I was a patient at St. John’s Hospital in Maplewood the early morning of Oct. 18, 2017. I was admitted for a radical nephrectomy of my left kidney due to cancer and as anyone could imagine, I was nervous.
Hearing the “C word" from my doctor stopped my world. I’m a sworn police officer, a patrol lieutenant for the White Earth Police Department. And for the first time in my 53 years, my life was in someone else’s hands. To say that was difficult would be an understatement.
The morning I was admitted, I was warmly greeted by kind people who directed me to the pre-op waiting area.
Being nervous, I used my humor to deal with the situation. The staff gladly returned the favor using the same humor. Some say I get the humor gene from my grandfather. Others say it’s just how I’m wired as a cop.
Either way, I’d like to congratulate and thank your staff for the level of professionalism that was extended to me and your willingness to help me cope with what I was about to encounter.
As a veteran of the U.S. Navy and a law enforcement officer for almost 20 years, I can assure you that I’ve been around the block a time or two with stress. Your staff comforted me in a way that was beyond my expectations.
After meeting several of my caregivers, I was finally wheeled into the operating room. I gladly had the cancerous kidney removed and was then moved to the post-anesthesia care unit (PACU) — and this is where things got a little dicey.
When I came out of anesthesia, I'm told I started talking about being shot, asked where my gun was and requested my wife. I was in sheer panic! Fortunately, I don't really remember this. (I would love to hear from someone who was working in the PACU that day and dealt with my shenanigans to hear their side of the story.)
The next thing I recall was seeing my wife and falling asleep knowing that I was alive and she was with me. I awoke in a recovery room on 2P, where I spent the next three days.
To the caregivers on 2P — where do I start? You’re some of the best people that I have ever had the pleasure of receiving care from. From the care you provided hourly to the kind conversation during recovery and ultimately to the time I walked out the door, thank you. Thank you for your kindness and allowing my wife to be with me.
I appreciated the level of proficiency and expertise that was exhibited by every staff member — and that includes the nutritionists, as they were kind enough to understand that I preferred solid food despite the liquid diet needed during my recovery. (I still haven’t been able to eat Jell-O or broth to this day!) Trust me, you did a fine job!
Also, I apologize for wandering your hallways with my posterior exposed and ill-fitting socks flopping around. It's just how I like wearing them.
I am happy and proud to report that I just had my six-month exam, including the requisite scans, X-rays, and blood work, and my doctor reported that I’m cancer-free and back to my usual self.
I attribute my success and health to all of you. Thank you isn’t enough to express my gratitude.
Keep doing what you do, because guys like me need people like you!
To the management, please know you have the best caregivers representing your profession and you should be proud of these fine folks for the job they do each and every day.
Brad Teich, cancer survivor