Forty-four days of excellent care at Beebe
I’m a health-conscious person with no history of medical issues. I run for exercise and fun – training for half-marathons and participating in local runs – and I maintain an active lifestyle. So, I never thought I would be writing to thank all of those who cared for me during my 44-day stay at Beebe Healthcare.
My health issues began in late July 2021. I had sudden-onset abdominal pain, and I noticed the whites of my eyes were yellowing. I was admitted to Beebe and diagnosed with induced hepatitis. Although discharged and feeling much better, I was soon back with acute pancreatitis.
On Sept. 8, my health took an immediate and drastic turn for the worse. My body suddenly started to retain an incredible amount of fluid. Within a day, I went from my normal body to something resembling Augustus Gloop from “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.” I had severe abdominal pain again, and I just felt very, very sick.
My husband, Ducky, drove me to the Emergency Room at Beebe and I was admitted. The incredible team there drained 13 liters of fluid from my body – fluid that tested positive for E. coli. I needed immediate, emergency, exploratory surgery to find out why my body had suddenly begun to poison itself.
That surgery resulted in the removal of 5 inches of my colon. Apparently, for unknown reasons, my liver had started to fail. It was releasing enzymes into my system that had damaged my colon, causing my body to become septic. The exploratory surgery had literally saved my life, and I was told I would have a colostomy bag for the next six to 12 months.
My body was still intensely struggling, though. After the surgery, my oxygen levels plummeted. I was struggling to breathe. I was put on a ventilator in a medically induced coma, which saved my life again. Although I was unconscious, my husband Ducky, my son Marshall, and my family and friends said things really did not look good for me for a while. Thankfully, with strong medical support, my body continued to fight, and the nursing staff at Beebe never left my side.
During my stay, I was literally on every floor of the hospital, and I can’t say enough about the fantastic care I received. Every nurse, doctor, assistant, technician and rehab staffer was proficient, professional and compassionate. The nurses combed my hair when I was too weak to lift my arms. They painted my nails to lift my spirits when I celebrated my 38th birthday there in the hospital. And I will never forget the huge effort they made to take me outside on an unusually warm day in October so I could feel the sun and breathe fresh air. With my oxygen, colostomy bag, blanket and mask, I was a lot for them to wrangle for that precious 15 minutes of sunshine.
Beebe took care of my family, too. They communicated honestly with Ducky. He was kept apprised every step of the way, and I appreciated that I was receiving such great care while staying close to him, Marshall and my family/friends. Never once did we consider transferring me to any other medical institution.
For us, being at Beebe was literally like being cared for by family. A few years ago, Ducky officiated nurse Taryn Kelly’s wedding – and nurse Jeff Hudson is also my son’s wrestling coach. How terrific!
I was discharged on from Beebe on Oct. 21. I weighed only 90 pounds (down from 125 pounds), but I am glad to be home and solidly gaining weight. Beebe’s Home Care Services team has been wonderful, and I am now strong enough to write this personal note about the care I received at Beebe. Forty-four days is a long time, and I feel very connected to everyone who cared for me.
Specifically, I want to say a huge “Thank you!” to my incredible nursing team, which included Linda Abbott, Barb Atkins, Nan Marie Bell, Noelle Bolingbroke, Heather Burke, Tyler Burkhardt, Kathleen Campos, Rachel Corbin, Cynthia Dieterle, Wilbert Douglas, Lori Flak, Danielle Fraundorfer, Christina Hanna, Taryn Kelley, Susan Lacy, Sharon Lane, Alexis Leskovac, Dana Morris, Nicole Phillips, Candy Pollander, Thomasina Roe, Bree Wilkins, Amanda Wilkins and Clem Viernes.
I also want to say that I am ever so grateful to Carol Wiley; Stephan Rualo MD; Madho Prattipatti, MD; Maneshkumar Patel, MD; Scott Olewiler, MD; and Stephanie Li, MD.
And last, but certainly not least, I want to thank my therapy team who encouraged me through my tears and gave me hope when I was feeling low – Bennett Blakley, Pat Bradley, Mary Schnieder, Kristin Sutton, Sean Thomas and Heidi Zehr.
As a community-based, not-for-profit healthcare system, Beebe Healthcare depends on the generous support of the community it serves. To make a gift to celebrate the excellent care you or a loved one has received, visit Beebe Medical Foundation at beebemedicalfoundation.org or call 302-644-2900. Want to share your story? Contact Amanda Neal at firstname.lastname@example.org.