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Techs vs Pros

Kirin went to Children’s Orthopedic Clinic today for a sprained wrist and was treated by “Dr. Job” as referred to by the staff because of his extraordinary empathetic bedside manner. That is because he treats the whole of the person involved in a treatment.

Kirin left the appointment saying, “I think I should break my other wrist so I can see him again.”

A few days before Thanksgiving 2017, Sam was given a suggestion that Chiropractic adjustment can be effective for the uncomfortable feeling he had that might be a result of his esophagus was backing up with gas.

Sam made an appointment with a local Chiropractor, but when he got to his appointment the practitioner took x-rays and wanted to address Sam’s whole spine. He wouldn’t listen to Sam’s immediate issues. They argued and Sam came home exclaiming, “He’s just a technician, not a real professional!!”

Three days later, Sam went to Overtake emergency with shortness of breath and Congestive Heart failure. There was a quart of fluid under his right lung that was aspirated. He was twelve days in the hospital where a bunch of “professionals” did their technical stuff like angiograms, CT scans, blood work, IVs.

There was one particular nurse, Baron, who was a professional like Dr. Job and took the time to figure out what the patient wanted and needed.

Kirin and I had a discussion about what it meant to be a professional. We decided a professional is someone who learns a set of skills, but goes on to learn some more about how to understand the customer/patient and listen to what is needed. A good professional isn’t there just to make money or dispense their skills/goods.

Here are 5 suggestions:
Put customer’s satisfaction first - connect
Share your knowledge; keep learning
Praise your team not yourself
Do more than expected - contribute
Say Thank you

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Sam has spent his whole life putting himself in "pain", meeting deadlines making teeth, exploring Tikal, building and fixing our house, working on his antique cars and drawing comic strips.

Yesterday, when the Hospice Care nurse was here, she observed Sam having his episode of shortness of breath. She immediately asked me to go get the Morphine in the Hospice medical kit and gave Sam 5mg of Morphine.

It made Sam sleepy and he took a long nap, but he didn't like not being able to wake up. So, today, we are trying to not use Morphine and just going through the episodes of shortness-of-breath and being uncomfortable.

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Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas
My office is all in boxes and has been converted to a Hospice sleeping room. The Christmas stationary can't be easily found so I will send our greetings in these ways.

Thanks for all the prayers and thoughts from family and friends as we work to overcome this crisis in whatever way.

Sam has earned a lot of back rubs, foot rubs and back scratches which he is enjoying.

Looking forward to 2018, the year of the Dog. He just completed his Comic Strip for the New Year Edition of the North American Post.

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Granddaughter, Kirin says, “Fate got distracted and didn’t cut the strings.”

At age 85, Sam is facing a new phase of life. He says, “I put it off, but I still haven’t done my obituary comic strip. That’s what Charles Schultz did.” Misa at the North American Post is also expecting a comic strip about the year of the dog for their New Year Edition.

We are not afraid of death and might be convinced that we can look forward to the next journey where we have to learn and make new choices. But first we don’t want to waste what we can do and learn here and now. Kirin expresses it for us in a thoughtful way as she memorized and recites to us, Bette Midler’s THE ROSE:

Some say love, it is a river, that drowns the tender reed
Some say love, it is a razor, that leaves your soul to bleed
Some say love, it is a hunger, an endless aching need
I say love, it is a flower, and you, its only seed
Its the heart afraid of breaking, that never learns to dance
Its the dream afraid of waking, that never takes the chance
Its the one who won't be taking, who cannot seem to give

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We just about lost Sam after Thanksgiving as he had Congestive Heart Failure. We went to Overlake Emergency with shortness of breath.
• His Aortic Valve doesn’t close and all his coronary arteries are blocked
• His heart is 20% and too weak to withstand open-heart surgery so the physicians would not operate – he’s not going to get better without surgery, but maybe he’s been operating on 20% for a long time.
• His biggest problem at the hospital was no sleep and no eating because everything tasted so bad and he had nausea from the medications.

He is now on Hospice Care - He came home December 5th
• He is eating better - sashimi was good tonight and tonight we are planning on trout.
• He can walk around the main floor without help but, he’s not supposed to climb stairs. So we have a granddaughter policing the situation and keeping him on track.
• The nurse and social workers came by to assure us they are just a phone call away if we need someone – incredible service and great people.

We’re working on convincing Sam to save whatever is left of his heart for drawing, comic strips and putting together books for a legacy of good Japanese/American values for the next generations.

We have an incredible network of family and friends taking care of our needs and it is so neat! Sam says, “It’s so nice to hear the voices of the grandchildren downstairs.”

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These are some comforting words I found in the "family room" on the East 2nd Floor of Overlake Hospital as I waited for one of Sam's procedures.

Even though I wasn’t sure
Exactly what to say,
I talked to God and spoke your name.
I prayed for you today.
I asked the Lord to give you strength,
To calm you from your stress,
To free you from the things you fear
And bathe your mind with rest.
I asked the Lord to help you
In the uphill days to come,
I asked our precious loving God
To complete what he’s begun
He whispered in the quiet
And He filled my heart with peace.
He said that you are deeply loved
And that his love won’t cease.

-Greg Asimakoupoulos

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