Tom Bowmer

Tom Bowmer

Tom Bowmer, RN

ICU
St. John Macomb-Oakland Hospital
Madison Heights, Michigan
United States

My dad was recently hospitalized with pneumonia and spent 3 weeks in ICU. This was a very difficult time for me and my family. It was hard to understand and come to terms with how my dad could have gone from being a happy, relatively healthy, independent man with no apparent symptoms of this illness to being rushed to the hospital the very next day. Within a couple of days of arriving at the hospital, his condition deteriorated to the point that he was put on a ventilator and sent to the ICU unit. We really were not prepared for what a stay in the ICU would be like.

Several days went by with no discernible improvement in my dad's condition. Although the doctors explained that it could take a long time to recover from pneumonia, we really didn't know what a long time was or what kind of recovery was possible. By this point, we were confused and I sensed that my dad's prognosis was not good. My heart was breaking into a million pieces. I prayed a lot for my dad to get well. But one night I specifically prayed for strength, a real understanding of my dad's condition, and help in bringing my family to a common understanding. The following morning, Tom was assigned to be my dad's nurse. I knew my prayer had been answered. There he was with the truth I needed, hugs, compassion and the words that gave me strength. He spoke frankly and compassionately to me about my dad's condition and explained procedures and decisions that we might have to face in the near future. I felt such a sense of relief and gratitude. Tom also had the patience to explain it all again to my mother and 3 siblings.

Tom took care of my dad and my family many days during our 3 weeks there. He was always very attentive to my dad and kept him comfortable. He told me to let him know if there was anything at all that I needed. But I never even had to ask. He was always on top of everything. Tom made sure that I understood everything that the doctors said and had the information I needed, even when I was exhausted and having a hard time comprehending. He was so patient and supportive. He told me that I was strong and assured me that my family and I would make the right decisions for my dad. I didn't know how much I needed to hear this.

I found myself having to lead my family in the tough decisions about my dad's care and the ultimate decision to remove him from the ventilator. I was even the one who stepped forward to inform the nurse when we were ready to remove him from the ventilator and let him pass. I can't believe I had the strength for all of this. I really believe that the strength came to me through Tom. He is a wonderful, compassionate nurse who has truly been a friend to me during the most difficult time of my life. I will never forget him.

You are very fortunate to have Tom as part of your staff. He sincerely deserves to be recognized with the DAISY Award for his exceptional nursing skill and compassion.