You Have A Choice

Nelle Kottman, Ames, Iowa

It is difficult to find the best words to express my appreciation to each member of the staff of Story Medical for your major role in helping me to transition from knee surgery and a small stroke to a return to more normal health.

My knee replacement took place on December 15, 2009 at a large Des Moines hospital where, with the exception of two night nurses, unfortunately I felt strangely anonymous throughout my four-day stay.  There was little personal attention, the on-call physician was only barely interested in my stroke symptoms, and my orthopedic surgeon “forgot” to write my pain medication prescription, leaving me and a kind-hearted nurse to struggle painfully for more than two hours to find someone who could prescribe relief.

After a cat scan, a carotid artery exam, and an electrocardiogram, I was told by nurses that I would not be released on Friday (normal time frame for knee surgery on Tuesday) because of the stroke.  However on Friday morning news came – again through nurses – no contact with any doctor that an MRI had been ordered and that I would be taken to Mercy downtown by ambulance.  Shortly before leaving for downtown, again I was informed by nurses and the social worker that I would not be staying at Westlake after all, but that as soon as I returned from the MRI, I was being released to go to Nevada – without knowing the results of the MRI – and still without seeing any doctor.

And so it happened that shortly after the return to that hospital after the MRI, I found myself being wheeled out to my husband’s waiting car and “released”.  No test results, no consultation with a doctor, no clear explanation for being released early without results of the MRI.

And here my story takes a very happy turn.  Almost from the moment we pulled off of highway 30 on a gray, snowy, raw December day, and stopped at the stop sign, and I saw Story Medical, I felt a sense of peace – I saw a quiet, attractive, modern facility – close to, but set apart from town.  As we drove up, we were immediately met at the door of the car with a wheel chair, warm blankets, and an even warmer welcome.  From that afternoon – Friday, December 18, 2009 until the moment of my leaving on Tuesday, December 29, 2009, I had the most amazing experience.

Since for most of my life, I have enjoyed excellent health, being hospitalized was a new experience.  At  Story Medical, I discovered a modern, state-of-the-art facility staffed by exceptionally competent, caring, and charming employees.  From the lab techs to the cleaning crews – with whom I had several pleasant conversations; from the nurses to the cooks, from the PCTs to Dr. Jensen, from the physical therapists to the personnel in the gift shop and the business administrative offices, every single individual did his/her personal best to provide quality care and a sense of concern for me personally.  Every member of the team, in smaller and larger ways, seemed to take great interest in my well-being, and in my ultimate return to good health.  Everyone I encountered took time to listen and to chat, and we learned to know each other as human beings, rather than as customer and service provider.

I have told friends, family, and acquaintances from New York to Atlanta, from Iowa to France that in your facility I received the best restorative care I could have received anywhere in the world, and I am firmly convinced that this is no exaggeration.

I feel exceedingly fortunate to have been accepted at Story Medical, to have been for a brief, but important time in my life, a part of this circle of goodness.  I thank them for the warmth of their care, the obviously sincere concern for my (and others’) overall well-being, the good food, thoughtfully and tastefully prepared, the sharing of daily life, the rehabilitation work, sometimes pushing, always encouraging hastened my progress towards a full recovery.

I will be forever grateful and indebted to each employee, collectively and individually.  It is extraordinary and comforting to know that such a place exists should the need arise in the future for me or any friend or family member.

Nelle Kottman
Ames, Iowa

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