Trust, Familiarity and a Mother’s Recovery

Trust, Familiarity and a Mother’s Recovery

Gelnard, a physician assistant, helped manage her mother’s uncontrolled high blood pressure, but when Josephine began to experience tingling and numbness along with headaches and dizziness, Gelnard took her to a hospital to be evaluated for a stroke. After an assessment, Josephine returned home, but her symptoms worsened. Gelnard knew her mother needed to be seen at Meritus Medical Center.

Familiar faces

Once in the emergency department, doctors performed a carotid ultrasound and found a 99 percent blockage in Josephine’s carotid artery. They immediately recommended a carotid endarterectomy—a difficult and lengthy surgery.

Gelnard and her best friend Shelby, a registered nurse, trusted the skills of vascular surgeon Karl Riggle, M.D., and also felt confident with the hospital’s surgical team.

“At that moment, I had so much fear and anxiety, but it felt good to see the faces I know and trust,” says Gelnard. One of the trusted faces was Cathy Ware, B.S.N., RN-BC, CCRN-K, a vascular care specialist. Before the surgery, Cathy held Josephine’s hand and explained the surgical procedure in detail.

A nurse champion

For four hours, Gelnard and Shelby sat side-by-side awaiting any good news. Cathy was the first person to share the success of Josephine’s procedure. “She gave us a nurse’s nod and I knew everything was OK,” says Shelby. Soon after, Dr. Riggle met with the family to discuss the results of the procedure and expected recovery.

Before and after her shift and from beginning to end, Cathy was by Josephine’s side and visited her every day until she was discharged from the hospital.

“When it comes to your mother’s health, you always wonder whether you’re making the right decision,” says Gelnard. “But because of Dr. Riggle and Cathy, I knew everything was going to be OK.”

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