Thank you so much for your care and concern you showed my husband and family during his “17” day stay at Sanford -6th floor. R’s assessment was done through the Emergency Department. Nurse Dakota and Dr. Anthony Phiffer were two medical professionals who cared for him and got him admitted to the hospital. They were very “attentive to detail” from ruling out TB, which we knew he was not being admitted for (but this was hospital protocol) to immediately giving him potassium to prevent any heart irregularities.
I am going to list and write briefly staff members who we recall. I do apologize in advance for missing anyone that I forgot. These names stated are those who made a huge impact on us, but as we all know there are many behind the scenes, such as the ancillary staff such as the Radiology, Laboratory, and Respiratory departments who do so much but often are not thanked. So, thanks to all of you as well. This hospital stay has been a roller coaster ride, these mentioned are some of those who touched our hearts and calmed our emotions.
Dr. Thakker, hospitalist, spent numerous hours visiting R and our family. He prepared us for the very worst but gave us some rays of hope. He not only saw R as a patient but as a “real person” who has reasons to live as long as he can, keeping the quality of life as the center of the conversation.
Dr. Elizabeth Haller, hospitalist resident, such a compassionate and caring physician. I cannot say enough about her wonderful bedside manner and her numerous hours of following R’s case from day 2 to day 17. She too saw R as a “person” and not just another “sick” patient. She and Dr. Thakker would listen to R talk and at times, I knew they must have had a lot more to do than listen to R’s stories. Their time was very much appreciated, thank you!
Dr. Elshimi, Pulmonologist, attempted to obtain a biopsy via a bronchoscope. Even though the biopsy was unsuccessful (tissue not viable), Dr. Elshimi, was extremely professional and explained as best he could in layman’s terms of what he saw during the bronchoscope. He prepared us in advance that the tissue might not bring us the answers we needed. Thank you
Cheryl our Nurse Case Manager, came and talked to us on day 2. Cheryl is definitely in the right position. She is bubbly and knowledgeable. She brought us rays of sunshine every time she came in the room, even though it was often about our bad news, soon to be, diagnosis of cancer. She would often remind us “each patient and each cancer” is different. She is an exceptionally professional nurse and person.
Late afternoon on day 4, we met Dr. Mazureczak, Oncologist; he was very nice and calming. Even though we did not have a tissue for a biopsy they were quite certain, it was either lung or esophageal cancer. He spoke to us about possible treatments, but we would still need to get the tissue for a biopsy until we would know for sure. Meanwhile, it was extremely important to start getting nutrition started for R such as TPN or stomach tube, as R was only able to eat ice chips for the last five days. With the help of Patient Relations, Kristy Anderson, Dr. Mazurczak and Nurse Danielle, the plan was to get an arterial line and TPN started. Thank you all! And thanks to Dan the IV Man!
Day 7, Dr. KJ got all the way through to the small intestine and a good biopsy! Kudos to Dr. KJ from this successful endoscopy/procedure, we were able to get a good biopsy for a diagnosis and the possibility of a stent into the esophagus so that R might be able to at, least drink water in the future. Also, on this day, we got to meet Dr. Bleeker, who is now R’s Oncologist. He too was so professional and would sit down and visit with R eye to eye to have that heart-to-heart talk about cancer.
On day 9, R got the stent placed in his esophagus by Dr. Teak. Dr. Teak stayed with R in recovery after the procedure. Something, which I really admired for a surgeon to do since they too are so busy and stretched for time.
On day 10, we had a very nice housekeeping staff member, cleaning R’s room, her name was Maggie. She was uplifting, just what we needed at the time. She told us that if we could try to remain calm through all of this, and when someone asks us how we are doing, to respond in a positive way and give your troubles to God and don’t worry. This is good advice because no worry in the world is going to help us at this point in our lives. Thank you, Maggie. Also, on this day, Dr. Yeager, Radiology got R’s port inserted. Thank you, Dr. Yeager.
On day 11, we met Dr. Thambi, a Cancer Surgeon. He placed the gastric tube for a long-term nutrition for R. We were afraid nothing would happen over the holiday weekend. So, thank you, Dr. Thambi, for working. All went well, we were very appreciative of him. Thanks also to Carol McGinnis and Mary Aukes for ensuring we were knowledgeable about his nutritional needs.
I cannot say enough for the outstanding day-to-day nursing-patient care provided to R. Over 17 days, we had so many nurses and techs, I only wish I had written all their names down. Some of the names and standouts that I recall are Nate, he was our nurse for admission and discharge and I’m sure a few days/nights in between. Thank you, Nate! Danielle, RN was exceptional and so caring listened and went above and beyond the call of duty. Thank you, Danielle. We had two Katies. R made the comment, “Boy, Katie is so good she does all the night checks and barely disturbs my sleep!” Also remembering Renee, so kind and recommended we get connected with Palliative Care, Connie Byrne-Olson and LuAnn Eidsness, MD, thank you. Also, a big thanks to Kelsey and Jesse for being nurses over the holiday weekend and helping get the tube feedings going. Wow, lots of things to know so much protocol, so professional and so caring! The techs were wonderful too. A big thanks to Billi and Aaron.
From the bottom of our hearts, thank you to everyone. Thank you for making this difficult time bearable.