‘We are here to take care of you’

Movin’ On with Nellie

As the anesthetist Eric wheeled me through the secret passage of operating rooms and over to Radiology’s high powered magnet room, I thought, I am thankful for good care.

Just minutes earlier, Colleen, the outpatient surgery RN, asked me sundry questions about my medicines and allergies. She double checked the records for past surgeries.

I donned the standard blue-plaid hospital gown. Colleen placed a heated blanket on my legs that felt warm and comfy — a metaphor of how good care should feel. She even removed my Freestyle Libre 2 (electronic glucose monitor) which has metal. By removing the device, she prevented the superpowered Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) machine from yanking the tiny metal needle out of my arm and causing a painful bloody mess.

“We are here to take care of you,” she said as Brandon, an ambulance phlebotomist, searched for a vein on the right then left wrist.

Colleen distracted me with questions about verbs and adverbs while Brandon found the right vein for intravenous fluids hookup.

Eric came into the room and asked me about last month’s MRI and sedation, “Did it work for you? Were there any reactions?”

I noted, “No reactions, it was fine.”

“I will do the same thing, then,” he said.

With my belongings labeled and my eyeglasses tucked into a drawer on the gurney, Eric pushed the bed toward its destination.

“I’m scared of this table because it is so much smaller than me,” I thought out loud.

Dwayne, x-ray tech said, “Don’t worry, we are here for you.”

Then he and Eric situated me with my head slightly lowered. As anesthesia began, I felt a dizziness. (In my circumstance, sedation addresses claustrophobia and pressing pain.)

As I came out of the MRI, I heard Dwayne asking, “Can you roll over to the other bed?”

As I rolled over to the other bed, I asked, “Is it done already?” And so, I was being driven back to the outpatient recovery room.

Wayne, the recovery room nurse, said, “I hoped that I could take care of you.”

I had remembered him from the visit a month earlier. Like Colleen, he was kind and brought me cranberry juice when I asked. As I woke enough around two o’clock, he called Med Ride for my pickup.

Thankfully, my primary provider Jackie Bennett, FNP, had asked for an exception to the requirement a relative or friend pick up the patient. Being single, elderly without friends who drive, this situation was a serious concern for me. I know there are many people out there like me; so that the rule doesn’t work for everybody. Thanks to Jackie, the appointment was a go.

In the morning, Nick with Med Ride picked me up promptly at 11 o’clock like I had requested. Nick was very helpful in securing the seat belt when I slid into the backseat. Our discussion on the way included that Med Ride has been in the Valley for over two years and transports patients anywhere in the state. As I got out of the vehicle, Nick wished me well with the procedure and he encouraged me to tell my family and friends about the ride services.

Valerie was the return trip driver.

As Wayne wheeled me out in the wheelchair, Valerie greeted me by the car and opened the door for me to sit in the front seat. She made sure I strapped myself in before she closed the door. When she learned that I had a service dog, she said, “Service dogs are always welcome. Just let us know when you call that you have a service dog.”

Back at home, she parked close to the ramp, opened the door, and asked if I needed help getting to my door. As I could amble, she then stood watch that I made it inside before she left. 

I’m so thankful for Jackie Bennett, Med Ride, Nick and Valerie, and in the hospital for Colleen, Wayne, Dwayne, Brandon and Eric.

Nelda Curtiss is a retired college educator and long-time local columnist. Reach her at www.columnsbynellie.com or email her at [email protected]