In late 2015, I received a call from my eldest family member informing me that my mother was very ill and in the hospital. At that time, I was living and working as a Senior Consultant Anesthesiologist in Israel at the Rambam Medical Center, which was the highest level of anesthesiologist within the hospital system in Northern Israel. I had also been offered several other opportunities at different hospitals, including the position of Chairman of Anesthesiology at a small boutique hospital for the wealthy and to train resident physicians. My goal was to take that position. However, due to my mother's health issues, family pressures, and being the only physician son, I returned to the U.S. to oversee my mother's care, thus ending my aspirations of returning to the life of an Anesthesiologist.
To support myself financially, I worked at a hospital until my mother was well again and I could return to Israel. However, while working at the hospital, a younger Anesthesiologist, who had just returned from vacation outside the U.S., coughed directly in my face three times, and I became ill several weeks later. I worked long hours in the operating room and eventually became confused and disoriented. I was rushed to the local hospital where I used to perform cardiac anesthesiology, and they discovered that I had pneumonia and needed to be admitted.
I have little memory of what happened after that, but I was in a coma for six to seven weeks and suffered two cardiac events that required resuscitation efforts. I eventually woke up from the coma but had to go through therapy and rebuild my body over the next three years. Although I have recovered from the illness, I still suffer from an un-controllable cough and fatigue due to the loss of the function of the lower lobes of my lungs.
My physician from the National Jewish Health, which is the number one pulmonary hospital in the U.S., has told me that it is a miracle that I survived because I developed ARDS, suffered two cardiac arrests, multi-organ system failure, and critical illness Neuromyopathy.
Now I use all the knowledge that I have accrued over the last 38 years, along with what I learn on a daily basis, to help the infirm unroot their medical issues and recover from what could be a catastrophic illness. A dear friend of mine told me that I am practicing medicine in the year 2060, while they practice in the 1980s.