I was 32 when I woke up on a regular day with a stomach ache. It got progressively worse throughout the day. I thought it was appendicitis so I had my husband take me to the ER in Woodland. I don't know much of what happened that day or the 4 weeks after. I had a triglyceride level of 18,650. My high triglycerides caused me to have severe acute necrotizing pancreatitis. Three of the surgeries I had were to fix the damage done by pancreatitis and pseudocysts. I had 1/4 pancreas, gallbladder, appendix and 2 ft of intestines removed. I was in an induced coma and paralyzed. I had kidney failure, lung distress, severe liver damage and was essentially dying. I was life flighted to UCD and remained there in ICU for another 2 weeks. After everything and 6 weeks in the 2 hospitals, I went home.
Once I got home my stomach remained oddly huge. A CT scan revealed I had 2 pseudocysts that weighed over 20 lbs total. Dr. L did my first surgery and Melissa was my nurse the 9 days I spent in Woodland after surgery. At first I did well but after about a week I started running high fevers, low bp, fast heart rate, etc. Dr. L said I needed another surgery. I had sepsis and gangrenous intestines and was completely sick and dying again. I remember crying to Melissa at that time about the little hair I had left (It had 90% fallen out due to the catastrophic event to my body) and how it was so dirty from not being able to shower. She took it upon herself to bring shampoo, conditioner and a brush from home and helped me wash it the next time she was there. Then when it was revealed that I'd need another surgery I remember being so scared of dying. Dr. L said I'd die if I didn't have another surgery within a day. I wanted to be transferred so he was working on getting me into UCD or UCSF. I cried and cried. At least when I was dying I was in a coma and didn't know. This time I was well aware. Melissa held my hand and cried with me. I told her I didn't want to die. She couldn't tell me I wouldn't but she just told me to be the strong person I was time and time before. She was so encouraging.
She is the one nurse that has stuck out in mind between Woodland, UCD, and UCSF through now 4 surgeries I've had.
Melissa is kind, she's real, honest, and human. Melissa made me feel special. She relates to her patients. She’s the best nurse I’ve ever had.