Love and indebtedness to Beebe’s everyday heroes

June 30, 2020

I was diagnosed with lung cancer April 30, 2019. And for the past 14 months, all of my tests, my surgery, my chemotherapy and follow-ups have been conducted within the Beebe system. Prior to this, my last hospital stay was when I had my tonsils removed at the age of 5. Suffice it to say, at the age of 69, I was a frightened, confused and nervous patient.

No matter where I was in the Beebe system, without exception, I was treated with kindness, concern, empathy and professionalism. And every time, each of you went the extra mile.

Janine Anderson and Laura Morris were kind enough to walk me through the PET scan procedure before it actually happened. They had me lie down on the platform, moved it up and down, and turned it on so I could hear the sound. They assured me they would be there the whole time. Their kindness calmed my emotions.

Dr. Sevak Keshishyan, my pulmonologist, called me after hours on a Friday night to let me know the results of that PET scan, and I was able to enjoy my weekend. Carol List once spent 45 minutes helping me change the time of an important and time-sensitive test I needed. Their above-and-beyond efforts brought me relief and joy.

When I asked Cherae Johnson at registration to pray for me on the day of a critical test, she said not only would she pray for me, she would add my name to her church prayer list until I told her to take it off. I knew I was in safe hands.

I met Rudy Daisey during my pre-op pulmonary test. I told him I had taken the test many years prior and with my COPD, it almost did me in. I didn’t think I could get through it again, but Rudy faced me in the chair – our knees touching – and told me he would take every breath with me. He did, and I was ecstatic when we finished.

Robin Weems and Alice Isidro in my pre-op meeting with Dr. Kurt Wehberg’s office were incredible. They told me they would be with me for the entire experience. They even gave me their cell numbers to call day or night. I went into a major operation feeling safe and with family.

After my lobectomy operation, I spent a few days in the ICU and met Jen Knight. Jen was a pro at gently managing my multiple visitors. Twice she even came to my room with a wheelchair and a bottle of water. We went outside to people-watch, listen to birds and soak in the sun. Her incredible kindness truly lifted my spirits.

Barbie Andrews drew my blood at Tunnell Cancer Center every time labs were needed, and we always had a great time chatting and teasing each other. One day she came into the infusion room during her lunch hour, and instead of having her lunch, she wanted to share with me that she, too, had cancer and was now doing really well, and I would be too. I felt blessed and so encouraged.

The infusion nurses at Tunnell were incredible. Always smiling and in great spirits, they made me feel the same. Megan Gherke did a wonderful job during my first infusion. Kind and gentle, she made me feel safe and cared for. Tracy Weikel always had helpful hints and great advice while I was getting treatments. And Deb Crowell (lovingly referred to as “Nurse Ratched”) played tough but was the sweetest, most helpful person I know.

So many others at Beebe changed my day, week, month, or in some cases, my life – and now, while we are all living the nightmare of a pandemic, I want all Beebe employees to know that you have always been heroes. It’s who you are. You care. You reach out emotionally when patients are afraid, lonely and despondent, or angry and distant. Each and every time, you give a piece of your heart as well as your expertise. You are fearless, kind, courageous and dedicated heroes.

My heartfelt love and indebtedness to all of the Beebe heroes who give all of themselves every day. Thank you.

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