Audrey Lessl, RN, Assistant Clinical Leader on the 5 West Orthopaedic Unit, was nominated by a very grateful wife of a recent patient, who said,
“My husband recently had elective knee replacement surgery. The day before, he said he saw spots in his eye. Two years ago, he had a detached retina in his right eye, so he was familiar with the symptoms. He went ahead and had the knee replacement. After the surgery and getting to his room, he told his nurse Audrey about the spots and the previous retina surgery. She immediately told him she would get an ophthalmologist up to check his eye. The doctor came in later that afternoon and confirmed he had a detached retina. My husband had a follow up checkup from his previous surgery last year at Beaumont, so the nurse called them to find out what the next step should be. They instructed her not to let him up and around and she discussed several scenarios and options for his treatment. He was to be transferred to Beaumont for emergency surgery the following morning. She made all the arrangements, spoke to the doctor at Beaumont, set up a time schedule and ambulance transport, got the paperwork ready for them to take him with his meds, etc. She allowed me to stay with him, as transport would be early in the am and we live quite a distance from the hospital and it would be necessary for me to be with him, as he was pretty heavily medicated. Audrey also gave me her number if I needed anything that they could help me with on their end. We ended up as an add-on to the list of surgeries so it was late in the day before he had his surgery. She called me to see how it was going and the prognosis. She was able to hold the same room for us so I did not have to return all his belongings and told me she looked forward to our return there.
We arrived back at St. John Macomb about 6 pm. We were greeted very warmly. I felt as if I was “home”. She offered me some veggie lasagna that was left over from a luncheon they had that afternoon and offered to heat it up for me. I was touched and impressed at her concern and compassion for what we had been through. She discussed the details of his eye surgery and wanted to know all of the do’s and don’ts so as not to injure the eye, etc.
I am deeply appreciative of the way Audrey looked after both of us and handled a situation that had not been presented to her before. She was a life saver for me as I would not have known what to do. So thank you Audrey and all the nurses on the 5th floor. They made our situation very tolerable and on my side of it very pleasant....and my husband is doing very well with both knee and eye!”