Dick and Jeanne’s Story: We are grateful to the many doctors, nurses and staff who touched our lives

“Our lives were laid bare on your hospital floor. You picked us up and put us back together, bringing my husband back from the brink of death’s door.” -- Jeanne Writt

It was the morning of our youngest son’s wedding day. Family had arrived from all over and 200 guests were on their way to the venue. But Dick had not been feeling well for most of the week. Thinking it was the flu, we visited the clinic in Clintonville hoping they could help get him through the wedding. But it wasn’t the flu. Dick was seriously ill although no one was quite sure why yet. He was immediately sent to the emergency room in New London where his health deteriorated quickly, then was transferred by ambulance to Appleton emergency department and admitted into intensive care.

Dick was always healthy, walking 2-4 miles every day with no real medical history. Now he was as sick as you can get without dying. Cultures would show a rare, group G strep infection. We’ll never know how or where it came from. Ultimately, doctors discovered an infected mass in his heart that eventually required open heart surgery…but only after he was strong enough. Dick was tethered to IVs 24/7 for eight weeks while doctors addressed a host of problems including kidney function, low platelet counts, and fighting the infection with antibiotics. Meanwhile, with every beat of his heart, the mass would bulge through the tricuspid valve. If it broke away, it could kill him. It was terrifying. Finally, they operated, removing the mass and repairing the valve.

There are so many doctors, nurses, and staff who touched our lives over this 71-day journey. We are grateful to them all for their expertise, kindness, generosity, and compassion. We’re thankful we were in the right place, at the right time with the right people.