- Find a Doctor
- Medical Services
- Patients & Visitors
- Classes & Events
- Health Library
- Why Choose Sharp?
Presurgery weight: 282 pounds
Current weight: 180 (9 months after surgery)
I apologize ahead of time for the length, but I am hoping this story will convey how amazing Sharp is. I was able to share it from a patient point of view, and now am able to share with everyone how Sharp’s care extends past the patient in what started as a 3 day stay in the hospital that turned into a 3 month adventure.
My father was scheduled to have surgery at Sharp Hospital. My mother and I decided to stay the long haul and wait at the hospital during his surgery. The staff members of the bariatric Sharp team are a close knit family. They extend the warmness to their patients. One employee in particular is Thomas. He found out that my father was in surgery and how nervous my mom was. Thomas would periodically come to the family waiting area and sit with us. He would do what he could in finding out information on my dad’s progress. He took time out of his busy day to try and do all he could to ease our anxiety and make us feel cared for. Just the simple act of sitting with us and keeping my mother’s mind occupied with conversation was a lot.
There was also an OR (operating room) nurse named Marge who was awesome. She would check in with us every 1 ½ hours and let us know the progress of the surgery and how my dad was doing. As the hours went by my mother became more of a wreck. Marge began to check in with her every 30 minutes due to my mothers anxiety. At the end of Thomas’s day instead of going home, he returned to the waiting area to sit with us while we waited for news on my dad. Finally my mother received the call that my dad was out of surgery. Thomas was right there with his arms around us as we found out the news that the tumor my dad had was cancer. He didn’t leave our side until they advised us that my dad had to stay in SICU (surgical intensive care unit) and only my mom could stay. I left the hospital with an ominous feeling that something was wrong, and I couldn’t have been more right.
At 2:30 am I received the call from my mother “Get to the hospital now! Your father is going to die!” she screamed into the phone. I hung up the phone as my husband asked me what was going on. I looked at him “my dad’s going to die” I said in a dazed confused voice. I remember just standing there with the phone in my hand. My husband was frantically getting dressed as I looked in my closet and said “I don’t know what to wear.” James, my husband, started throwing clothes at me.
We got to the hospital and my sister was waiting for me at the bottom of the elevator with a tear soaked face and puffy eyes. Not a good sign. We got to the floor where my dad was about to go into emergency surgery; there was a nurse waiting for us. They escorted us to the staff room where we would be more comfortable, and closer to the area that my dad was. That little bit of understanding meant the world to us. They understood that we did not want to go to the family waiting area that felt miles away from my dad, even though it was a few floors down. I later found out my dad hemorrhaged and had massive internal bleeding.
We spent an eternity in that room, or so it seemed. Then the door opened and in walked Marge, and she had donuts. She told us she heard what had happened and thought we might need a little bite to eat since we had been up all night. I mean seriously, WHO DOES THIS? We were at a hospital. There are hundreds of patients and family members. Yet she made us feel as if we were the only ones, and that the entire hospital was focusing on my father and us.
My father finally got out of surgery, and the doctor came to get us and allowed us to hold his hand as they brought him into the SICU. Later that day I was in the hallway by SICU waiting for the okay to see my dad. I hear “Jodie?” I turn and see the nurse that was my staging area nurse when I had my surgery. She asked me what I was doing there. I told her about my father while she was holding my hands. She drew me in and gave me a huge hug, then went in to see what the holdup was. She came out and had me follow her in so I could see him. She continued to check on him and us.
The next month was an ongoing struggle for my dad’s life. Thomas would text me every day asking me how he was doing, he also continued to visit my mother daily since she refused to leave my dad’s side. I spent most of my days and night mostly supporting my mom since my father was in a coma. And every single time I’d walk into SICU the nurses would have a huge smile and a hug for me. They quickly became part of our family, and cared for my dad as if he was part of theirs.
Finally my dad was able to be moved out of SICU. During the next two months, I developed a great friendship with the nurses that cared for him. I was there every day and looked forward to seeing them. They always took time to hang out in the room joking around with me, and sharing stories. They always were very patient in explaining all that was going on with my father. They constantly asked us if there was anything we needed or anything they could do to make us more comfortable. And of course Thomas was there for us during this whole ordeal, consistently visiting my dad which was beyond anything I could expect. More than once my father would slip into a depression, and Thomas was there to comfort him. Marge even came in to check on my dad. She would write on his white board a hello to us as well if we were not there.
One day I was waiting for the elevator, and a nurse grabbed my arm. “Do you remember me?” I sure did! It was my day nurse that would walk and gossip with me while I was in the hospital. She even remembered my room number. “You look amazing! I only recognized you because of your husband. I can’t believe how much you have lost,” she said with amazement on her face. She then had me go to the floor I was on, and all my nurses remembered me and hugged me. It really felt amazing inside that these nurses remembered me and still were cheering me on. I then ran into her about every other day. It was awesome.
After a long journey of highs and lows, tears and laughter, my dad’s journey was over. He was being released. He was very nervous about going home since he had been in the hospital for three months. The nurses reassured him patiently over and over. They reminded him that they will always be there if he needed them. As they wheeled my dad out, all the nurses were there lined up clapping, cheering and hugging my dad and us. It was a bittersweet goodbye to the best team of nurses and doctors I could ever know.
We periodically go back to visit and bring goodies. We never will be able to thank these awesome people enough for what they did for us emotionally and physically. As a patient and a family member, I can truly say I feel extremely lucky to have been in the hands of the Sharp [Memorial] Hospital team. Even months later, they remember me and cheer me on. The bariatric team supported my family when we had a crisis. They have been there for me since the first day I decided to have the surgery. You are not a number with them, just a dollar amount or another patient, you are family …and will be forever. Follow more of Jodie's ongoing weight-loss journey.
For More Information
If you would like to start your own weight-loss journey at Sharp Memorial Hospital, learn more by attending a free informational seminar. To register, call 1-800-82-SHARP (1-800-827-4277) or register online at Sharp weight-loss surgery seminar.