Ms. Myra Tompkins,
It is with a heavy and broken heart, along with the greatest respect and admiration and more love than imaginable, that I write to you tonight. You see, around 1:00 AM on Tuesday, March 10, my Daddy arrived at your facility via ambulance from UNC Lenoir Hospital in Kinston. He remained in your unit until late at night on Friday, March 20, except for a few hours on one day when he went to the step-down unit. I can only imagine that you hear a lot of complaints from patients and their families. However, this is by far a complaint! And I’m sure that you could use some positive thoughts right now.
First, everyone I spoke with via phone for those 10 days was exceptionally nice, kind, patient, understanding, everything. Dr. Gonzalez, Dr. Mullins, Dr. King, and Dr. Harryman all went above and beyond and out of their way to keep me informed. And they always explained things so I could understand them. They all had time to talk with me and to answer any questions I had. I was most impressed when I continuously received calls from my Daddy’s doctors!! Usually, it is a nightmare to get to speak with a doctor. They called me constantly, and I am so thankful and blessed! All the nurses were on top of it as well. I could not have asked for more sweet, nice, polite, understanding, compassionate girls. However, two of them really touched my heart and soul.
I’ll start with Laura. I first spoke with her on March 14th. Immediately, I knew she was the “real deal.” I could hear the love, concern, and compassion in her voice. She always had time for me. I talked with her countless times from the 14th to the 19th. She always explained everything that was going on and even asked if I wanted to speak with the doctor a couple of times when I called. I had many questions and comments, and at times I just needed someone to talk with and to listen to me. Laura did exactly that. She went so far out of her way to be friendly, sweet, caring, listening, explaining, and always said that I could call her any time, day or night. She even arranged to transfer my calls to Daddy’s room when I would call, so that I could talk with my Daddy – even though he was not able to respond back to me. I remember talking with her that last day, and she told me she was going to be off the next day. I laughed and told her she could not be off because I wanted to talk with her when I called the next day! That is the impact she had on me. She sounded very young on the phone, and I told her that she needed to remain in nursing because it is her calling. She is full of love, concern, compassion, and has empathy – just as it is supposed to be. Vidant is beyond blessed to have this girl on their team!
Next is Courtney. This girl is an angel! I met Courtney on the phone on Friday, March 20. I honestly do not know where to begin to describe her. She’s just an angel! She will forever hold the most special place in my heart and life! Around 6:15 – 6:30 PM, I had called to check-in on my Daddy. He was not doing well after being taken off the ventilator and they were expecting a bad outcome. So, I asked if they could put me through to his room, so I could be with him when he passed. No problem, they did. But, after a short time, someone accidentally hung up Daddy’s phone, not knowing I was talking to him. I immediately called back in a panic, and Courtney answered.
In detail, I explained the situation, because she had just started her shift. Immediately, she got me calmed down and transferred my call back to Daddy. This was around 7:15 PM. I noticed the entire time I was talking to my Daddy, I kept hearing scuffling-type noises, and I knew that it was because my Daddy was being fidgety and was moving about in the bed, and the phone was being shaken about. What else could it be, right?
What else could it be???? Not could be but WAS…it was Courtney!!!
She told me that she held the phone for my Daddy the entire time!!! I had no clue anybody was in the room with my Daddy, except God! I do not know this girl, but I love her with all I am!!! To know that she stayed with my Daddy for my entire conversation, which was a little over 2 hours, is the greatest gift!! To know that my Daddy did not pass away by himself brings me the most peace and comfort. I just cannot put into words the love, respect and gratitude I have for this girl!! Its unexplainable; indescribable! And that’s not all – she told me that she was holding my Daddy’s hand when he passed away. I write this with tears in my eyes. She is an angel!!! To know that as my Daddy lay in that bed, unable to talk with me, he heard my voice and felt her hand. Thank you, Jesus! Thank you, Courtney! I did not ask her for anything but to transfer my call so I could be with my Daddy when he took his last breath. She took it upon herself to stay with him, comfort him, and holds his hand for me. WOW!! She deserves the absolute best that can be offered. I pray that Vidant will recognize her for me!
You see, I am an only child and a die-hard Daddy’s girl. I am also a cancer patient. I had tongue cancer in 2017 resulting in surgery for a total glossectomy, have been on a feeding tube since surgery, and currently have spots on both lungs and am in active chemo treatment. I am at very high risk for any germs, much less this coronavirus that has invaded us. That being said, I was not able to see my Daddy at all. Not one time did I get to see him. I was 400% dependent on Vidant and its staff to “see” my Daddy through their eyes. I explained my situation to everybody when I spoke with them for the first time. That way, they knew why I wasn’t coming, but they could expect calls from me every day.
It was beyond difficult on me, not being able to see my Daddy; especially when I faced reality and knew he was slipping away from me. I had to take care of myself, though, because there was nothing I could do to help my Daddy. I know it was God’s plan, and I did not need to see my Daddy hooked up to all that stuff, nor did I need to see him on his dying bed. But knowing all that does not mean it didn’t and doesn’t hurt me. It did and it still does. Always.
But through Laura and Courtney, an awful situation was made better. And I know in my mind and feel in my heart that Laura would have done the same thing, but she was off that day. I felt so badly for Courtney, though, because she told me it was her first time working with my Daddy. I’m thankful God placed her in Room 203 that Friday night! God bless Courtney. She’s my forever hero!
From the daughter of the patient in Room 203