I would like to recognize a stellar nurse, Denise Fox. She knows what she is doing and Wow! She truly cares about her patients! My mother had a genetic condition that she and we (her family) knew nothing about. Consequently, this condition caused bleeding in the brain. Surgery was scheduled and the prognosis was positive; it seemed we would have a normal momma after just a few short weeks of rehabilitation. Unfortunately, things did not go as planned, there were complications, and the surgery was unsuccessful meaning she was going to be pronounced "brain dead". This was all very sudden. We went from having hope to no hope in a matter of hours. Instead of planning on rehabilitation, it was now about testing to declare brain death and transferring her to the care of an Organ Donation Team. To say it was incredibly hard and heartbreaking is an understatement.
Your wonderful caring well-trained staff made this situation the best it could be. Denise cared for my mother the first night she arrived before surgery and she had us (my mom, my dad, my aunt and I) the rest of our stay in the Critical Care Unit. When Denise came on shift to care for us, my mom had been declared brain dead, was on life support and awaiting her final surgery for organ donation. To say we were not in the best of moods would be putting it nicely. We were hurting, raw and most of all, in shock. To know your loved one is declared dead but to see them still have a heartbeat and breathing is not easy. Denise took this all in stride and showed the utmost compassion for us. All the compassion and respect she showered upon our beloved mother was incredible. She spoke to my mom as if she was coherent and alive in the room; she made sure she was comfortable and not crooked in bed. She bathed her and applied lotion so her hands were soft and not dry. She read aloud to my mom and played her music. She would tell her what procedures she was doing before she would do them. She explained things to her and went into further detail for all of us in the room. She went above and beyond to make sure we were comfortable and taken care of as well.
As if Denise had not already done enough, she did more. On our final night, she encouraged and helped me save some fingerprints and handprints. She took the time to do this when she did not have to. She took our hands and guided us through this nightmare that was happening and made it all not so bad. I know having worked in healthcare that some could say these attributes I'm sharing are all part of Denise's job of being a nurse, I strongly disagree. She truly went above and beyond the normal "Human Kindness".
On that final day, Denise gave me my biggest wish. She told me that she was going to be going into the final surgery with my mom and that she would not be alone for her final breaths and heartbeats. During this whole process, my biggest criticism was my mom was going to pass with no family close to her. Normally the nurse who cares for a patient in a unit of the hospital does not go to surgery with the patient. Denise knew it was weighing on me and the rest of our family so she asked if she could be there with my mom in her final surgery. When Denise told me that she was going to be with my mom in the operating room during her organ donation retrieval, Denise became family. Not that she had not already felt like she was a part of our inner circle, but this was an incredible thing she was willing to do. When I asked her why she was doing it, she said simply because if I were in your position, I would want someone who has cared for my loved one to be there if they could. Therefore, she went with my mother on her final journey and it gave us comfort knowing my mother was not alone.
I will always have a soft spot in my heart for Denise and a tremendous amount of love and respect for her. Please share and send my heartfelt thanks to Denise and recognize her for the amazing patient care she provides.