"Mercy Saved My Life"
has been a Mercy employee for 20 years and loves her job as a Registration Specialist, but she never guessed that one day she would be on the receiving end of Mercy’s life-saving care after she suffered a massive stroke. Mary, who fills in wherever registration help is needed, was working in Main Registration at the Mercy Healthcare Center, when she realized she was not feeling well.
"It came on all of a sudden,” she said. “I just didn’t feel right. Having done registration in the Emergency Department (ED), I remembered a doctor asking a potential stroke patient to try to ‘make a big smile.’ I went into the bathroom and stood in front of the mirror and tried to smile. I couldn’t do it. I called a coworker and told her I thought I’d had a slight stroke. But I still didn’t realize how bad it was, so I kept working. As I did so, coworkers I talked with noticed I was jumbling my words, and they alerted my manager, Jeanne Relford.
Jeanne, angel that she is, came over and picked me up and took me straight to the ED at St. Vs. After we arrived there it is a big blur, but I know she saved my life. A doctor there told my family that if I had gone home that night as I’d planned, I would have died.”
What Mary thought was just a minor stroke was actually a massive stroke. Initially, she couldn’t walk or talk. But thanks to the treatment she received first at Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center, where she was cared for in the ED and then admitted as an inpatient for a month, then at Mercy St. Charles Hospital, where she spent another month, and at Mercy St. Anne Hospital, where she spent time after a fall while recovering, today Mary has made tremendous strides towards recovery. She is walking and talking, though still having some trouble with her memory, which has forced her to take a medical leave from her job, but she hopes to return one day
“I was back to work for a while,” Mary said. “When I went back, I did so intending to do the best job possible to thank Mercy for saving my life. I had an auto accident that seems to have set me back, and I am not sure now if I will be able to continue working, but I am not throwing in the towel yet. The way I see it, I got to work for one of the best hospital systems in the whole world, and I hope to come back to work. If I can’t, I will volunteer.”
Mary said she will never forget Jeanne’s actions in taking her to St. V’s ED last November, nor the kindness of her coworkers.
“I will forever be grateful to Jeanne for what she did – that to me was going above and beyond – it was not her job to come take care of me like that, but I would not be here if she hadn’t,” Mary said. “And my coworkers were amazing. They kept asking if there was anything they could do and let me know I was in their prayers. They even adopted me at Christmas. They gave me some money at a time I really needed it. That was such a beautiful thing. I will always remember what they did for me and will always feel that they are a second family to me. And I will always remember that St. V’s saved me. The ED there is absolutely the best place to go if you have a stroke. The doctors there saved my life, and the nurses were wonderful too. They just turn into angels when they are working – everyone there has a healing touch. I had positive experiences at every single one of our Mercy hospitals here in Toledo. Everyone was as nice as could be – I couldn’t have asked for better care, and they treated my family so well too.”
Mary said the stroke was a big wake-up call for her to take better care of herself.
“I am a diabetic, and I will admit that I was not controlling it very well before,” she said. “They taught me to be a better patient, and I am a different person now. I am completely compliant with my diabetes meds, and I am going to do everything I can to honor the work they did in saving my life – I am going to take care of myself and look for ways to give back for the wonderful gift I have been given!”
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