By now I’m sure you’ve noticed it takes a hefty fleet to take care of me. And not just any fleet – a brilliantly competent team of doctors and nurses that handles the curveballs I throw almost every day. A team that is together on their toes. Because of this, I have the utmost faith in their care.
Why? Sure, it’s the Mayo Clinic. But what makes them so good? After nearly 5 weeks in the hospital, I can tell you a big part of it is their teamwork.
Every morning my hem/onc team visits, led by an experienced consultant and supported by a fellow, a few residents, nurse practitioners and my nurse. And they bring me on to the team, letting me in on the day’s problems and asking my opinion on solutions. They communicate to me how powerful my role on the team is. If I take responsibility for the simple, yet painfully monotonous daily tasks that patients often begin to forfeit – keep eating, do my four-times-daily mouth cares, keep on top of my mental care – I can accomplish far better outcomes.
And that’s just my hem/onc team on daily rounds. There’s a whole major league team back at the Mayo Clinic that is consulted and kept up-to-date of my stats, because every few weeks they rotate in and become my new team at the hospital. And if there’s a staph infection that’s a bit out of my hem/onc team’s expertise or I have leg pain they just can’t explain, without hesitation they bring in the infectious disease team or the neurology team and they become equal partners in my care. My doctors and nurses instinctively ask for each other’s advice and readily take it.
Many have suggested that Mayo Clinic is able to give this kind of synergetic care because its doctors work on salary instead of worrying about getting reimbursed for individual services. I’m no expert, but I don’t think the collaboration I see in my care could happen if they were paid on a fee-per-service basis.
And then there’s the nurses. Don’t even get me started on the nurses. If my nurse can’t jump at my beeping IV pole, another nurse jumps. I’ve lost all my privacy and any sense of body shame to my nurses, but I’ve been exposed to the most caring, think-ahead, comfort-first, confide-in-me caregivers the world has to give.
That’s why the last three days have left me feeling pretty good. I’ve kept the fevers pretty sparse but the naps pretty frequent. It’s tiring to grow bone marrow! My platelets keep hanging out too low – this morning they were at 7,000, so even rubbing my eye left me a nice lid bruise – but we’re working to bring those up. And I can fully walk again! Granted I’m a little wobbly, but when wasn’t I?
The “What Is The First Day That Jenna Is Going to Hit 500 Neutrophils?” Poll is flourishing on my room calendar. Apparently once my white blood cells start showing up in my morning blood work, that means my neutrophils are fast on their way. Once I’m at 500 for three days I can shift out of here and into the transplant house.
It better not take longer than this 🙂 Please only vote once. Winners get full bragging rights!
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