A little over six months have passed since my family's life was thrown a curve ball. I have thought many times of the compassionate caregivers that not only ensured that my grandmother received excellent care, but also took the time to ensure my family and I were alright as well.
This past summer my grandmother came home from church, sat down at the kitchen table and said, "I feel like I could just die". She felt extremely tired and worn out. I immediately got her an appointment with her cardiologist. After spending the summer not really getting any answers, I assisted my grandmother changing to a new cardiologist. In late August we were given the news that she needed a triple coronary bypass graft. I happen to be a cardiology nurse, but when news came that my grandmother needed bypass surgery, I was devastated. My grandmother happens to be my best friend and we are very close. I live down the street from her. We talk every day and see each other several times through the week. She is the love of my life!
When I am personally caring for patients prior to having this surgery, I have the best pep talk in the world. I couldn't get past the fear of what could happen, and the words I have for others did nothing for me. All I could think was "she's 85 years old"!
It turned out that my grandmother was literally a walking time bomb and that without the surgery she was just waiting for a massive heart attack to happen. When told that, she agreed to the surgery. On September 4th she underwent her surgery. The surgery went quickly and smoothly. But shortly after surgery, it was noted that my grandmother could not move her right side. Panic then set in! This was my grandmother's greatest fear. I felt I had family members all looking at me, as the nurse, for answers and I tried to remain strong and confident. It was too early to tell anything just yet.
Standing beside my grandmother's bed, all I could do was silently cry. Her nurse right after surgery was Ryan Fay. He kept us informed through the entire process. While I stood crying at her bedside, Ryan asked me, "Are you okay?" I replied, "No". He asked if I had any questions. Again I said, "No". I just needed to stand there and cry for a minute. Ryan allowed me to do so. I knew he was there to answer any questions I had and I knew he was doing everything he could for my grandmother. What impressed me most about his care was that he stayed ever present. I don't really remember him leaving the room; it seemed he was always nearby. He was quiet and allowed me to react as I needed to as a family member. I wasn't a nurse in that moment, I was a granddaughter.
Today, a year later,grandma is doing very well. She is back to living on her own. She does all of her own housework and activities of daily living just as she did before surgery. She drives herself everywhere and successfully completed cardiac rehab. She proudly shows off her midsternal scar! In May we will celebrate her 86th birthday! Our memories made now are even more precious because they may not have been had she not had surgery and such excellent care.
I felt Ryan's care was extraordinary. He was compassionate and professional. My grandmother could not have been in better hands that day after surgery!