Recently my family experienced a life changing event at Sanford Hospital. My mother was transferred to Sanford from Madison Community Hospital and was admitted in Critical Care West. This was not our first stay at Sanford; in fact, we have been there several times over the past 8 years. Each and every time we were there, I could not believe the care my mother received. My mother was always treated with dignity and there is no doubt she received the best possible care available to her. While each time we were there, someone stood out to us as an extra special nurse or doctor; it wasn’t until our last stay that two individuals impacted by family’s life forever.
I arrived at the hospital to spend the day with my mom. I knew that there was a very good chance she would never come home again, but I wasn’t prepared for what would happen when I got there. As soon as I went back to see her, the Doctor stopped to tell me about my mom’s condition. While I knew it was possible, it was still a shock to hear that I needed to get everyone there, that it was just a matter of time. I am unable to even recall the Doctor’s name, but I would like to say he was so kind and compassionate. His delivery of the unwelcome news was very professional, but it was done in a way that I knew he was truly sorry for what we were about to experience. I regret not getting his name, so that I could thank you personally.
As the day went on, we met with several different doctors and their teams. Each and every one of them showed nothing but deep compassion for my family and the process we were going through. My mother’s nurse that day was Philip Klemond. The Lord was watching over mom to give her Philip. He has touched our family in a way that I never thought possible. His care of my mom and my family during the last hours of her life is indescribable. I can’t find appropriate words to describe what an awesome person he is. He changed our lives forever. Not only did he take care of my mom, but he took care of us. He guided us through her journey to Heaven. The next day, Philip requested to be my Mother’s nurse again. I never imagined we would be blessed to have him two days in a row. He amazed us even more that second day. He arranged for our family to have a room to gather, share our thoughts and show our emotions without others watching us. He then arranged for mom to be moved to another room, with more privacy as we sit and wait for the end of her life. He stayed late that day, so he could personally take her and get her settled in this new room. Before he left, he hugged each of us, gave us his condolences and thanked us for allowing him to care for our wife, mother and grandmother. It was very touching.
The nurse that was assigned to my mother in her new room was Melinda Hitzemann. We could not believe that we were blessed enough to have two angels taking care of mom and us. She was incredible. As we all sat in the room watching over mom, waiting for her to take her last breath, Melinda explained every step of the process. She treated my mom with such kindness, fluffing her pillow, moving it so she could have the cold spot on the pillow, swabbing her mouth with water. Simple things to make sure she was comfortable, but things that meant the world to us. As the night turned into morning and we had all been up for almost 48 hours, she provided us with pillows and warm blankets to help make us more comfortable. These acts were above and beyond what we could have ever expected to receive.
My mother passed away surrounded by her husband, all 3 of her children and their spouses, and all of her grandchildren. It was a beautiful moment for us to share together as a family. Thank you for allowing us to have the privacy we needed and the space to do this as a family. It is of great comfort to my father that we were all able to be there.
I guess I just wanted you to know that you have many outstanding employees in your hospital. Your employees are dedicated to the help, healing and care of not only the patient they are treating, but the family as well. While I would love to be able to turn back the clock and not have had to experience this at all, I can look back and say that I know that we received the absolute best care we could have for our mom and we know her journey to heaven was so peaceful because of the excellent care we received there, this does bring me comfort.