Small acts of kindness in my care at Beebe
By Kim King
“I was diagnosed with lung cancer on April 30, 2019. All of my tests, my lobectomy surgery, my chemotherapy and follow-ups have been conducted within the Beebe system, and I am grateful for so many of those interactions. In October 2019, I was declared cancer-free.
For me, cancer hasn’t been so much a disease as it’s been a lifestyle. At least that’s been true for the past two years. I’ve had numerous follow-up tests, scans and procedures and, for me, the nearer the tests get, the more nervous and uneasy I become.
There were two reasons I was anxious about my most recent test. First, lung cancer has a very high recurrence rate, and this six-month test was the longest interval I had gone without being checked medically. The prior interval tests were four months. Second, with the contrast CT scan, an iodine-based dye is injected into the patient’s system. This allows the radiologist and oncologist to get a much clearer picture than the results of a regular CT scan. It requires fasting and swallowing a liquid that is the consistency of mucus and tastes really bad. It is also rough on the kidneys, so pre-bloodwork must be completed as well as drinking lots of water the two days before the scan. But least pleasant, when the dye is injected, it feels hot and it stings.
Mary Jo Cauley introduced herself as my technician on the day of my CT scan. As I lay on the table, we chit-chatted while she connected the IV mechanism to my chest port, and the technician in the other room tested the machine to make sure it was properly positioned to capture my thoracic area. Mary Jo told me she had done this work for over 30 years, most of it at Beebe.
After everything was all set, Mary Jo asked me to put my arms over my head. She moved out of sight behind me and calmly asked if I was ready for her to inject the dye. I sighed and said yes, but I was really dreading the injection.
All of a sudden, as I felt the liquid entering my vein, I also felt a warm, strong hand grasp mine. I squeezed it tighter as the dye started to sting, and I no longer was alone. I can’t even express the comfort that holding her hand brought me. I felt her compassion and caring, and that made my experience so much easier and less frightening. She had performed this procedure hundreds of times throughout the years, and yet she shared her heart as well as her expertise with a nervous patient.
There are many acts of greatness that we hear about daily. But there are also small acts of kindness that will never be forgotten by the fortunate people who receive them. I am one of those very fortunate people who received one of those small acts of kindness at Beebe. Thank you, Beebe – and thank you forever, Mary Jo.
Please make sure this letter makes it to Mary Jo and her manager.”
As a community-based, not-for-profit healthcare system, Beebe Healthcare depends on the generous support of the community it serves. To make a gift to celebrate the excellent care you or a loved one has received, visit Beebe Medical Foundation at beebemedicalfoundation.org or call 302-644-2900. Want to share your story? Contact Amanda Neal at [email protected].
Photo Caption: Mary Jo Cauley, left, is shown with grateful patient Kim King in front of the CT scan at Beebe.