On January 24th in the early morning hours my husband Brian woke me up because he said his left arm was hurting and he was nauseated. After I gave him two aspirin we rushed to the ED of our regional hospital….He had a myocardial infarction in process. The cardiac cath team was called, and an amazing interventional cardiologist performed a balloon angioplasty to open up the blocked artery. After Brian was stabilized in the CVICU he was transferred to the CV Step Down unit to wait for surgery. On January 29th the cardiothoracic surgeon performed a CABG x 4 and Brian was discharged on February 3rd. It was quite an ordeal. There are always lessons we learn when we are the recipients of health care.
As you can imagine this has been a life-altering event for both of us. During this critical time every person that we encountered and every circumstance that occurred, big and small, mattered to us. I can honestly say that Brian and I experienced the most excellent care that I could ever imagine, and this made a significant difference in his healing and my experience as a family member.
The nursing staff at this hospital were wonderful. We know that nurses are the heart and soul of any hospital. Every single nurse that we encountered was knowledgeable, skilled, attentive and compassionate. They were truly person and family-centered. Every one of them asked how she/he could be helpful to us. Watching the nurse caring for Brian immediately after surgery in the CVICU was amazing to me. It was like watching the conductor of a symphony. Her technological competence was incredible…she monitored everything moment by moment, while continuing to focus on Brian as a person experiencing this critical event, and on me as a wife fearful of what was happening. When I was waiting for news of Brian’s condition during surgery, several of the staff stopped in to encourage me and to give me updates if they could. This was so meaningful to me. When Brian was recovering, the CVICU staff pushed and encouraged him and did anything they could to make me comfortable. All the staff on the step-down unit exquisitely cared for Brian, supported us and made us feel “at home”. I’m so grateful to the nursing staff for creating the healing environment where this level of care happens.
We often hear about the horrors of poor nursing care, so I wanted to share this story of hope and encouragement with everyone. I am so proud to be a nurse because of the profound difference we make in the lives of people in the most vulnerable moments of their lives. Yes, our cardiologist and surgeon saved Brian’s life, but the nurses were equally biogenic (life-giving) to both of us. They preserved our dignity, prevented complications, prepared us for discharge, facilitated a smooth transition, allayed our anxieties, relieved our pain, provided comfort, lifted our spirits with laughter, gave us critical information, challenged him to do more than he thought possible, instilled hope for the future, involved us in choices, and took the time to listen to our fears and rants.
P.S. Brian is in cardiac rehab now and is recovering.
Never ever ever underestimate the power of nursing. We transform lives by healing through caring.