Friday, December 5, 2014

An Extraordinary Woman

Donna Riley is an accomplished artist specializing in nature prints and designs, and is a published children’s author.

This is one grandmother enjoys hiking, kayaking, and camping under the stars.

Her love for the great outdoors and a deep spiritual faith are at the heart of the charming characters and inspiring faith-based messages in her books.

Despite a recent hospital stay, Donna’s exuberance and faith never wavered.

Pain and Fear

When Donna Riley arrived at the emergency department on a Tuesday night in early September of 2013, she was really frightened.

Wracked with inexplicable abdominal pain, she could hardly breathe. Donna knew something wasn't right. Emergency personnel got to work trying to determine what was wrong.

“...a nurse came in to get my vitals, another lady came in for my insurance information, meanwhile my pain grew increasingly worse,” recalls Donna.

Then an Emergency doctor came in to examine her.

“My mind was full of what ifs…”

Donna needed a diagnostic test called a CAT scan to figure out what was causing her discomfort. She was also given medication to help ease the pain she was feeling.

Once her pain was under control she was moved from the Emergency Department to Diagnostic Imaging for her test. “After the scan I was admitted to the hospital. Complications maybe… we were going to find out.”

Donna was admitted to the hospital and moved to her room where, as she says, “…I was tucked in with my new companion - my IV pole.”

Room 2237 was one of the private patient rooms in the new addition. It was there, on King Street 2 East, where Donna met the first of her “angels” - registered nurses Nina Geiger and Wendi Faust.

“Nina (3rd shift RN) was delightful. After answering all the necessary questions and making sure all was well, she took time to talk. We discussed books, kayaking and children.” With her new patient settled in, Nina left so Donna could get much-needed sleep.
It had been a long, painful day. Ever watchful, Nurse Nina was never far away.

As morning broke, dayshift nurse Wendi Faust took over Donna’s care. Even though it was already clear to Donna, Wendi told her how much she loves being a nurse.

“What a treasure! With so many others on that wing, I felt like I was the only patient she had,” Donna remembers fondly. “Always smiling,” Donna said, “Wendi was so reassuring that I never once felt fear or doubt.”

Other “Gold Nuggets…”

Sherry McNew, a Catering Associate from Food and Nutrition Services, met with Donna to discuss her meal plan. Sherry worked carefully with Donna to create a back-up menu in case a change in diet would be needed – which it was. “Sherry took time to chat,” recalls Donna, “...she made me feel like we were friends before I came there.”

What a difference a smile can make!

Walking around the 2nd floor (as part of her medical plan) Donna met another one of her hospital “angels.” Sherry Bumbaugh, an Environmental Services Aide, was assigned to Donna’s floor for housekeeping.

“Her smile was radiant and warm, it just made her face glow,” Donna said.

No Surgery Needed

Hospitalist, Dr. Kevin Scheppke, was overseeing Donna Riley’s care. Doctor Scheppke joined Summit Health’s Hospitalist team in July 2013.

“He looked about my children’s age – or maybe younger!” Donna mused.

Despite his youthful appearance, Donna was put at ease by Dr. Scheppke’s professional, calm bedside manner and relaxed demeanor.

Doctor Knows Best

Nurse Wendi and Dr. Scheppke discussed Donna’s prognosis with her. The good news: she would not require surgery. However, the doctor still wanted to keep her in the hospital for at least another night. Donna was disappointed at not being able to go home, but she was confident in Dr. Scheppke and his decision to keep her in the hospital.

Throughout her time in the hospital Donna met many more staff members who played a role in making her stay a comfortable one.

Nurses Robin Moffitt and Tammy Vaughn, and CNA Betty Hale joined Wendi and Nina in Donna’s care.

Donna also recalled someone who came into her room very early one morning to take blood. Lab Phlebotomist, Mark Barber, was pleasant and soft spoken as he gently drew the sample.

“I didn’t even feel the needle penetrate my vein,” said Donna.

Having Faith

Donna knows her deep faith in the power of prayer helped her through her experience.

“God put me in the hands of the most amazing people...”

As Wendi separated Donna from her old pal, the IV pole, she knew she was going home – feeling much better and with new friends!

A Caring Experience

Donna is grateful for the care she received. In those few days she was in the hospital she faced the unknown, severe pain, and the possibility of surgery.

No one wants to be in the hospital, but Donna will tell you her experience was filled with smiles, patience, and kindness.

“I know there are people I didn’t mention. It’s hard to name each flower in a garden. But this is for all of you – Thank you for everything. You were more than just my nurses, nurses’ aides, food servers, housekeepers, and doctors. While I was there you were my friends, my angels.”

Thank you, Donna Riley, for sharing your experience, for spreading love and kindness through your words, and for being the wonderful of person you are. You may think you were treated well by the hospital staff but they were equally enriched by your warmth and generous spirit!

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