You can change someone’s world with one simple act of kindness.
Earlier this month Pennsylvania Hospital (PAH) maternity nurse, Lynne Dever, RNC, was going about her work day when she noticed her patient – Alison Paymer of Philadelphia – was in great distress.
Other than being pregnant with twins, Paymer’s pregnancy had been normal. However, multiple gestations increase a mother’s risk for preeclampsia – a particularly dangerous form of high blood pressure brought on by pregnancy that arises after the 20th week. For Paymer, though, preeclampsia wouldn’t arise until after she delivered two healthy baby boys – Zachary and Jake – via cesarean section on May 4.
“Four days post op and we had to extend her hospital admissions another day so we could continue to manage her unstable blood pressure,” said Peter Gearhart, MD, a clinical assistant professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
This extra day stay meant that Paymer would have to miss attending a Mother’s Day breakfast and tea at her three-year old daughter Maddie’s school. “My mother took Maddie to the tea and afterwards, sent me all these pictures,” said Paymer. “She meant well, but it just made me even more upset to miss such a moment.”
Overwhelmed with her current situation, Paymer was breaking down. “I went in to see Alison because I knew she was really upset,” said Dever. “I mean she was sobbing, and it was causing her blood pressure to rise. I went in this time to see her not just as her nurse, but to speak with her mom-to-mom. I wanted her to know I understood how she felt and tried to calm her down.”
Then Dever got to thinking. She called Paymer’s husband to see if he was bringing little Maddie in to see her mother that afternoon. He was. “I thought, if Alison and Maddie couldn’t have their tea together at school, then let’s have it here,“ said Dever.
Dever recruited help from staff at the Pavilion at PAH to pull the tea together. “They were really excited to be a part of it and Brenda (Patient Facilitated Services Concierge Brenda Hicks) told me, ‘Oh Lynne, we’ll make it look real nice, don’t worry!’”
And they did. Staff pulled together an attractive array of sweat treats for both mom and Maddie, including ice cream with special toppings. Nursing and Pavilion staff wheeled in a serving cart with the surprise spread into Paymer’s room. “Oh, I was crying. The nurses and everyone, they were all so sweet,” said Paymer. “They are all so busy to begin with and to take the time to pull this together for us…it is literally something we will remember forever. Something like this, it just makes such a difference.”
“This small intervention helped highlight the importance of a special event in this family’s life. It exemplifies the caring spirit of our nurses that I have grown to appreciate over my years at Pennsylvania Hospital,” said Gearhart. “Lynne’s compassionate care and time spent with this patient likely went a long way toward helping to stabilize her blood pressure and preventing her from developing postpartum depression.”
Photo 1 caption: Alison and Maddie Paymer and Lynne Dever, RNC.