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Harrison’s Strength is in Her Volunteers and Staff

If the employees are representative of the leadership at Harrison Medical Center – Harrison will be around long after most of us living today move on to frolic and ride the best horses, in that great rainbow in the sky.

Friday, 9 April 2010 I had an appointment with Melissa Mercogliano at Center for Orthopedic & Lymphatic Physical Therapy in Port Orchard for a leg wrap.

She wouldn’t touch the right leg. I was infected again. (I cannot wrap your leg when it is infected – get to a Prompt Care now!) I opted for the closest one, Harrison Port Orchard Urgent Care: – across the street from Melissa’s Port Orchard office.

There I met Pamela Starling, ARNP and Tiffany Campbell, MA and was treated to an amazing medical visit… a culture taken of the infected area – a first of all the times I’ve seen medical folks in Kitsap County for the same problem…Harrison Port Orchard Urgent Care’s Pamela Starling, ARNP took a culture.

Tiffany Campbell expertly and loosely wrapped my right leg, I had a prescription for an anti biotic I had not had before and went home with instructions on leg care until the culture developed in a few days and Pamela promised she would be back in touch.

Pamela called on Tuesday, the 13th – she had the culture results. It was a serious infection requiring a different antibiotic.

A problem was that the antibiotic in tablet form was incompatible with another drug taken therefore the antibiotic had to be administered intravenously …in a hospital.

Pamela called my primary physician and she called me about the concern and recommended I go to Harrison Bremerton’s ER. After some confusion there, I was admitted into the “M” ward. Hooked up with IV’s, I was fed two different antibiotics.

The first thing I noticed was the toilet height – child size and I laughed. What I didn’t realize until I sat down and got up for the first time is how smart Harrison was to listen to their physical therapists.

The height is PERFECT for helping patients ‘leg up’ (build muscle) in the legs simply by sitting down and getting up from the toilet.

Harrison helps patients help themselves maintain or gain muscle while a patient in the hospital. They know muscle utilizes oxygen better than flab and the biggest muscles in the body are the upper leg muscles.

For years, my mother was in and out as a heart patient at Harrison. I was used to the sparkling, spacious modern cardiac ward and had not remembered the older section. The Cardiac ward is quite different from the ward I was in.

Once I learned it was not a ward reserved for pulmonary patients, I relaxed and opened my laptop.
Thanks to my first roommate’s visiting computer whiz son and granddaughter I set up my laptop in the hospital and learned how best to prop it up for typing.
The back of a pillow worked fine.

During the time Tuesday, 13th – Sunday, 18th I was a patient I had three different roommates – 3 different conditions.
I heard firsthand in the middle of the night or daytime, nurse and staff voices change from ordinary fun and interesting tones turned instantly into the perfect professional relating to the medical issues of their patients – patients with serious medical conditions I never knew existed.

The nurses, aids and staff reacted instantly, professionally and show kind concern doing jobs that must be difficult at times, I observed from the way they interacted with my different roommates.

The M ward is not an ordinary ward. The patients and their medical conditions were life and death – including operations – no two alike.
The ward held a collection of everything and the staff was ready in an instant for anything. They could and did handle whatever needed doing with immediate efficiency and professionalism. Their warmth and caring shone through everything they did.

The M ward and people I met there won’t be forgotten. I had a good time and enjoyed the people working there.

Something else Harrison has right is their volunteer group of dedicated people – one woman showed her 25-year pin for volunteering and I had two incredible hand massages – so relaxing. They were expertly done and complimentary from friendly volunteers.

The only thing I would do differently is supply my own low sodium V-8 juice -a funny story for another time.
Thank you …Pamela Starling, ARNP – you thought outside the circle and cultured my leg infection. You found – specifically – what infection I had in order to treat it with the RIGHT ANTIBIOTIC.

For anyone thinking edema is funny – a joke – take a look at something that can develop from simple puffy feet and lower legs and developed into one of the most relentless pain I have ever felt.

You can avoid it – talk to your doctor. Take edema seriously. I did not.

Following is the recent five-day quick turnaround Cellulitis/Lympthedema story in pictures.
(I have the pictures I want separated and marked in one folder – I HOPE – I can get them in order into this post)

Thanks to Joe Jack Davis, MD, Harrison’s Wound Care Center, for the idea of taking photos and his observations during his hospital visit. My photos have proven to be invaluable visuals of the healing process and I have been gathering them for a couple years. My husband is the photographer AND leg wrapper.

The photos here visually show how quickly the infection began to heal especially when I compare them with the past infections in my lower legs.
The right leg only completely healed a couple weeks ago – it went deep.

End of Part 1

Part 2 deals with the $11,376.32 loss to Harrison after two insurance companies paid $1,100.00 and $5,109.58.
How long can any business survive if they are compelled to absorb such losses? I discovered some answers from Harrison’s new Patient Financial Supervisor, Christine Warner.

Part 2 – More later… Sharon O’Hara

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