12 DAYS OF GIVING
GRATEFUL PATIENT SPOTLIGHT
Sylvia Rudy is a Grateful Patient…
When you’re gravely ill and not able to take care of yourself, the highly trained medical professionals at the Brant Community Healthcare System (BCHS) are there to make sure you receive the care you need to regain your health.
Sylvia Rudy was very ill this past summer and was grateful to have the specialized staff in the Critical Care Unit (CCU) at the BCHS available when what she thought was a summer cold developed into a more serious health crisis.
A cough and fever were wearing on Sylvia, and as the days went on, her condition did not improve and she was weak and had no appetite.
“I was at a point where I wasn’t thinking rationally anymore,” said Sylvia. “I truly was a mess.”
One day Sylvia’s husband John arrived home to find her in a state where she was conscious, but unresponsive to him. John called for an ambulance.
Sylvia learned later that the emergency services personnel noticed an odour around her when they arrived. The odour was ketones – such as a person with diabetes may experience on their breath when their blood sugar level is high. It is often described as smelling like fruit or nail polish remover.
“I didn’t know I had diabetes,” said Sylvia, who had noticed the smell in the air herself, but tried to get away from it whenever she encountered it – not knowing it was coming from her own body.
The ambulance personnel recognized the problem right away. Later, tests showed Sylvia’s blood sugar level was just over 68 mmol/L . Normal blood sugar levels are between 4 and 8 mmol/L. Her blood pressure was also very high.
“The only thing I remember over the next two days was being on a stretcher in the elevator, and feeling what was going on,” she said.
One of those elevator rides took Sylvia to the Critical Care Unit where nursing staff were working to bring her around and focus her mind on the present. They asked her questions such as the date and where she was in order to gauge her clarity of mind.
Sylvia received two CT scans to determine if there was any indication in her brain as to why she wasn’t clearly responsive and engaged.
In the end, it was determined Sylvia had severe pneumonia, an infection in her lungs that also wreaked havoc with her blood sugar.
“Bit by bit, I started coming around.”
“I don’t think anybody could have cared for me better than the nurses did,” said Sylvia, grateful for them always checking on her and always giving her whatever she needed.
“They were so positive, encouraging me to get going again. They’re so busy in the CCU, but they looked after every little thing. They kept saying it was their job, but they always treated me and my family extremely well.”
“Once I started getting up and walking a few steps, I could see that everyone in the unit got the royal treatment. Everyone was treated as well as I was.”
It was the CCU nurses who started to teach Sylvia about diabetes and how to check her blood sugar levels and administer insulin. She also received training with a counsellor from the Diabetes Education Centre at the BCHS who advised Sylvia about such topics as healthy eating, active living, medications, monitoring and reducing her risks. She had to understand it all and be able to monitor her blood sugar levels before she could go home and start to manage it on her own.
“They all made sure that I knew everything I needed to know,” she said.
The encouragement of the doctors, nurses and educators made Sylvia feel confident she would fully recover from this health crisis.
“They left no doubt in my mind that I would be back to myself again,” said Sylvia. “I was still quite weak when I went home. It took me a long time after this experience to get back to myself again. But now I’m feeling better than I have for a long time.”
As Sylvia has learned first-hand, when crisis or illness impacts you or a loved one, the Brant Community Healthcare System is here to offer you exceptional healthcare in your time of need.
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