My 28-year-old daughter has been admitted to Baptist Hospital in Oxford numerous times during the past 8 months. She was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma at the base of the tongue in January. Because of her lack of risk factors and young age, the oncologists sent us to Vanderbilt Head and Neck cancer center in Nashville, TN. However, we were able to coordinate things and do a lot of her first stage of chemotherapy here in Oxford.
Our journey has been long, painful, bumpy, and exhausting – so I won’t get into specifics. But a great nurse can make all the difference. Such was the case when my daughter’s medical condition developed into pneumonia eight months later, on her 28th birthday. We began in the step down unit due to her heart rate and other factors, but were transferred to ICU.
This was when we met Maegan Gentry, RN. She is an amazing nurse. She is knowledgeable, confident, yet caring. Always going the extra mile! She did not mind answering my questions and keeping me up to date on every aspect of my daughter’s care. We had other good nurses as well – especially Michael Lewis on night shift. Kelly Jenkins on night shift was also good and was with us the night she went to be with the Lord. She was so kind and comforting. Sarah Cox on day shift was also very kind and is going to be a super nurse when she finishes getting oriented to everything.
There is no easy way to lose a child. Even (or maybe especially …) a 28-year-old child. There is a void we will never fill. But Maegan, Kelly, Michael, Sarah and the staff in the ICU gave us the room to be with our daughter, be with one another as a family (we are blessed with 2 other daughters), and yet they still took care of every single need she had – medications, turning her, mouth care – until the moment of her last heartbeat. Words fail me to express how much that meant to all of us. Please be sure they know how very much that helps us deal with our loss.