“I would take all your Wyoming nurses back home with me”

October 18, 2023

Alan and Cindy Andrew and their daughter, Amy, stopped by CRMC in mid-September to thank the providers, nurses and others who had cared for Cindy earlier in the summer.

In early August, Cindy Andrew and her husband, Alan Andrew, traveled to Cheyenne from their hometown of Des Moines, Iowa, to see Cindy’s sister, Diane. The couple knew that their visit with Diane might be their last, as Diane had suffered several strokes and was receiving hospice care at home.

Cindy and Alan were able to visit with Diane on August 2. “We got to spend a wonderful evening with her,” Cindy said.

The couple planned to return to Des Moines on August 5. But Diane’s condition deteriorated the night before, and she was moved to the Davis Hospice Center, where she passed away early the next morning.

“We thought she had more time. It was a huge shock,” Cindy said.

Cindy and Alan went to the hospice center so that Cindy could sit with her sister and say goodbye.

“I wanted to be with Diane for as long as I could,” Cindy said.

While she was at the center, Cindy started having chest pain. Cindy took the nitroglycerin she carries with her due to a heart condition, hoping it would help.

“I’m stubborn and didn’t want to leave,” Cindy said.

When the pain continued, a nurse at the Davis Hospice Center asked if she could take Cindy’s blood pressure. “It was through the roof,” Cindy said. The nurse told Cindy that she needed to go to CRMC’s Emergency Department.

The first thought was that Cindy might have broken heart syndrome, in which intense grief and sorrow can trigger a heart attack or other heart issues.

At the Emergency Department, tests revealed that Cindy was having a heart attack.

Cindy would later be admitted to CRMC’s sixth floor Telemetry Unit, where she would stay for the next several days.

“It was the worst day of my life,” Cindy said. “But I received the very best care.”

‘Everyone here was wonderful’

Cindy Andrews thanks some of the Telemetry Unit and Hospitalist staff who had cared for her.

Cindy, Alan and their adult daughter, Amy, returned to CRMC in mid-September to celebrate Diane’s life with her friends and family. But they also wanted to stop by CRMC and thank the providers, nurses and others who had cared for Cindy.

Cindy shared that she was initially struck by the kindness and compassion of the Emergency Department staff and providers.

“Everyone here knew the situation, and they were all so compassionate, from the minute we walked through the door,” Cindy said.

She was also impressed that the physicians and nurses in the Emergency Department and Telemetry Unit “really listened” to her: “They listened to all of my fears and my needs. They took what I had to say seriously.”

In one instance, Cindy told staff that she was allergic to the contrast dye that would be used when they took an image of her heart. She requested an antihistamine to help prevent a reaction. “They listened to me, and that doesn’t happen in the bigger hospitals where I’ve been,” Cindy said.

On the Telemetry Unit, one of Cindy’s nurses, Kaylyn, told her they were going to give her an anti-anxiety medication to help her sleep. Cindy was worried about how the medication might affect her.

“When she gave me the medication, Kaylyn sat down next to me and held my hand until I felt calm enough to fall asleep,” Cindy said.

“The nurses checked on me all the time,” she added. “You just don’t get that kind of care in other places. If I could, I would take all these Wyoming nurses back home with me.”

Another instance of caring was from a nurse in CRMC’s Cardiac Catheterization Lab. The nurse, who Cindy called a “big teddy bear,” comforted and reassured Cindy before, during and after the procedure.

Cindy has two stents from a previous heart catheterization. The CRMC procedure required that a third stent be placed to open another blockage in one of her coronary arteries, to restore blood flow through the artery to her heart.

“It was in the artery that they call the widowmaker,” Cindy explained.

“I swore I’d never have that procedure again,” Cindy said. “I was so nervous about it, but he helped get me through it,” Cindy said of the Cath Lab nurse.

Alan also had nice things to say about CRMC.

“Everyone knew the situation with Cindy’s sister, and they were all very understanding,” he said. “Many of them remembered her sister because she’d been in and out of the hospital so often.”

Alan was also allowed to stay in Cindy’s room for the three nights she was on the Telemetry Unit. “At first I wasn’t sure what kind of care I might get,” Cindy said. “I am not a healthy person and have had a lot of bad hospital experiences. I needed him to be there with me.”

Cindy with several of the CRMC providers and staff who had cared for her.

Another positive experience was that Cindy’s interventional cardiologist, Dr. Abdur Khan, took time to let Alan know what was done during the catheterization procedure. “I was impressed that Dr. Khan took time to show me what he did and what had happened to her,” Alan said.

Amy said she was relieved to know how well her mom was being treated during her stay: “I asked if I should come out. But my mom said that wasn’t necessary. That she was getting really good care.”

When Cindy and Alan returned to CRMC with Amy in September, they brought a cake for the Telemetry Unit, to show their thanks. And they each took time to hug and personally thank several of the nurses as well as a hospitalist, Dr. Sai Gundepalli, and the interventional cardiologist, Dr. A. Khan, who had cared for Cindy.

“They are all angels,” Cindy said. “And we want each of them to know how grateful we are as a family. If we could, we would give them and your hospital the highest award.”