Recently, I was admitted to St. Vincent Medical Center for hip surgery. The surgery was textbook; however, for reasons not completely understood by the team, my pain management did not follow standard protocols.
I understand pain is subjective. As an athlete, experienced with prior surgeries, I understand the difference between discomfort and true pain. Two days post-op my pain reached epic proportions. I had reached the end of my ability to tolerate any more. The team became concerned that either the prosthetic had failed, the femur had somehow fractured, or a hematoma developed. The team decided that I needed intensive monitoring while being prepped for a possible second surgery the next morning.
It is at this point where Nurse Jennifer Cao took on the full weight of my care. She literally wiped the in-room patient care board clean and re-wrote a battle plan. For the remainder of the evening and throughout the entire night she seemed to be constantly by my side. She did far more than just monitor vitals and administer medications. She made it her mission to do anything possible to ease my suffering. Rather than just saying, "do you need anything" she became a proactive participant in my care. I honestly believe it was her skill, professionalism, and profound compassion that allowed me to advance beyond the issue, avoid a second surgery and finally begin to heal.
I must also note that Nurse Cao's efforts extended beyond my hospital room. My wife was exhausted from the stress of my situation and from the hours she spent with me. Ms. Cao assured her that I'd be well looked after and that she should return to our hotel for a much-needed night's sleep. Ms. Cao gave my wife her cell number and assured her she would call if needed. My wife tells me she called Ms. Cao several times throughout the night and that Ms. Cao always answered, gave a thorough update and did so in a calm and reassuring manner.
I can now fully appreciate the efforts of Ms. Cao. I can't thank her enough. I know that her actions will not be forgotten by my family.