Dinner and a movie may sound like a typical date night. But for a recent trauma patient and
her husband, these activities were remarkable and represented the active compassion of Deaconess employee Arvie Webster, trauma resource clinician.
A woman in her late 30s was rushed to Deaconess after a car accident left her with a severe head injury. She was an Army warrant officer, and her husband, an Army sergeant, was stationed thousands of miles away in Afghanistan. Arvie, a former Army member herself, immediately felt connected to the woman, understanding the logistical and emotional difficulties of contacting her husband through the Red Cross and waiting for him to arrive at the hospital.
Several days after the patient’s accident, her husband arrived from the Middle East, spending a week and a half with her in the intensive care unit before she was moved to the Neuro Care Center. As she prepared to travel to a military hospital in Georgia for rehabilitation and her husband readied himself to return to Afghanistan, Arvie and NCC nurse Kristin Johnson decided to create a special evening for the couple. Arvie bought a pair of soft pajamas for the patient to wear instead of her hospital gown, and she picked up pasta and tiramisu from Biaggi’s for dinner. While the patient and her husband walked around the floor, Arvie and Kristin set up a card table and chairs in her hospital room, decorating it with a tablecloth and a candle centerpiece. The patient had just started eating solid foods again, and she raved about the tiramisu. She even got to watch “Shrek,” one of her favorite movies. The woman, whom Arvie described as soft-spoken, couldn’t stop smiling and chatting about the wonderful evening.
With their creativity and compassion, Deaconess employees transformed a standard date activity into a memorable act of caring for this patient and her husband, giving them a welcome break from the stresses of a long-distance relationship and wartime deployments.