“Your body hears everything your mind says”-Naomi Judd
The fun stops here
Recently I experienced something that all healthcare workers should go through; the simple act of being a patient.
On Monday, March 10th I had completed a twelve-hour shift. Due to the illness of a co-worker, I stayed over to help with a third shift turnover. Once things were calm, I returned to my home and had dinner around 8-8:30, relaxing in the knowledge that I would be off the next day to work on chapter 20 of my second book.
At 11:30 that evening, my stomach felt as though someone was doing a dumpster dive in my gut. The pain felt as though long claws were tearing at my flesh. (No exaggeration) I tried to reposition myself to my right side but that only increased the pains intensity along with breathing difficulty. When I lay on my back it felt as if I were suffocating.
After two hours, I got out of bed and took something for indigestion and tried to put the matter out of my head. For ten hours the discomfort intensified coupled with increased weakness. I had no choice and immediately went to Shawnee Mission Medical Center the morning of March 11th.
Under normal circumstances I have a high pain tolerance but it was being eroded away with each passing minute. Once I settled on the hospital gurney and the ER physician Dr. Cross walked in, I did what the song from the movie, Frozen said, “Let it Go.” Yes, I let the tears flow from the pain I held in.
The doctor’s kindness and gentle disposition went right to work as she ordered IV fluids, morphine and sonograms to decide the culprit of my discomfort. My ER nurse, Jodi, explained everything as she proceeded with my care. She was expert in placing my IV, drawing labs and medicating me for comfort. Jodi pulled the bed rails up not only for safety reasons but for the fear that I would dance a jig in my room due to the relief of pain I felt from the morphine.
Even the technician that performed my sonogram (sorry I can’t remember your name) carried herself professionally. She was concerned for my comfort level as she expertly went about her work.
Once it was determined that gallstones were blocking the neck of the gallbladder, an effective decision by Dr. Cross to move forward with surgery was made for that afternoon. To be honest, I really wanted to leave this world with all my body parts but I guess that was not to be. Without delay I was added to the surgical schedule and a patient room was found and upstairs I went for preparation.
I thought the caring would end at the ER but I was wrong. The treatment I received only increased tenfold. My nurse Teresa and her assistant Luz quickly went to work. I changed into the famous patient gown, Luz helped me with my sexy hospital white TED hose as I answered pertinent questions for admission.
The next person to enter my room was the surgeon, Dr. Carlo Jurani, M.D., F.A.C.S. His gentleness and patience provided the calm I needed in the madness of everything that had taken place in the past five hours. He introduced himself while handing me his business card then explained slowly what he planned to do. He demonstrated on my midsection were the incisions would be made and then placed his initials in the area that would be worked on. “Now everyone knows where we will go,” he said with a smile. Afterwards he answered questions, relived any doubt and made sure my son understood all that would happen.
Not once in his demeanor nor speech did I feel like an item or ‘another body’ for the surgical table. My fears he understood and took comfort in making sure they were arrested before he said that he would see me downstairs.
I arrived in the pre-op holding area and any and every one that was involved in my care showed the same politeness, caring and gentleness that I received upstairs. I thought to myself that I must be dreaming.
I told the operating room staff, “Thank you for caring for me,” since there would be no chance later, and then the light turned to darkness.
When I opened my eyes again, I was in the recovery room and my nurse was calling my name. She asked about my pain and reminded me that it was being controlled. Later, I returned to my room were Teresa and Luz continued their careful watch over me. I never had to want for anything because every hour they were there.
As one hour moved into the next, another team took over, JoAnne and Kelly, but the care never ended. Throughout the night they checked on me and again made sure my pain remained low. I attempted to draft part of chapter twenty and did well until my body said otherwise and back to sleep I went.
Somehow Wednesday made its way into my life and with it Carrie and Luz entered my room to take up their caretaker duties. They assisted with my trips to the bathroom and restlessness brought on by anesthesia and the gas used during my procedure. Dr. Jurani arrived late in the afternoon and chatted with me explaining the results of the surgery. His bedside manner is exceptional.
Shawnee Mission Medical Center’s motto is, “Much more than medicine” and it is so true. My pain management was always forefront from the doctor to the staff. Assistance was always available within a matter of minutes when and if I needed it. Consideration and politeness was always given, like knocking on my door before entering. My room was always neat.
The manager of the unit, Shannon Brisendine, took time from her busy schedule to make sure things operated as they should with the biggest concern regarding pain management. My 48 hour adventure as a patient exposed to pain, modesty and a surprise surgical procedure was soon ending.
The one thing I did not have to ask for and got was respect as a person, concern for my well-being and care as a human being. So here is my Shout Out and a Big Thank you to the staff at Shawnee Mission Medical Center: In the ER-Jodi, Dr. Cross and the X-ray technician. The second floor staff for 225-Ms. S. Brisendine, Teresa, Luz, Carrie, Kelly, JoAnne, Norma (my discharge nurse), the surgical team, Dr. C. Jurani and my recovery room nurse. If I’ve forgotten anyone, it was not intentional and I thank you.
As a side note, I returned to work five days post op, and I’ve changed my diet and eating habits.