On May 14, 2019 I was an outpatient at Mount Carmel St Ann’s Hospital in Westerville, Ohio for the surgical placement of a pacemaker. A friend had taken me to the hospital with a 7:30 am arrival for a 9:30 am procedure. After I was prepared for the procedure staff called my friend to sit with me until I would be taken for the surgery.
Following the placement of the pacemaker I returned to the same room as before for a time of recovery and observation. The nursing staff allowed my friend to spend some additional time with me before he needed to leave for an appointment. But they told him that I would be ready to meet him if he would be at the main entrance of the hospital at 3:30 pm.
I rested comfortably for those several hours and even enjoyed some tasty food and at least one nap.
I remember looking at the clock at 3:00 pm and thinking that I was still in a hospital gown and had an IV in my arm. I began to wonder whether it would be possible to get dressed, go through all the discharge routines and still be at the main entrance by 3:30 pm. So I pressed the nurse call button.
The call was answered by somebody whom I had not seen previously that day, but she explained that my nurse was helping somebody else. Was there anything she could do for me. I explained about the 3:30 promise and asked about getting dressed and the discharge, but she said wait another ten minutes.
Then, she looked closely at me and said, “I know you!”
Quite honestly, I did not recognize her, but I told her all the units of the hospital where I had been in the last month related to my diagnosis and heart valve surgery and recovery.
No, she said, she had not been working any of those areas.
Well, I said, I had an aortic valve replaced in 2015.
“Yes,” she said, “I was working on One East at that time. I was on night shift the first night you were in the step-down unit and I was watching the monitors in the nurses station when you flat-lined.
I went running to your room and by the time I had gotten there you had come around all by yourself. Normally we need to do chest massage, but you revived all by yourself.”
She went on to tell how she called my wife with the update and how they transferred me back to the ICU for additional observation.
I had to acknowledge to myself that even though she recognized me after three and a half years, I did not recognize her. I thanked her profusely for recognizing me and for retelling that story.