Reflecting On Lesser-Known Legends

by Debbie Simon, UnityPoint Health

As we reflect upon our Local Legends and their extraordinary contributions to our region, I’m reminded of some of the legendary work happening at UnityPoint Health. In my role as Regional CEO, I am fortunate to hear from many people who have been touched by members of our team. Most of them don’t have notoriety or name recognition, yet they make extraordinary differences for people every day. They step in during times of fear or uncertainty for patients and their loved ones, helping them get through an illness or procedure with a little less anxiety, and a lot of support. I’d like to share a few especially moving examples with you.

The first comes from a mother who recently received devastating news: her young adult son had been diagnosed with a brain tumor. The family is from a small town without access to neurological services, so the son was taken to UnityPoint Health – Methodist and admitted to our Intensive Care Unit. That’s when our nurses stepped in.

During this family’s 10-day stay, our nurses surrounded them with loving and compassionate support. When a drain had to be inserted into the patient’s brain, our team made him comfortable and eased the concerns of his mother. They also found a room for the mother in our Methodist Inn—a special area of the hospital that provides private accommodations to out-of-town families. In expressing her gratitude, the mother wrote this to me:

“I just want you to know how the staff of UnityPoint Health – Methodist made the worst situation I have met in life bearable. This experience is proof that good can be found in the bad.”

I received another letter from a woman who had to say goodbye to her stepfather. He was reaching the end of his life, and the family that had gathered was facing difficult and emotional decisions. Again in this case, our team stepped in and made all the difference. They took time to explain to each family member what was taking place with respect and patience. I learned of the care they provided when I received an email that said this:

“I have never felt so cared for in a hospital… We will miss him terribly, but he had a good life. Thank you for all you did, and thank you for what the hospital does to give patients and their families the very best care.”

When a family was letting go of a husband and father, again it was a nurse who got them through it. Here’s part of a letter they shared with me:

“Our nurse responded to the urgent call in his room when there was a crisis. It was evident from the moment she began helping him that she considered being a nurse something more than just a job. We looked forward to her being there every day because we knew she would… help us through whatever we were facing. She was an angel sent by God and we will never forget her.”

The nurses in these stories aren’t well-known. You wouldn’t recognize them on the street. But to the people they’ve touched, they’re legends. I want to challenge us to reflect on the lesser-known legends in our own lives. Who has made a lasting impact on you? It could be someone who helped you start your own business, a mentor who helped you carve your career path, or someone who held your hand during a trying time. These people likely aren’t well-known or celebrated. But to us, they’re legends. iBi

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