Traumatic injury made less painful thanks to specialty care at ANMC and attentive Patient Housing staff: Part 2 – Comfort away from home

May 1, 2018

After traumatic injury sustained in a car accident near Fairbanks, Jaime Johnson traveled to Anchorage with his mother Hilda for specialty care the Alaska Native Medical Center Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) Clinic. Read Part 1 of the Johnsons story here.

Dr. Amalia Steinberg, of the ANMC ENT Clinic, wanted the Johnsons to stay in Anchorage for a follow-up appointment because of the difficulty of the surgery to repair the broken bone above Jaime’s eye.

They were not expecting an extended stay. Making things harder was the fact that Dr. Steinberg wanted Jamie to stay on the Alaska Native Health Campus, just in case more medical attention was needed following the delicate surgery.

Hilda was up late after the surgery. She couldn’t sleep and was watching over Jamie. Deciding to get up and stretch her legs, she walked to the front desk at Patient Housing, where she met Keith Avery, a Patient Housing front desk agent.

“I was talking to him about our room,” Hilda said. She was hoping to switch rooms and Avery wanted to help provide a comfortable stay. “He checked and [another] room had opened up.”

It was getting close to midnight and Avery immediately requested ANMC Security to bring their bags to their new room at Patient Housing.

“It’s very important to me since he was a younger kid who got into a car accident and I wanted them to be comfortable,” Avery said. “I’m from Hooper Bay so I know what it’s like to be away from home and want people to have a good stay. Sometimes it’s difficult to manage. I just try to share my love and give customer service the best way I can – make each guest feel at home and appreciated.”

Patient Housing at ANMC makes an unexpected stay more comfortable
They weren’t expecting to be away for long so they packed light. Thanks to the laundry services, Hilda could wash their clothes daily.

Since they couldn’t leave the grounds, they ate all their meals at either the ANMC cafeteria or the Patient Housing Café. During their stay, Hilda decided to make some improvements to her own health. Because of healthy options in the ANMC Patient Housing Café, she stopped drinking soda and has cut down on salt.

“I was addicted to diet soda,” she said. “But since they didn’t serve it and I was at the hospital for a week, I didn’t drink any and quit. Thanks to the stay, I’ve made positive changes in my health.”

Jamie is on the mend, too. He’s shown his toughness on the football field – he was named to the Alaska all-state high school football team on both offense, as a wide receiver, and defense, as a corner back. The North Pole High School senior standout football player recently received good news while recuperating – he signed a national letter of intent to play football at Valley City State University in North Dakota. He hopes to be fully recovered and ready to play as a wider receiver next fall.

It wasn’t an easy week, but thanks to the specialty care at ANMC, amenities at Patient Housing and attentive staff it was bearable for the Johnsons. They also made a new friend.

“Keith was so helpful, every time he saw us, he came over and hugged us,” Hilda said. “He made me feel like I had family there. He always was checking on us and letting us know that if we needed anything, we could go to him. I felt so much better knowing that the staff really cared because it was such a stressful time to watch my son go through so much pain. I knew everything was going to be fine and [Jamie] was in the best hands. But still being a mother to a child that needed help was really stressful. I really commend the people at Patient Housing for making us feel like family.”

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