So, University of Maryland assigns two employees to you when you are assigned to the regular floor after surgery. First, you are assigned a nurse. The nurse has three or four patients to keep demands low and patient care doesn’t become compromised. The nurse brings you meds and can act as your doctor liaison.
You are also assigned a tech. The tech takes your vitals, helps you in and out of bed, brings you water, etc. The tech is assigned to a part of the floor. I was assigned to the transplant wing (lots of abdominal surgeries in that wing) instead of the cancer wing (they were full up). My night tech was named Melinda.
Melinda is my hero.
Melinda had a bedside matter that rocked. She was caring, considerate, and firm when she acted as my advocate. And she didn’t ever talk down to me just because I was sick. She dried my tears. She argued for my pain meds on a regular schedule (I had a nurse who decided I didn’t need pain meds if I was sleeping – don’t EVER get behind on your pain meds). Melinda was all around fantastic.
I was speaking with Melinda the morning I was discharged. Now at that point, I didn’t know I was going to be discharged. I had a rough night thanks to my night nurse, and Melinda had made sure I had my pain meds and made sure I was comfortable. My pain score (which was rarely above 4 when I was medicated) had gotten to 15 (on a scale of 10) during the night. While Melinda and I were talking, she was telling me that this was her third career choice. She was going to school to be a nurse, and was working as a tech for experience. I told her I thought she had really found her calling. We talked and talked – and I could honestly feel like outside of the hospital, Melinda and I could have been friends.
Finally, Melinda asked me where I worked. When I told her, she said, “Oh, my sister-in-law works there – I wonder if you know her?” And she told me her sister-in-law’s name. And I do, in fact, know her. Very well, as a matter of fact. Her sister-in-law is the VP of our department, and I work quite closely with her. I smiled and Melinda that Donna is one of the many women in the company I admire and she advocates for me quite a bit at work. I told her that I don’t know how Donna does all she does (Donna has two teenaged daughters who are competitive figure skaters, and serves herself on the board of many womens networks). Melinda laughed and said they called Donna and her husband the “overachieving Timlens.” I laughed somemore with Melinda over this, and then she left, saying she would be sorry to see me go, but she wouldn’t be back on until next week.
Yesterday, I got online to check a few work emails. While I was on, I sent Donna a quick email. I told her that I had the pleasure of having Melinda as my tech in the hospital, and that she had done a wonderful job, and really made my stay less horrible than it had to be.
Donna wrote me right back. She said my email had brought tears to her eyes (she was printing a copy to take to Melinda), that Melinda was trying so hard to find her place. There is no doubt she has. This job is a perfect fit for her.
Melinda – if you ever see this, thank you. Thank you for the care you bestowed on me. You are one of those “overachieving” Timlens as well.