My Greek Surgeon's name was George Papagiandopolous.
Dr. George was proud of his skills. He asked where we were from, then related that he comes to the U.S. every two years to attend Ortho refresher courses.
"I've been to San Diego, San Antonio, and Chicago", he said proudly.
We were sorta in a pinch. In order to use the reservations we had originally made for getting home from our cruise we needed to depart Athens for Rome on Thursday. Dr. George was concerned about flying with my fresh injury.
His worry was that I'd form an air bubble that would travel through my bloodstream and cause problems. With my EMS experience I knew this to be a valid fear...
Anytime we had embolism patients on board my helicopter, we tried to transport the patient at the lowest safe altitude.
Doc George came into our room and said he'd allow the flight, but he wanted to be sure we were aware of the risks. He discussed what we should do if I had serious breathing problems in flight, then gave us warfarin (blood thinner) tablets, and four syringes of blood thinning liquid in case the worst happened. To Sara Jean he said in Greek accented but perfectly understandable English-
"If he begins to have difficulty breathing, inject him with one of the syringes and call me IMMEDIATELY, no matter what!"
Then he said "Let's take a group photo!", and gave his camera to one of the technicians to take a photo of he, Sara Jean, one of my Nurses, and me.
I now wish I had asked him for a copy of that photo!
The gal from Accounts Receivable came in to discuss payment of our bill.
"You cannot be discharged until your bill is paid in FULL."
Wow. Could I be held prisoner in this Athens hospital?
"How much do we owe?"
"22,000 Euros" she said with a smile.
I called my Credit Card issuer and checked on my available credit. I explained the situation and said, "I need to extend that if possible".
And, thank Goodness, we could.
Thursday morning I was wheeled to the front door. We hailed a cab and I awkwardly "crutched" my way into it. We then drove to the hotel Sara Jean had been staying in while I was recovering. We ate a great meal at the rooftop restaurant which also had a view of the Acropolis, and watched as a Thunderstorm crackled its way over the city dumping quite a bit of rain. The motorscooters and cycles continued to ply the streets as if weather was fine.
The flight Thursday morn to Rome was uneventful, except I was moved everywhere in a wheelchair by an airport employee and we went to the head of the line for everything... tickets, security, and after the flight, baggage claim. I'll have more to say about this in a later post.
We landed at Rome's Ciampino airport two hours before our son's scheduled arrival, so we went to the airport restaurant for lunch while we waited.
And at this point, we begin another adventure.