With more than 22 years of nursing experience, DeBary resident Joel Wilder, RN, thought he was prepared for a recent hospital stay. But the difference between being a nurse and a patient can be as great as the difference between a nursing uniform and an open-back hospital gown.
“I had forgotten how awful it was to be on the other side of the needle,” Wilder said, who landed at Florida Hospital Fish Memorial after a flu progressed to pneumonia.
What was awful, Wilder explained, wasn’t FHFM’s NoWait ER, where he said everybody was “really, really nice,” but the feeling of helplessness and fear he experienced as a patient. Having a clinical background does little to allay those fears, Wilder said, adding, “It might even make it a little worse.”
However, Wilder’s fears were quickly calmed by Christine Antolick, LPN, who sensed there was something wrong with Wilder that medicine alone could not cure.
“He was just very down,” Antolick said. “You could see the worry in his face.”
Antolick sat with Wilder, listened to his concerns and looked beyond the monitor, one of the most important pieces of equipment in a patient’s room. The monitor stands at the ready—an electronic medical soldier—recording heart rate fluctuations, arterial-blood gases, temperature, blood pressure and other important objective measurements.
Wilder knows how invaluable monitors are when it comes to his patient outcomes. But as one of his instructors once told him, “you can’t treat the monitor.” That lesson stuck with Wilder through his years as an operating room
nurse, and later as the administrator of a surgery center in Ormond Beach.
Antolick, who is currently attending school to further her nursing education, said that although there are “good days and bad days” in her profession, she always tries to empathize with her patients to bring them the best possible care.
“When you see someone who is in need of hand-holding or a kind word, you just react,” Antolick said. She was moved to tears that Wilder, who wrote a letter to hospital administrators about his hospital stay, had thought enough of the care she provided to tell someone about it.
Wilder also recognized Antolick through a generous donation to the Foundation’s Guardian Angel program. The Guardian Angel program is a special way to pay tribute to the caregiver who has made a difference in your life. Caregivers receive a special lapel pin and their names are published in hospital magazines and on our donor wall.
Antolick said she had wondered about Wilder after he was discharged; often, patients are discharged without saying goodbye. “You don’t stop thinking about them after you clock out,” Antolick said. “You’re always hoping that things have worked out for the best for them.”
In Wilder’s case, he is completely recovered and happy to be back to work at his business, Cruise Planners in DeBary. He said he is still very grateful for Antolick’s heartfelt care.
“She is doing what she was meant to do,” Wilder said. “Sometimes the hand-holding is worth all the medicine in the world.”
If you would like to recognize your Guardian Angel – the special nurse, physician, therapist or other caregiver who has made a difference in your life – please contact Camille Murawski at (386) 917-5525, or via email at email@example.com