The former device measures your blood pressure and the latter measures your breathing and heartbeat. The blood pressure monitor also gives out a heartbeat reading.

It is a good thing I had these devices at home.

January 6Pulse: 96 bpm O2 – 95: I learned early on that a pulse rate of 96 is considered high. That pulse rate was with me after my surgery and would spike higher when I walked around in the hospital.

January 7 — 8:00 am — Pulse 96 bpm O2 – 93 | BP 125/85 Later that day: BP 144/89

January 7 – 6:30 pm — BP 149/89 Pulse 97 bpm

January 8 – 5:30 am – I had a higher heart rate that morning when I walked a very short distance: Pulse 112 bpm. A blood pressure reading one hour later: 117/74 Pulse 102 bpm 10:30 am – Pulse 96 bpm BP 123/84 8:40 PM BP 120/83 Pulse 88 bpm

January 9 – 11:15 am BP 115/78 Pulse 90 bpm

January 10 – I had a hard time breathing that morning. Shortness of breath. I could hardly walk or move around without running out of breath. It was decided early that morning that I would be driven to the hospital emergency room. Sandra and I were originally going to take a taxi from the hotel to Kaiser Moanalua. That did not work out. I tried to walk out of the room and in the hallway but rapidly ran out of breath. I could feel the shortness of breath as well as my accelerated heartbeat. Had I continued walking I probably would have collapsed. Therefore I turned around and walked slowly back to the room.

We called 911.

The Oximeter reading that morning showed an O2 rate of 94 (normal) but a pulse of 112 bpm. The paper log stopped after the that for 2 days.

THE AMBULANCE RIDE: It took about 20 minutes (again) before the City’s EMS ambulance arrived. Two paramedics came up to the room and took me away on a gurney. Sandra accompanied me on the ambulance. She rode in the front seat with the driver. She was quite impressed as to how quickly the vehicle moved and more than that, how quickly other drivers in front of the ambulance moved out of the way. I was fully conscious and aware of where we were going. We raced up Keeaumoku St., turned left on Beretania than again on Piikoi to take the on-ramp to the H1 freeway. We got to the emergency room in about 15 minutes. All the way there I was hooked up to an EKG monitor as well as other devices while the paramedics read off numbers and communicated with the hospital.

HOSPITALIZATION…. AGAIN: I spent about two hours in the emergency room before the doctor on call decided to admit me and keep me “under observation”. I was taken to a nearby complex of small rooms where patients are placed “under observation”. It was not the same telemetry ward that I was in during my initial hospitalization. For the next two days I was hooked up to a constant IV drip of Amidarone (for heart fibrillation) among other medications.

I vividly remember is that while being moved out of the emergency room and to one of the observation rooms, they had my heart hooked up to an audio heart monitor. It played out each heartbeat which sounded like a Pong game gone wild. The chaotic heartbeat was a sure sign that something was wrong with me. If this was not treated I could have had a stroke. Fluid buildup in my left lung was also a culprit.

In time, the drug therapy worked and by the afternoon on January 12 I was discharged.

January 13 – Out of the hospital and back at “home”. 8:16 am – O2 94 Pulse 83 bpm. 10:00 am Blood test at Kaiser Clinic on Pensacola St.

January 14 – Walking more; down the hallway and to the lobby. Better than Jan. 10. Pulse sitting 99 bpm. At 3:10 pm that day I noticed higher heartbeat rates of 106, 108, 109, 111, 103, 97 and more just sitting in place after walking. I called Kaiser’s cardiology department and talk to Nurse Ruth. Can’t remember exactly what she told me then, but I think it was to keep monitoring and call her again the next day.

By this time I was taking Amidarone twice a day, once in the morning and again in the evening. Over time the Amidarone did its job. My heart rate, fibrillation eventually slowed down to “normal” levels.

Bypass Avenue: Heart Attack!

The First Sunrise of 2016

I was lucky to see the first sunrise of 2016 on January 1. Thanks to the medical staff at Kaiser for saving my life and letting this happen. This is not the best sunrise picture I ever took, but perhaps the most memorable as I got this 2 days after my bypass surgery taken from the balcony area of Kaiser Moanalua hospital.

