I was a patient at UT Medical Center 48 days. I had one surgery in July and two in August and ended up in the Intensive Care Unit twice. I wasn’t expected to live after the first surgery. But I am writing today thanks to the doctors and staff there.
As a licensed nurse in six states, I’ve worked in a lot of hospitals. Doctors suggested I go to the Mayo Clinic or the Cleveland Clinic for care. I’ve worked at the Cleveland Clinic and knew they were short on nurses, and the Mayo Clinic was too far from my family and home in Indianapolis. Since nobody would take my case in Indiana, I contacted my former physician, Dr. John Geisler, who transferred to UT Medical Center for research. He still had me down as his patient, so I decided to come to Toledo for care.
And it was care I received at UT Medical Center. To be honest, at first, I was reluctant to come to a research hospital as I’ve seen what goes on behind the scenes at some institutions. But so many people there were phenomenal. I’ve sent cards and taken a few gifts to show my appreciation as I continue to visit Toledo for treatment, but I wanted to take a few minutes to recognize some people who made a difference in my life.
When I was at UT Medical Center, I remember waking up in the ICU and one of the doctors walked in and I grabbed his hand and said, “Please don’t let me die,” and fell back asleep. I had been on a ventilator and was swelling with fluid. I woke up hours later and that doctor was still there. I drifted off again and awoke to pounding; it was the doctor trying to get me to breathe.
I asked everyone who this doctor was; people thought he was a figment of my imagination. But Dr. Geisler told me it was Dr. Thomas Papadimos. That division chief stayed with me around the clock. I gave him a gift during a recent hospital visit and told him, “God does use some of his angels to get to some of his children.” That’s all I could say to him.
Dr. Geisler performed my first two surgeries there, and his wife, Dr. Kelly Manahan, performed the last surgery. It was Dr. Manahan who told me on Aug. 24 that if I didn’t have surgery within one hour, I would die. She and Dr. Geisler performed so diligently, removing the diseased masses piece by piece from my pancreas and colon. What’s more, when Dr. Geisler wasn’t at the hospital, he gave his personal pager number to my husband, Gene.
That same concern and care was given by several nurses as well. I remember Roxanne Grinonneau, Jen Schell and Allison Batey; they were just awesome. It still makes me cry when I think about how wonderful they were to me, and I wasn’t the best patient. I was incontinent and needed tending to every 15 minutes or the bedding needed to be changed. It was Roxanne who requested me as a patient for continuity of care because I was on my deathbed. I don’t know how many times I hit the call light or was incontinent, but those nurses’ attitudes never changed; they were friendly and polite. They lifted my spirits.
As a nurse, I know recognition doesn’t always come our way. I want Pam Major, 4AB Med/Surgery GI nursing supervisor, to know I would love to work with nurses like she has on the fourth floor. I’d want to go to work every day; I’d be proud to work with a staff like that.
I also want to recognize Lakisha Carter, patient care aide on 4AB. She looks like a Barbie doll and works like an angel. When I didn’t want a bath, she told me how it would make me feel better, gave me a massage, and braided my hair, which had started to fall out. She even tried to feed me when I didn’t want to eat.
Before that surgery on Aug. 24, Lakisha and the nurses knew I was going septic and my prognosis wasn’t good, but none of them wanted to tell me. They all kept smiles on their faces whenever they walked into my room. They really care for their patients, just like Dr. Geisler, Dr. Manahan and Dr. Papadimos.
I still have a long way to go and will continue to travel back to UT Medical Center for treatment. I’m not guaranteed tomorrow, but I want to make sure the people who took care of me are recognized. If I had the power to put my story on CNN, I would.
When I get better and return to being a traveling nurse, I’ll be telling everyone about UT Medical Center. I would not hesitate to send anyone there for care.