Patient Stories

As part of our brand transformation in New London, ThedaCare patients are sharing their stories about great care experiences.

 

Mike

MICHAEL –HIP REPLACEMENT

I lived with pain in my hip for about 6 months. It kept me from doing a lot of the things I liked to do. Even taking my dog for a walk was an ordeal. I finally decided to do something about it and get a hip replacement. When I talked to friends and co-workers, they couldn’t believe I was having it done in New London. They thought I’d have to go to a bigger city with a bigger hospital, but I grew up here and I’ve seen the kind of things they’re capable of doing. So I had complete trust in them. Now, every day I wake up pain-free I’m thankful for the choice I made. I was hospitalized for just two days and was up and walking and even doing stairs on the second day. I was a little sore from the incision, but for the first time in a long time, there was no pain in my hip. If I did have a concern, during my hospitalization, recovery, or any time after that, I knew there was someone I could talk to. I had the support of the entire network and there’s tremendous peace of mind in that. Now, I’m able to take long walks with my dog without pain. I thank them for that and so does Rufus.

 

Frank

FRANK - HERNIA

I’m an avid outdoorsman. So much so that I’d been living with a hernia and planned to have it taken care of after snowmobiling season, but before spring fishing. Unfortunately, my appendix had other ideas. I had some abdominal pains and went in for a check-up. Next thing I know, I’m being rushed to surgery for a rupture. In the process of recovery, I developed an obstruction, which also required surgery. Plus, I needed a complete repair of the hernia procedure. I ended up spending two weeks in the hospital. Obviously, there are places I’d rather be, but they made me as comfortable as possible. Not just physically, either. They made sure I knew exactly what was going on, which really put me at ease and allowed me to concentrate on my recovery. I’d never spent much time in a hospital and certainly not two weeks in a row. So, I didn’t really know what to expect. I didn’t expect the level of care I received. My doctor came in every day, including Saturday and Sunday. When you’re in the hospital so long, that kind of consistency matters. To see the same people day after day and to know they’re looking out for you, it really gives you peace of mind.

 

Jim JIM – ACHILLES

I was trail running when I stumbled and tore my Achilles tendon. I managed to drag myself to the nearest road and got a ride to the ER. When I got there, they took one look at me and told me I’d need to see a surgeon. I was injured on a Monday, called on a Tuesday and by Wednesday, I already had a consultation with an orthopedic surgeon and knew what I was facing. In fact, the doctor called me personally to talk about next steps so I had answers almost immediately. That goes a long way to keep doubt from creeping in. See, I’m an avid runner and I was worried it might be taken away from me all because of one misstep. I just wanted someone to look me in the eye and tell me exactly what was ahead of me. It meant the world to me knowing I wouldn’t be alone. I was sent to Appleton for surgery and all the therapy was done in New London. They communicate every step of the way and everything works together. That’s the beauty of the network.

 

GeneGENE – BROKEN BACK

I was cutting branches in a tree and fell 13 feet to the ground. I broke my back in two places. I also broke all the ribs on the left side of my body - every single one of them. I was helicoptered to the hospital in Neenah where I spent a month and then another five months in the hospital in New London. The road to recovery was a daunting one, but the doctors and therapists never made it feel that way. They simply explained to me what I had to do that day to start getting better, which makes it seem like a more manageable task. Plus, everyone was so enthusiastic and supportive. That kind of thing is infectious. You want to keep improving not just for yourself, but for them. I finally reached the point where I could have gone home, but I was still getting therapy three times a day. So I chose to stay in the hospital. Think about that for a second. After all that time, I could have finally gone home and I chose to stay. That tells you all you need to know about the hospital and the people who work there. By the end, they felt like family to me.

 

Cindy CINDY – 200 LB WEIGHT LOSS

After four knee surgeries I went in for a routine yearly physical that turned out to be anything but routine. In fact, it changed my life. My primary care physician suggested I take steps to control my weight. He then suggested what those steps should be and connected me to an entire team of people who would help. Dietitians, nutritionists, and physical therapists. All close to home and working together to get my weight under control. That was about 200 pounds ago. I now try to run a 5K race every month, which I couldn’t have imagined a couple years ago. Back then, even things as basic as doing the dishes was a challenge. I had to lean on the counter for support. But now, I have a whole new kind of support and I know I can lean on them whenever I need to. They’re quick to respond and are always looking out for me. That’s a pretty great feeling knowing you have people on your side.

 

Mimi MIMI – NECK PROBLEMS

I was living with chronic pain. I woke up every morning not knowing if it would be a good day or a bad day. Eventually, I just couldn’t take it anymore. As a ThedaCare employee for 14 years, I have seen the success they’ve had with chronic pain patients, but experiencing it for myself literally changed my life. My ThedaCare physician laid out treatment steps and he truly valued my input, too. He even involved my husband in the treatment. In fact, everyone works closely together. Doctors, nurses, physical therapists, all trading ideas and collaborating. That’s a lot of people to have on your side and it’s great to know I can contact any one of them and get a quick response. Now, I don’t have to live with that constant uncertainty. I can actually make plans all because of the commitment they made to me. To not have to constantly think about your pain, that’s a huge burden lifted. Not just from my back and neck, but also from my mind.

 

JackieJACKIE - VERTIGO

When I started feeling dizzy and nauseous late on a Friday night, I didn’t know what was going on. All I could think about was that my father died of a heart attack when he was 44. So, I thought it was my heart, which made for a pretty long ride to the emergency room even though it’s just a few miles away. We got there about 11:30 and the nurses had me sit in a wheelchair and asked me a series of questions. They calmly and patiently walked me through the next steps, reassured me and tried to keep my mind from racing. I may have been dizzy and sick to my stomach, but I wasn’t scared - not anymore. The doctor came in soon after and ordered some bloodwork and a CT scan. The tests revealed that I had vertigo, which would simply take some time to get out of my system. Given my initial fears, the diagnosis almost came as a relief. The doctor gave me a prescription to help manage the symptoms, which I was able to fill immediately at the Instant Med, even though it was now 1:30 in the morning. As we left the emergency room and I was being wheeled to our car, I was struck by how crowded the parking lot was. When I was being treated, I honestly felt like I was the only person there. And that’s a testament to the care I received. 

 

DeweyDEWEY- CHEMO ROOM

It’s true - “Do onto others as you would have done onto you”. This is what’s important to live. I’ve been on the board at New London, raising money and funds for many years. Not too long ago I was at a hospital fundraiser dinner and I listened to a woman talk about how difficult it was watching her mom go through chemotherapy because of how small the chemo room was. A few years back while my wife and I were at our home in Florida, my wife fell ill and was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Sadly, she didn’t last long. While at the fundraiser, listening to the woman talk about her experience in the chemo room, I was reminded or the chemo room where my wife was. It was large, private and almost livable. It was pleasant where the family could stay together and not feel cramped in. That’s when I decided I would help with it. I went to my kids and asked if they would mind if I donated some money. Not only did they not mind, they too put up some money. Now there’s a new Chemo room and for people going through a very difficult time it’s nice knowing that you provided a little peace. 

Don’t ever take things for granted.

 

AmyAMY- 6 KIDS

You know when you have as many kids as I do, six to be precise; you tend to know your way around a hospital. I had my first four children at other hospitals, but when I decided to have my last two at New London it was a breath of fresh air. They were so nice and so accommodating. It felt like home. I know it sounds corny, but it was sort of magical. In fact, the nurses and doctors I had for my last two children sort of felt like family.

It was just awesome.