Grateful Patient Applauds Caring Staff

When Marilyn Spoeneman woke up one Sunday morning in August 2013 with lower abdominal pain and difficulty standing, she knew immediately something was wrong. The 62- year-old longtime medical administrative assistant realized that she needed to go to the emergency room – and fast.

Upon her arrival, Marilyn was met with compassionate care from nurses who just wanted to make sure she was okay.

“When I walked in the door, I felt like my family was here to take care of me,” Marilyn said. “I love this organization because it’s a not-for-profit hospital and they see you first to take care of you – they don’t ask you for insurance or paper-work. It goes back to the old ethics of being there for people – and they all showed up for me on that day.”

Marilyn was seen within minutes of arriving, and after assess-ing her vital signs, the emergency department nurse soon realized that Marilyn needed immediate care– her blood pressure was 80 over 40 and she was going into septic shock. After further examination, the medical team found that Marilyn’s colon had ruptured and she needed emergency surgery to save her life.

But Marilyn knew her life was in good hands – her husband Randy had taught at Arroyo Grande High School for 27 years and in many cases taught the children of the very nurses and doctors who were now helping his wife.

Marilyn had an emergency colostomy to repair the rupture and had her appendix removed. But after a fast recovery in the hospital, Marilyn wasn’t done healing yet. The hospital sent her home with a Home Health nurse who helped teach her about her ostomy bag.

Through it all, Marilyn remained vigilantly optimistic.

“There are worse things in life, and I’m just happy to be alive,” she said. “When you are sick, if all you do is think about the negative, you’re never going to get better. You have to think of the positive.”