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Like Family: John's Story

Posted on: Friday, July 7, 2017
Written by: Kelsey Swindler

John came to us through the ED late May, knowing he was seriously ill, but unsure what was wrong. Our ED providers quickly determined his kidneys were failing, and he was admitted to the ICU and immediately placed on a vent to support his breathing, as he could no longer breathe independently. His physician, Dr. Hollon, determined that he had a serious but extremely rare condition that can cause widespread organ failure very quickly. John spent two weeks in the ICU until he could breathe again on his own, and was later moved to acute care for continued dialysis, monitoring, rehabilitation, and recovery. He is now recovering wonderfully, breathing fully on his own, talking and walking and catching up with family. He shared his experience at CMH, highlighting what got him through those frightening and uncomfortable weeks on a vent:

“The only thing that kept me going was the nurses. They are all so positive, caring, and professional. I had my phone with me at the time, and it had a lot of songs on it – Beatles, rock, things like that – and the nurses started playing music for me in my room in the ICU. They called my room “the party room.” I think that kept me going… Thank God I have a good doctor [Dr. Hollon] who knows what he’s doing. He just is the type of man who cares about his patients. He knew what I needed … I owe all of my success to all the good people here at Clinton Memorial. From the doctors to the folks in the cafeteria. You’ve just got a good group of people. I wouldn’t go anywhere else, because I’m somebody here.”

John’s son, Tim, shared what it’s meant to their family that John was so well take care of at CMH:

“They’ve treated us like family. I was here every single day, 11-12 hours every day, and overnight the other days. If I had to leave, I called at 11pm and again at 4am to check and see how he was doing. I would sit next to him, talk to him – those were long days. The nurses you have here are the best. People always say they prefer a larger city hospital, but after how they treated him – and our family – I would always come here. One, they treated us like family from the very beginning, and two, they never acted like I was bothering them. I was scared because he would shake… while he was on the vent, and I didn’t know why or what was going on and I hated to see him like that. One of his nurses, Karen, she would stay in here with me and explain how everything worked – every medication she was giving and why she was giving it, what it would do, how it was helping him. She stayed with me and my uncle to make sure we were comfortable and calm. She checked in on us on her days off – she told me she was honored to take care of my dad. It just goes to show what kind of nurses you have here. You honestly have the best group of nurses I’ve met in my entire life. I was in the military – injured in Iraq – and have spent a lot of time in hospitals around the country, and I mean it when I say that you have the best nurses I’ve ever worked with.”

We threw a bit of a farewell for John, and brought together a lot of the folks who were part of his journey with us over the last several weeks:

Left to right: Dr. Hollon, John, and his son, Tim

Left to right: Kristina, John, Karen, and Tim

Kristina and Karen saying goodbye as John is prepared for discharge

It's an honor to care for people like John, and we're grateful to his family for entrusting us with his care.