I would like to take a moment to recognize ICU Nurse Leslie Ditto. My father was admitted to the ICU in the early morning hours of November 2. I live in Central Arkansas and arrived to visit him mid-morning. Leslie Ditto and the student nurse were both very attentive to any needs that my dad had, and they quickly answered any questions that my mom and I had. Even when we asked for things just moments after they'd done something, they were quick to respond and did so with a smile. They never made us feel like we were bothering them at all.
I felt that my dad was improving later in the day and went back home. Within a couple of hours, my dad's health drastically declined and I returned to Jonesboro shortly after midnight. He had emergency surgery sometime after midnight on November 3. His condition was very grave and the doctor was not sure if he would make it through the day.
Leslie was back on duty later that morning again attending to my dad. When we visited my dad shortly before 8, he indicated that he wanted the ventilator tube out. I communicated that to the physician outside the room and to Leslie. The physician confirmed this with my dad and explained to him that he would die without it.
As I'm sure you know, this was a very difficult thing for my mom and me. Ms. Ditto was very compassionate and encouraging to us both. She made sure that my dad was comfortable and checked on our family frequently as he took his last breaths. They also allowed our greater support group to come into his room during this time. Leslie was sensitive as she advised us that he had passed and told us that the doctor would need to come in. You could tell that she wanted to give us all the space that we needed to deal with situation.
She gently told us what would happen next and that we could spend all of the time that we needed to saying goodbye to my dad. During this time, she hugged us all. You could tell that her actions were sincere which meant a lot to me.
I'm sure that it would be a lot easier for her to blend into the background and wait for the family to leave in these situations. But that's not what she did. She was there offering sympathy and compassion during one of the hardest times of my life. We had many other family members and friends present so for her to still step up to hug my mom and me meant a lot. She even stopped what she was doing when I was leaving to hug me one more time.
Leslie is an excellent nurse and has served her patient and his family very well in my father's case.