By Nicole Flood
Big health events can be a scary and stressful time for both the patient and the family. For the Evans family, the compassion and kindness shown to them from emergency room to surgery to rehab at Boone Hospital Center made all the difference in their health journey.
“We originally chose Boone because of the recommendation of several of our friends. According to our friends, the heart unit at Boone was the best in the Midwest. That was good enough for us,” says Bob Evans, whose wife Sue received care at Boone Hospital Center.
On Sunday, March 4, Sue experienced nausea and pressure in her chest. The Evans went to Boone Hospital Center’s Emergency Department around noon. Sue was evaluated and kept overnight for further tests, which revealed on Monday that two of her arteries were 80 percent blocked and two were 50 percent blocked. Sue’s medical team scheduled her for a quadruple bypass surgery on March 7, which was her 65th birthday. “However, her blood chemistry was not where the surgeon wanted it, so the surgery was rescheduled for Friday, March 9,” says Bob. “At some point during or after surgery, she experienced a significant brain ‘event’ [a stroke].” When Sue woke up after surgery, her doctors determined the stroke had caused total left side paralysis. However, while in the recovery room, Sue started to experience some toe movement in her left foot. Because of this, it was determined rehabilitation would be a viable option for regaining mobility.
“Sue entered Boone through the Emergency Room on Sunday, March 4, and was discharged from the Rehab Unit on Wednesday, April 18,” says Bob. “During this time, she experienced her 65th birthday, her 35th wedding anniversary, the birthday of both daughters, and the birthday of two of her three grandsons. On Easter Sunday, the entire family was in attendance, and we had a mass birthday celebration in the dining room of the Rehab Unit.” The Evans family enjoyed chocolate pudding for their birthday cake, because that was something Sue could eat at that time. Because Bob was a U.S. Navy sailor, he and his family sometimes celebrated Christmas on a day other than December 25, and birthdays on a day other than the date on the calendar. The important thing was celebrating occasions together. This celebration was no exception.
Throughout Sue’s three-week stay in the Rehab Unit, she experienced great care. On her first day in the unit, Bob and their daughter were helping adjust Sue to move her higher up in the bed. An alarm went off and immediately a patient tech was in the room to check that they were okay.
“Every staff member Sue, or any family member or friend came in contact with was smiling and had kind words,” says Bob. “It did not matter what their function was – the nurses, doctors, patient tech’s, PT, OT, Speech, kitchen staff, housecleaning, maintenance – they all had smiles and a positive attitude. We believe this contributed to Sue making her tremendous strides while in the rehab unit.”
One patient tech in particular would pop in to visit Sue for a few minutes before her shift when she was assigned to a different floor. “This always put a smile on Sue’s face, and we feel it had a tremendously positive affect on her rehab,” says Bob.
During Sue’s stay their daughters, Connie Viele and Angela Salmon, took turns spending the night with her until she was medically stable. Bob adds that their family always felt welcome and never in the way no matter the time of day. “Our entire experience with all staff was totally professional and it was evident that all people who came in contact with Sue were there for her, and this was more than ‘a job’ to them. I believe that if someone is going above and beyond what is ‘expected’ I should tell them, but it is more important to tell their boss. I did that. I also told the supervisor that I would hesitate to try to single out any one person, because the entire rehab staff was so wonderful with their interactions with Sue.”
During Sue’s three weeks in the Rehab Unit, she made great strides in her recovery. “On March 17, I gave Sue a pen and piece of paper and asked her to sign her name—it was nothing but scribbles. On April 16, I repeated this process and she signed her name with 99% accuracy,” says Bob. “During that same timeframe she went from total left side paralysis to walking the entire length of the halls on her own, with only supervision for safety reasons, and her left arm started to show movement. Our family and friends credit the rehab staff for this, with their caring and most positive attitude toward their patients.”
“On May 30, 10 weeks after her massive right hemisphere stroke, Sue can grasp a stress ball with her left hand, lift it to shoulder level and release it so it will fall to the table.”