Here I am at the Utah Artificial Heart reunion dinner last weekend. Since I’m a cardiac nurse, I take care of patients with artificial hearts and mechanical heart devices, LVADs (left ventricular assistive devices). The people who run the program at the hospital I work at have a big dinner for the patients, families and staff once a year.
This year I was recognized and given an award, as were two other nurses (Jeanine and Sally, pictured above), for contributions and care for mechanical heart device patients. It was fun going to the dinner with my wife, and seeing a bunch of patients I’ve taken care of who now have heart transplants. I also saw some family members of patients who have passed away. It was really good seeing everyone and was an inspiring night.
We had several speakers (patients, doctors, and nurses), but the last one was a nurse who was in a medical helicopter crash and survived, while the other two people died. He spoke about his injuries and his recovery. He can finally walk again, but it’s been a huge struggle. Stein and his wife Michelle spoke about the ordeal and their main point was: focus on the things you can do.
I remember the night when the helicopter crashed. Stein was on the chopper and his wife was working in the ICU on my floor. When we found out what happened it was a huge blow to everyone’s morale. We all just felt sick. But Stein lived and two or three weeks after the crash he left the hospital with Michelle. They spent their last full day in the hospital in adjoining beds. She was giving birth and he was in a bed holding her hand in the delivery room. They took their new son home with them and the real struggle began.
Listening to them speak was great.
Paul Genesse RN BSN
Point of Care Manager
Cardiovascular 3 at Intermountain Medical Center
Salt Lake City, Utah