For many years one of the things that I have done was wake up early on the first day of the new year to get photograph of the first sunrise of the year. Capturing the first sunrise of 2016 almost did not happen.


On the morning of December 26, 2015 I woke up at around 5:45 am. Got out of bed, got in the car and drove to Ala Moana Beach Park, Magic Island to do a walk around the area and perhaps take a photo of the setting full moon that I missed on Christmas Day night.

Camera in hand, I started my walk just fine for about 20 yards. I was on the paved Magic Island jogging trail when I kind of felt my chest tighten and heighten in pain. The level of pain was not very great. I continued walking for a few more feet when I decided this doesn’t feel normal.

I did an about face and slowly walked back to my car. I found it kind of astounding that I was also running out of breath. I had only awoken about 45 minutes before this happened. “Am I having a heart attack” I silently asked myself as I struggled a few more yards to get back to my car.

I got there and immediately turned on my cell phone. I was kind of debating whether or not to call 911 or simply drive the car home and rest in my apartment. By the way I am one of the last persons on earth to have bought a cell phone. This occurred in March of 2014. I did not tell anyone about my cell phone or its number except to a few close relatives and friends. Little did I know that the cell phone would be instrumental in saving my life.

While seated in the car, I called my friend Lisa. As I vaguely recall now, her line was busy. So I waited for a few moments, still in some mild pain. I decided against driving home and instead called 911. Here in Honolulu the 911 operator asks if you want police, fire or ambulance. I said “ambulance”. They switched me over to the ambulance dispatcher. The person on the other side told me to stay in the car and turn on its emergency flashers.

Ambulance on the street

The ambulance took 20 minutes to get to where I was. File photo by Mel.

The ambulance took 20 minutes to get to where I was. Parked car, emergency flashers on, parking lot. The nearest ambulance place is about 2 miles from Magic Island. Why did it take so long? If my heart attack was massive, I probably would have been dead before they arrived.

While waiting for the ambulance to arrive, I did call Lisa again. I vaguely remember any conversation I had with her, but I think for the most part she asked me to stay calm and don’t panic.

EMS’s ambulance finally arrived. They opened the back door of the ambulance and surprisingly I could walk out of my car and sit in the gurney. Before I did that I made sure my car was secured. Turned off the flashers, got my stuff (cell phone, camera, wallet, bag). I locked the doors.

The paramedics loaded me onto the ambulance after I sat in the gurney. They laid me down, stuck an IV needle in me, hooked me up to a blood pressure and oxygen machine, an EKG reader and who knows what else. I was also given a nitroglycerin pill that I had to hold under my tongue until it dissolved.

The paramedics also asked me a lot of health questions, including whether or not I drink or smoke, to which my answers were in the negative. I was conscious for the whole ride on the ambulance… from Magic Island to Kaiser Moanalua Hospital near the Salt Lake area of Honolulu / Pearl City-Aiea.

The ambulance arrived at the Kaiser Moanalua Emergency Room in about 20 minutes from my pickup. Since it was an early Saturday morning, there was no traffic on the H1 freeway.


Kaiser Moanalua

Kaiser’s Moanalua Hospital. File photo by Mel.

By the time I got to the Emergency Room, I was feeling a little better. I think the nitro kind of help relieve my heart attack stress.

Anyways I was wheeled in and transferred to one of the emergency rooms. Nurses promptly hooked me up to a number of machines, had some kind of IV going and there I was. Heart attack victim laying on a bed, high tech machines reading out numbers and making strange little beeping noises that were relayed to the main desk I think informing the nurses that I was still alive.

While at the emergency room they ran a series of blood tests. They also gave me something to swallow to check if it was a bad case of heartburn. Turned out it wasn’t. After about an hour the blood test results were returned and the emergency room doctors determined that I had a “moderate heart attack”.

Therefore I was admitted and wheeled out of the emergency room and on to the third floor which is part of the cardio telemetry area of the hospital. The hospital would take good care of me from this point going forward.

After several days and a big operation (which will be covered in the next post), I would be able to see my first sunrise of 2016.


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