Kim Filer's Story
Sometime in 1987, after a bout of bronchitis, I noticed a lump on the right side of my neck. At first I ignored it thinking it was a swollen lymph node due do my illness. When it did not go away, I went to see my family doctor. I was told not to be concerned, that it would go away.
In 1988, I was an employee at GBMC as secretary to Ms. Jeanne Smith, director of the operating rooms. I had also become friendly with many of the OR nurse managers and other staff as well. One day, I noticed that the lump on my neck had become larger and also felt a swollen lymph node in my armpit. My food began to taste very salty. I sought out the advice of Mary Knapp, RN, Nurse Manager of the ear, nose and throat (ENT) OR. Mary advised that I be seen by the very best team of head and neck doctors at that time, physicians called Jaques, Hirata and Saunders. Mary called Dr. Darrell Jaques’ office and I was seen immediately.
Dr. Jaques informed me that I had a parotid tumor. The parotid gland is our largest salivary gland. Dr. Jacques was very concerned because the tumor had been there for more than one year. I was scheduled for surgery within days. As I drove away from his office, I was in tears all the way home. I now had to tell my family, and one of my biggest fears was that I had a three-year-old child. I was so afraid that my baby would grow up without a mother.
On the day of my surgery, I was surrounded by angels as I lay on the OR table. These angels were my anesthesiologist, William Loeliger, MD; Darrell Jaques, MD; Mary Knapp, RN; Jeanne Smith, RN, and the OR technicians. They held my hand and reassured me that all would go well. I then drifted off to sleep. When I awoke in the recovery room, those same angels were standing over me, holding my hand and telling me that I was fine. Dr. Jaques had spoken with my family and I just had to rest.
When I fully recovered from the anesthesia, I found out that my surgery had taken close to six hours. The tumor in my parotid gland was wrapped around most of my facial nerves. It was because of the expertise of my doctors and their surgical skills that I had not lost any feeling in my face and all of my facial nerves were intact. The right side of my face was drooping and Dr. Jacques told me that my face had just gone to sleep for awhile but would wake up in time. And, in time, it did. I regained full function, and yes, my tumor was benign.
Even though I knew the entire team who cared for me, I also know that I did not receive any special treatment. These angels of mine always treated every patient with the same loving care, concern and professionalism that I received.