The gala for Friends of Prentice was an “interesting” experience for me. It was the first time I was ever involved in a charity where I was one of the focal points of the fundraiser. This organization helps the hospital by raising funds for their programs. They had done many auctions throughout the night, but the last item was my story in video form being told in front of hundreds of people to try and raise awareness of what the hospital does for their patients and doctors alike.
They did not give me a chance to speak at the event, so I will say what I was going to say here and let everyone in the world know how important this institution is to me.
To say Prentice changed my life would be an understatement,
to say they brought me back to life, would not be.
Throughout my month long stay at prentice I was touched by so many departments, from cardiology to pulmonology and also departments I never heard of like, nephrology and interventional radiology to everyone in between. Not one time did anyone say they alone saved my life. They all said they worked with a great team. And when a patient transporter came in to take me to my dialysis treatment. He smiled and said “Mrs. Arnold, i heard you urinated today. I am so happy.” I knew that teamwork extended to everyone.
I realized, I too was part of that team and decided my job was to get better, beat the odds and talk about what happened to anyone who would listen. And people listened.
From Yahoo.com’s cover story to Good Morning America, medical newsletters, conferences and mommy blogs to the Steve Harvey show and The Doctors. Our Chicago story had gone viral. Seen by millions. Putting a spotlight on an already bright shining light that is Prentice.
So again, I say thank you. Thank you to my guardian angels in Dr. Julie Levitt (obgyn), Dr. Nicole Higgins (anesthesiology), Dr. Grace Lim (anesthesiology). A special thank you to Dr. Julian Schink (gyn/onc), Dr Hyo Park (obgyn) and everyone who had their hands on me, around me, and in me. Thank you to the people who prayed for me, for that one doctor who slipped in and out of my icu room to pray over me without being seen by anyone, Dr Kamel, and for communities around the world who came together to ensure my recovery.
Finally, I want to say thank you to Prentice, for just being there.
Without you, I think our story could have ended quite differently
On the car ride to the event, that very night, moments before entering the ballroom, I received this email through my website:
“I am due any day now with my 2nd and I have been crying everyday. I have this overwhelming feeling of dying in childbirth and now feel like I am going to have an afe. Everyone around me says I am crazy and have no support system. I am going to abad, small hospital and do not want to die. I dont know how to deal with thses emotions at all. Any help would be appreciated.”
I stopped everything and I called her. I was on the phone and email with her and talked to my doctors in person that evening at the gala. I had her talk to her hospital and to everyone who could possibly help assuage her fears and put a plan B into action on the off chance she was going to have an AFE. Dr. Levitt helped and so did Miranda Klassen. It turned out to be a “False Alarm” and she was fine, but it made me acutely aware of people in smaller communities, with smaller hospitals ill-equipped to handle this type of medical catastrophe. I was lucky to have been at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and I was lucky to have the doctors I had. And I am grateful this woman is alive and able to spend her life with her children.
My life has become such a strange, wonderful, enlightening roller coaster and I am learning to ride with it.
I can attest to the fact that “life is short.” I can also see that life continues on and what people find as awe-inspiring and uplifting can also eventually go back to normal. That I can get back to normal and that normal is good. That the attention off of a very difficult time in our lives is really good. And that my husband can have a conversation with someone that won’t start with “Oh my… how is your wife doing now?” It is especially a relief and a break for him. For my exterior to look somewhat normal and the interior to be on the mend. For the scars beginning to close and heal, to my pain subsiding. My psyche is better and my children are happy seeing me engage with their playtime more than I used to. Don’t get me wrong, I know it will be a while until I am 100%, but to even be here writing this, is a moment I don’t take for granted. When I am much stronger I will be doing more. Much more to help people in need and more organizations like Friends of Prentice.
Life is good. Really good.
I would really love to hear your moments of clarity. Anything that has happened to you that leaves you inspired to share your newfound knowledge with people who want to hear it. I want to hear it. I look forward to sharing with you.