Reassuring Care in an Emergency [Maryann Copley]
My name's Maryann Copley, and I grew up out in Oregon, I ended up in the Midwest after college, and I am currently a custodial supervisor on overnights.
What brought you to the emergency room?
After several days of increasing pain and discomfort in my neck and my shoulder and chest area, I had really severe chest pains, and I was really worried it could be heart-related because I didn't know what it was but it hurt so bad I couldn't even hardly sleep and it was absolutely miserable so I was like, you know, if it's nothing, it's nothing, but if it's a problem it's probably a big problem and I should go get it checked out.
What happened when you arrived at the ER?
The receptionist there was really friendly, really positive and she got me in a wheelchair, and just walked me around to the ER, and you know told me I was gonna be okay, and she quick walked me down the hallway, over to the ER department and she talked to me the whole way there, and just kind of kept up chatting and it kind of helped give me something to focus on besides the fear was really starting to develop at that point.
How did the ER staff manage your pain?
Ultimately, they helped manage the pain by, giving me some kind of medication through an IV, and it got down to where I was like, not like feeling good, but basically comfortable. And that was incredibly helpful, just on its own, but once it got down around a five it was...I caught myself being able to breathe and I know was no longer completely afraid to take a breath then I was like, wow.
How was your experience with the ER staff?
Everyone that I interacted with was professional, friendly or if not like actively friendly friendly, at least you know, caring. They cared, they were doing their job and talking to me and respectful. They treated me like I was a person and that was really nice. Not that I would expect otherwise, but it was definitely noticeable, like it was, you're here, you're scared, you're in pain, we've got a job to do, but we're gonna deal with you like you're a person who needs a little bit of reassurance.
How did the nurse help with your fear of needles?
The thing I appreciated the very most was the nurse, who after she got the IV in, immediately called the lab and requested a tech to come down to get the blood from the IV, before anything else was hooked up. So that I didn't have to go through another needle poke because she saw how terrified I was and how, how awful everything was for me and had the thought to do what she could to make that easier and I'm terrified of needles. Terrified. Like, I can do like steel myself for one blood draw and then we're done.That's when I'm not having chest pain to the point where I think I'm dying. And, that stands out as a major thing that I will always remember that, that was above and beyond, the thing I will remember above everything else.
She saw that I was distressed by the needle and I was trying really hard, but I was distressed and in pain and moving and she decided to call the lab and asked them to come down and get the blood and I, I was shocked that she did it. I was amazed in the best way, and then the lab tech came and they did it, and I was just like, "Thank you so much" Like, yeah, that definitely is going to be the thing that stands out for sure.
How did the ER doctor make you feel comfortable?
When I first saw him I didn't know he was a doctor. He came in while we were trying to get the IV in and I saw someone who was a medical person not with full hands.
And I was like, "Can you just hold my had?" and he just reached out, gave me his hand and I just kind of squeezed them probably pretty hard, I'm not sure and at one point the nurse was like "That's good keep talking to her." So I trued really hard to focus on him and she got it in at some point. So my first impression of him was, nice person who held my hand when I was completely freaking out and trying really hard to hold still. I found out later when he came to give me some results and he was a doctor and I was like, oh. So I feel like that was a really positive first impression.
What testing did you receive to rule out a heart attack?
So when I got there they set up the EKG first and they did that, and then we got the IV in and and they got some blood from there and then after we'd ruled out some of the, stuff that was related to after that, uh, they took me to another room where there was an MRI and we did some imaging and the I went back in the room and waited for the results. And at that point I was pretty sure I wasn't about to die. So, it was good.
What was your diagnosis?
They ruled out any of the major serious, like urgent issues. I suspect it could have been a pinched nerve it started with my neck and I talked to my dad later. He mentioned that it sounded both exactly like his experience of pinched nerves. And I'm like, that would make sense.
Why is local care important to you?
I never even considered what it would be like without it because it was here and I knew that and I guess in the back of my mind that's a reassuring piece that I know that it's here, and they're good people here.
Would you recommend Brookings Health System's emergency department?
I would definitely recommend the emergency department there because when you have an emergency they are gonna treat you like a person with intelligence who they respect and they're going to do the best they can for you including things you never would have known to ask for. And you know yeah, since the moment I first walked the doors of the Brookings Healthcare System for the first time I have consistently been met with people who treated me with compassion and respect and good quality medical care.
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 brookingshealth.org/MyThanks.