All Hands on Deck

Video Transcript

My name is Lindsay Haleta. I am a pharmacist and currently manage the Walmart Pharmacy here in town. So, in my free time, I enjoy doing some gardening and yard work. I also like to cook and bake. I also attempt to help my husband. He builds motorcycles and classic cars, so I'm more there for moral support than anything, but I will get my hands dirty if I need.

How was your fistula diagnosed?

I was starting to just really not feel well. I was really struggling to even walk. And the pain was starting to get pretty intense, so I ended up coming into the ER, went for a CT and then they found a very large horseshoe abscess. I don't think I was back a couple minutes and Dr. Johnson was in the room, you know, told us the plan. Next thing, you know, they're taking me off to the OR to get that large abscess drained. And then I was admitted to the hospital to help manage the abscess, and, you know, that large infection I had going on. I had noticed some increased tenderness in the area, but I really wasn't concerned about it, I just thought I was overdoing it. However, Dr. Johnson thought otherwise. So, then we went in that week for surgery. Dr. Johnson was able to find the fistula tract. My tract also didn't come towards the skin like they're supposed to, it just went and then ended back by my tailbone. That's why I was getting all of these abscesses and new abscesses were forming.

How long was your journey?

December 1st was my first trip to the emergency room. And then the last surgery that I had was January 25th when we had located the tract.

How did the staff keep you informed?

Before I became a pharmacist, I actually worked in the operating room, so I knew a lot of the things that were happening to me or possible procedures. What I really appreciated was Dr. Johnson never assumed that I knew exactly what he was talking about. He always took the time to explain everything. Every time we went to the OR, it was a lot of what-ifs because we didn't know what we would find, but he always explained, you know, the possible, you know, "We may need to do this, we may need to do that."

How did the staff keep you comfortable in a fast-moving situation?

The day I came to the ER, I think back on it, and I really hit the lottery that day. Heidi was my nurse and came out to get me, and she has just such a nurturing soul that she can make you feel comfortable in the most uncomfortable situations, kind of like what I had going on. Everybody just kept us so updated on what was going on, what the plan was, you know, what lab I'd get, what test I was gonna have, that we never had time to sit and question what's going on or what's gonna happen next. And for both my husband and I, you know, we don't like the unknown. So, just knowing what was being planned provided us so much comfort.

How did the staff support your husband?

The staff was great with my husband, you know, constantly asking him if he needed anything. He obviously was focused on me the entire time but, you know, they recognize, you know, he was worried, he was concerned. So, you know, would ask him, you know, "Can we get you anything? Do you have any questions?" And were super helpful at just calming any fears, not only in the emergency room, but also when I was in the hospital because he did sleep every night in the hospital in my room with me. And the nurses were great, you know, making sure he had clean sheets and had enough towels, had enough pillows. They just really looked out for him as much as they looked out for me and we really appreciated that.

How did Dr. Johnson make you feel comfortable?

When I was first diagnosed and sent over from urgent care, I was asked if I preferred a male or female surgeon. To me, at that point, I was so sick that I didn't care who worked on me as long as they could fix me. When I did meet Dr. Johnson, I felt very comfortable with him given the sensitive, delicate nature of what a fistula is and where it's at. At first, I was a little apprehensive, but he just made everything so calm and so professional and was always so very concerned with my privacy that, you know, I wouldn't have had anybody else. Also, what I really appreciate about Dr. Johnson is not only does he have that medical knowledge, he is a person and he always, you know, made it a point to ask us about, you know, how are our dogs doing, how's our cat? And him and my husband would frequently sit and chat about motorcycles and it just made us really feel comfortable to know that, you know, we're being taken care of not only medically, but emotionally as well by our doctor. And that was wonderful.

How is your recovery?

So, now I'm feeling much better. Actually, this past weekend I was able to get out in the yard, do some gardening and some yard work, things that a couple of months ago, physically, were not possible. While I do, you know, feel so much better than I did when this journey began, I'm still not 100% and I am still reminded that I'm not fully healed yet. I do have at least one more surgery. I'm scheduled at Mayo to fully get rid of the fistula. But ever since Dr. Johnson put that drain in, my life has changed and my quality of life has come back.

How did the staff support you?

It was everyone, you know, from dietary and Katy coming in, you know, giving me recommendations on what kind of foods I needed to eat to help with the wound healing, to Sheila helping me with all the insurance and, you know, my paperwork that I needed to be away from work. They really just...everybody was all hands on deck making sure all my needs were taken care of.

What did you appreciate most about your care?

I actually asked my husband about this and I think he said it best. It didn't feel like I was in the hospital, it felt like I was at home because everybody was just so concerned and so thoughtful that we felt like we were at home. And that is what was a game-changer for me.

Are you one of Brookings Health System's grateful patients who would like to give back to us? Learn more about how you can give back at