I am fifty-eight years old, and have used an insulin pump for nearly eight years to treat my Type II diabetes. When an infusion site in my abdomen became infected several weeks ago, my wife and I visited the Emergency Room. The very capable intake nurse suggested that they might drain the infection with a needle, give me antibiotics and send me home, but to our great surprise a surgical procedure was indicated and I learned I would be spending overnight in the hospital. This was, I must admit,a rather frightening prospect since I've never been hospitalized in my life! After the procedure was performed, I was wheeled up to the first available bed, which happened to be on the fifth floor in the ACE unit; Acute Care of Elderly. A very nice nurse, Kevin, greeted me and laughed pleasantly with the assurance that I was not elderly.
My night was a fairly sleepless one punctuated by frequent caregiver visits, including one that occurred well before dawn when the blinding bright lights went on, awakening me, and I was promptly surrounded by more than a dozen young lab-coated residents. Having just been awakened, I was somewhat alarmed to suddenly be the center of their attention.
Later that morning, I met the pair of day nurses, one of whom was Jessica Soto. Looking back on the hospital experience now, more that two weeks later, I can say with certainty that Nurse Soto's thoughtful, sensitive, and professional care was the single most powerful force in helping me dispel my fears and regain a sense of dignity, optimism, and humanity. This is an optimal climate for restoring wellness. She was always extremely generous is providing the fullest, most-complete care; checking in on me often but never too much, keeping me well informed, answering my many questions thoughtfully and dispelling my (sometimes irrational) fears. In the fullest and most affirming sense of the word, she was squarely "on duty".
During my hospital stay I routinely wondered when I would be leaving, what were the results of my blood tests and most importantly, will I have to perform a very painful task of changing the dressing and repacking the wound myself once home? Sometimes I felt like the doctors were unclear in sharing their plans for me, although I suppose this perception may have arisen from inexperience being hospitalized. But Jessica always seemed to lobby on my behalf, leaving the hopeful impression that she led the way, along with my wife, in functioning as my strong advocate.
I was greatly disheartened to learn late Saturday that I would be spending a second night in the hospital, even more so when a new doctor woke me up early Sunday morning, removed my dressing and observed, "This isn't draining fast enough; we'll need to make the incision bigger," and left as quickly as she had arrived. This hit me hard since it would have meant another day and night of being hospitalized, and my emotions plummeted. Jessica entered soon after and intuitively read my mood, easily offering the right combination of pragmatic and philosophical guidance. I am greatly in her debt for the profound kindness she offered. I marvel even now at the astonishing "non-medical healing" she seems innately capable of providing.
The supervising surgeon appeared in my room for the first time later that Sunday morning and pronounced me ready to go home by mid-afternoon, thus overturning the earlier doctor's opinion. I was thrilled, although my vivid fears about the severe pain of attending to my wound once alone and at home persisted. I apologize for this weakness, but Nurse Soto would have none of it and thoughtfully set in motion a plan for my home care. Her optimism was contagious.
I would hope that everyone needing nursing be fortunate enough to find themselves under the care of an individual as marvelous and committed to her patients and her profession as Jessica Soto. Any medical professional could benefit from her sterling example of sensitive, personalized bedside manner. I believe her to be an Exemplary Nurse.