Diane Mack: Many 'angels' made daughter's 'S-word' go smoothly

The Examiner
Diane Mack

Last week, I shared part one of Kelsey’s recent surgery experience at Menorah Medical Center. 

Jumping right in, my special needs’ daughter Kelsey, who was born four months premature, has great anxiety when it comes to hospitals. 

Well, that would be putting it mild. She is terrified of surgery or the “s” word, as she says it. 

After Kelsey’s first 20 surgeries, we learned quickly that we could not say the word “surgery” – ever. 

And it didn’t stop at that. Her fears grew, to the spoken word “hospital.” 

We have to frequently remind her staff to not say hospital or surgery. 

You see, Kelsey has cerebral palsy and cognitive delay, which means a first grade level. Over time, Kelsey’s anxiety increased with every surgery performed.  

And these were necessary surgeries, as they helped her to walk and also adapt to the cerebral palsy in her body.  

Kelsey’s last surgery was in 2008, 13 years ago. At that time, I promised her, that she would never have surgery again – until a month ago, when it was necessary to secure Dr. John Clough’s excellent services to repair her spinal cord. 

After 50 plus surgeries in 44 years, we’ve visited many hospitals, in several states. 

Rating them all, Menorah would be the best. Let me explain. 

Deb pre-registered Kelsey before we arrived. She was organized, kind and quick to follow up on the answer to how hard, fast rules can adapt to an adult with developmental needs. 

Next, enters Josh, the concierge, who I quietly mentioned to, “Josh, don’t say the “S” word. He obliged. 

We moved toward pre-op, where we met Nancy. Wow, she was vivacious and made the transition easily. She sheltered Kelsey from ever hearing the “S” word. 

Kelsey was doing well in pre-op. She was not worried in the least bit until the masked, capped, bootied, scrubbed trio walked in the room. They were as gentle as they could be. 

Sadly, the staff performance ended and Kelsey knew where she was going. I whispered in her ear, “Kelsey, if Dr. Clough learns what is wrong, do you want him to fix it?” 

By that time, I was crying and she was too. She looked into my eyes and softly responded, “Yes, Mom.” 

She was rolled down the hallway. 

Hold on, I need to get a hanky. 

Menorah had a large computer screen in the surgery waiting room. You could see where your family member was located. 

I appreciated the entries, especially next to KM. “Surgery has ended” and “Your loved one is in recovery.” 

When Kelsey came out of recovery, she was moved to the 400 rooms. 

Nurse Tori was amazing. She was a bundle of happiness and professionalism. Kelsey wants to send her a wedding gift. 

Next Jodi, an incredible physical therapist, guided Kelsey thru her exercises, shower and seating. Wow, she was proficient. 

And Georgia was a great tech, doing whatever was required. 

Add Patrick in social work, who knew practically every resource – and the knowledge to go with it. 

Next entered, Stephanie from housekeeping, dancing, into the room. Kelsey’s eyes lit up when Stephanie, mom, caregiver, OT and tech line danced to “We like to move it, move it.” 

Lastly, Dr. Chandra, thank you for reassuring me that Kelsey would be fine during a second needed procedure. I will always remember your compassion and thoughtfulness. 

Well, I’m out of space. Dang I wanted to include another 100 Menorah staff names and employees who roamed from the basement to the cafeteria, to the gift shop, and medical records (thanks Carly). 

Most of all I want to express the need for a hospital corner, or wing, where individuals with developmental delays can receive surgical procedures. 

In fact, Denise, can you make a note, in reference, to that fancy dancy neuro ortho tall structure, now attached, to add a space for the DD adult population? 

Lastly, Mr. Buttell, thank you for the angels who walk the halls at Menorah. 

Diane Mack is coordinator of Putting Families First, Jackson County’s Family Week Foundation. Email her at Director@jacksoncountyfamilyweek.org.