Picture Nebraska. Hundreds of miles of corn and soybean fields, occasional off ramps with no towns in sight, even off ramps to larger cities like Grand Island.
On Monday, August 28th, after a breakfast with Uncle Bill and Lisa, Mike, Marlin, and I drove to Des Moines where Mike picked up a rental car and headed to southern Iowa for a visit with High School friends. Our first night's stop landed us in the Walnut Creek Recreation Area in Papillion, Nebraska, where we enjoyed a long walk around the reservoir. All was fine until four AM the next morning, when Marlin woke with sharp and constant pain in his abdomen.
Confident it would pass, we continued west on highway 80. Along about noon, when it was apparent the pain would not abate, we found a KOA just outside Grand Island. The nearby walk-in clinic sent us directly to the emergency room at St Francis hospital where they quickly and efficiently diagnosed pancreatitis and admitted him at about five PM.
St Francis Hospital , Grand Island, Nebraska.
To our amazement, within an hour, the surgeon came by and explained that his gallbladder was causing the problem and needed to be removed. He could do it first things in the morning! At first Marlin wanted to put it off till we returned home, but the next morning his lab work showed that in spite of the medication they were giving him, the problem was increasing instead of abating. They put him on the schedule for 11:00 AM.
This is a visitors waiting room on his floor. He was actually on the pediatric floor, but they place surgery patients there when they have extra rooms.
Nice large bathroom
Before Marlin went down to surgery, his nurse told him there was a recovery nurse that was from New England and she was excited to have someone from the East here at St. Francis. She called anyone from the east, "My People".
While I was sitting in the surgery waiting room she came out because Marlin had told her that his wife grew up in Randolph, Massachusetts. She wanted to meet me because she also grew up in Randolph, Mass! We had a great time talking about Lynwood pizza, Zeppy's bakery, etc. You have to say "Small World" with capital letters.
Post Op. Not with it.
After a shower the next morning. Somewhat with it, but not totally.
The staff at this hospital was delightful. Everyone that came into the room introduced themselves and shook our hand. We never felt like anyone was in a great rush to move on to other duties, and everyone on the floor knew we were travelers stranded here by circumstance. It was a totally pleasant experience. (Except for the illness)
By Friday, two days after surgery, we walked around the campground for about 30 minutes. Improving by the minute. This will be an adventure we remember for a long time and "Nebraska" will never have the same meaning in the future..