Recently, in the ICU at Wausau Hospital, I experienced the heart-wrenching death of one of my best friends, D, along with his mom, brother, sister, and best friend. The 3 weeks up to his death and the day of, Nicki was the most caring, comforting nurse to his family and friends I think I have ever dealt with. D did not have end of life decisions made, so it was a very difficult time for his family and for us, as friends, knowing he wasn't going to make it and trying to convince his mom it was best to let him go. Right up to the end, Nicki kept the support and comfort going for D and the family, knowing what the outcome was going to be; however, knowing the timing had to be right for them. I had the time to ask some detailed questions about how he was doing the weekend before he died, and she was so helpful putting my mind at ease that he wasn't suffering and what was going on. I had been through this process with my dad 5 years ago in Hospice, but it was totally different this time not being in control.
After he died, Nicki was so comforting letting us take our time to say goodbye, not feeling rushed to leave until 'Mom' and everyone was ready to go. Although I did not forget the experience, it has taken me quite some time after the fact to finally find out Nicki's true name. I tried to contact a nursing supervisor by email right away but to no avail. The family also thought her name was Nicki, but with no last name, I let it go at that point. Then we celebrated D's 50th birthday in heaven, letting lanterns and balloons go and the memories came rushing back and I was more determined than ever to find out about his nurse once and for all. It has taken me a while, but after sending an email to the 2 Nicoles in ICU, receiving no reply and finally stopping in a couple of weeks ago when my husband was in the hospital, I finally now know that Nicole Krause is the right wonderful nurse who needs to be recognized. She is one of a kind. When I stopped in, she immediately recognized me as if it was more recent than a few months ago, thanked me for my email. She said that I made her day and then asked how the family was and if I was okay since I was at the hospital again. A true sweetheart is the only way to describe her from the bottom of our hearts. We could not have made it through that trying time without her. Thank you, Nicole, and keep up the great work you do!