Mayo Clinic in Minnesota's Life-Saving Touch Rescues Husband's Fragile Life

A few years ago in December, what I thought would be a quick little ER trip at 5 am to get some x-rays and meds for my husband ended up being an almost 2-week-long hospital stay at two hospitals in Rochester, Minnesota (and a VERY expensive ambulance ride).

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Our entire family was sick off and on with horrible coughs around Thanksgiving.  The kids and I all got better after a few days but my husband wasn't as lucky.  One morning, I found him sitting in a recliner in our basement and knew that something was wrong.  He was pale, coughing like crazy, and we both knew that it was time to head to the emergency room.

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Adam Calaitzis ThinkStock
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Life Was About To Get Real...And It All Started With Gowning Up

Gown Up!  I wasn't expecting to have to get completely covered as I walked into his room but when that happens, you just do what you are told and wait to hear why.  At that point though, we knew pretty fast that this ER visit wasn't going to be a short one.  My husband was put on oxygen, had meds flowing through him, and was admitted fairly fast at Olmsted Medical Center.

One sign that I missed on that ride to the ER was my husband's fingernails.  They were blue.  VERY blue.  He had pneumonia but also had fluid around several areas in his lungs that required multiple CT scans and several chest tubes...which I can tell were very painful.  He wasn’t even able to move an inch without his oxygen plummeting and so, he was also on oxygen for about a week.

After a day or two, I was told that my husband needed to be transferred to another hospital.  The hospital he was going to be sent to was outside of Minnesota.

That is when life got a bit more real.

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gorodenkoff ThinkStock
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I'm not sure how many prayers I threw out there to NOT have my husband sent out of state.  I didn't know how I'd be able to handle the kids, work, and being with my husband if he wasn't in Rochester.  I needed him to be here.  I needed him to go to Mayo Clinic.

A few hours later, a bed opened up at Mayo Clinic in Rochester.  Prayers were answered.  Now it was time to send a few more up because he wasn't getting better.  He was getting worse.

What Christmas Looks Like For Families Who Spend Most Of Their Time at a Hospital

Looking back at this horrible time in my family's life, I remember all of the stressful moments.  It was December and Christmas was days away yet my husband was still in the hospital.  I had zero gifts for my kids so I went to Walgreens and just started throwing items in a cart on Christmas Eve so they'd at least have something to open the next morning.

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Easy Ways to Help Someone Who Is Sick or Who Is The Caregiver

None of this was what I had planned.  But for many visiting our town, a visit like this is necessary and happens. The patient that is getting care needs to go where they can get the help they need, and Rochester is that place for so many.

If you know someone who is sick or know someone who is caring for a loved one, here are a few ways that you could help them out:

  • GIFT CARDS:  Gift cards to a gas station are probably the best way, or a restaurant.  Hospital food isn’t the most awesome so if there is a place that is within walking distance from where they are located, that are probably the best choice for food.  Help might be denied or brushed away...but do it anyway.  If you need to, stick it in the mail and be anonymous.
  • CLEAN:  If a person you know is away from their town and left in a hurry, see if you can figure out a way to clean their home while they are away.  The person that is sick will need a clean environment to come home to.
  • MEALS:  These are fine (as long as there is a variety and not just lasagna) but if someone can coordinate these and figure out where these should go, or drop them off when the family will be home, that is helpful.
  • GAMES: New puzzle or game, even a deck of cards.This can be a gift to many other families staying at the hospital too.  It gets boring, real fast.  Especially with kids.
  • COFFEE AND A VISIT:  It might not seem like much but this might mean the most to someone.  Just stop by and if you aren’t able to get to the hospital, at least send a card or give a phone call.
  • MONEY FOR PARKING: No offense to Mayo, but I was a bit shocked when I was leaving the ramp at 9:40 pm at night and had to pull out my credit card to also pay for parking.  Pretty sure we paid enough in CT scans to cover the entire parking bill for everyone in the ramp. Those fees accumulated though with all of the visits that happened over 2 weeks.
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Heartfelt Thank You To All In Rochester, Minnesota Who Helped Save My Husband's Life

I don’t know all of the names of the many nurses and teams of Doctors who helped my husband as he was hooked up to oxygen and chest tubes, but just wanted to say THANK YOU again, from a mom and wife that truly is thankful for the care her husband received at Olmsted Medical Center, team in the ambulance that transferred him, and to Mayo Clinic.

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