In January 2017, I was a patient on the transplant unit at OSU Wexner Rhodes Tower 10th floor. I was grateful for the caring and sensitive care by the nursing staff pre and post SPK (simultaneous pancreas transplant). Lori Collins, RN may have thought that she was "just doing her job" but in my opinion, she went above and beyond the traditional role of nursing. She identified and met my needs and the needs of my family (needs that were both verbalized and not verbalized). She went far and above the call of duty for our family and made the inpatient experience first-rate.
My name was added to the 'approved for transplant' list in September and I anticipated being on the wait list for three to five years. I was settling into the "routine" of home dialysis. Christmas 2017 was quiet and spent with family- I did not sit on Santa's lap or write him a letter, but deep down in my subconscious I was hoping for a new kidney! I was amazed and astonished when I got a call from the pre-transplant team saying, "you better get to OSU Wexner hospital right away because we have a kidney and pancreas for you". ("Yes, there is a Santa Claus") I arrived on the 10th floor of the transplant unit at 7 pm; during the change from day to night shift and the nurses proficiently completed the admission interview and waited for a resident to see write admission orders. The nurses were awesome and kept me in the loop about the timing for my surgery. I went to the pre-op unit at 5 am, surgery at 6 am, and I was back in a room on the 10th floor by noon- I was impressed considering this was major surgery.
I spent the next 9 days recouping and felt better every day and made huge strides on the health care continuum under Lori's care. She was and continues to be, my hero angel nurse. At the morning change of shift, I listened for Lori's voice... I could hear it and her infectious laughter before I even saw her and I was thrilled when she was assigned as "my nurse". She always greeted me with a smile, was clinically astute, kind, empathetic, compassionate and creative. Lori was completely focused on me and I always felt like I was her only patient despite knowing that the unit was full. Every time she saw me, she complimented me on my progress, which I found extremely motivating. Her comments about my progress included, "you are a rock star" and "everyone, including the doctors, is impressed with how well you are doing".
Lori, my "angel of mercy", was inventive and creative, with the help of the PCA, she tried various strategies including multiple dressings, pads, and tapes to secure the dressing and keep me dry. The pads and abdominal binders were the most effective but still needed to be changed every few hours. The saturated gown and linens would wake me from sleep and I wasn't feeling too much like a rock star but discouraged and disheartened. While coming up with countless ideas to rectify my "personal flood", Lori kept my mind off my discomfort by engaging in conversation.
As a fellow nurse, we "talked shop" about how we chose nursing (or did nursing choose us) education, past positions, and career paths. We also talked about our families and experiences in raising children, recent holiday traditions, favorite food and recipes (personally, cooking is my language of love). We also shared vacation stories from Myrtle Beach and wished we were there as we complained about the bitter cold temperatures.
In the past year, I have returned to the 10th floor for post-transplant health issues related to hypotension, syncope, and dehydration. I have received excellent care from the entire transplant team; however, my soul is light when I hear "that laugh" and know that Lori is working! During one admission, as I was getting settled on the transplant unit to treat the dehydration I spoke with my daughter on the phone; I heard an audible sigh of relief when she hears that Lori is working and she said, "She's the best and my favorite nurse". My husband appreciated Lori showing how she dressed the abdominal incision and the positive and negative signs to report to the transplant team. Additionally, Lori definitely has the "magic touch" when starting an IV on my shriveled up, dehydrated and "roly poly" veins and is usually successful on her first attempt- something my fragile skin appreciates. Lori and the nurses on the transplant team did a great job teaching me about all the medications I need and how to avoid getting infections. After one year, I have not had any incidents of infection and that is great considering my compromised immune status. The winter often brings colds and viruses and there was a robust flu outbreak in 2018.
Lori is a true DAISY Nurse. She wore many hats when dealing with "Miss S's great flood of 2018"- inventor, translator of "doctor talk", teacher, counselor, operator and overall "Jacqueline-of-all-trades". I cannot accept the concept of "JUST" a nurse, unless it is an acronym: Jolly, Undeniably caring and compassionate, Superstar and Tremendous.
Lori, from the bottom of my heart, thank you for being the wonderful caring person that you are. I am grateful for your care and attention to my physical, emotional, and spiritual needs and your role in helping me to become the strong, healthy, and happy survivor I am today.