They saved her life, then made her much better.
That, of course, was the No. 1 goal.
But Kelley Mooney of Charlottetown is thankful for so much more.
The popular performer was admitted to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital on Jan. 2, 2013.
She was in bad shape.
She had ulcerative colitis, an inflammatory disease that can affect the entire large bowel. She had lost 20 to 25 pounds in the weeks leading up to what would prove to be a lengthy stay at the hospital in Charlottetown.
“Quite a bit needed to be done,’’ she recalled in a heartfelt interview with The Guardian.
“I was a pretty sick little girl as my mother said.’’
She was also scared.
She had never been admitted to a hospital before. She did not know what she was in for.
Turns out Mooney was in for two surgeries, plenty of pain and discomfort, fear and great concern, along with a nine-week stay.
She first went under the knife on Jan. 31 for a total colectomy – removal of her entire bowel. The surgery resulted in an ileostomy, which is an opening in the abdominal wall.
There were complications. She went in for surgery again a couple weeks later. That proved to be a life-saver.
Mooney knows she owes her life to the staff of the QEH.
She also has immense gratitude for the small army that cared for her in such a caring manner.
“Everyone was just really kind and compassionate – and it was evident to me that their first concern was my well-being, mentally and physically,’’ she said.
Individual interactions were both memorable and plentiful.
Hospitalist Dr. Jill Cunniffe leaps to mind for her high level of compassion in the careful manner taken to explain to Mooney, at one point, the severity of her precarious state.
“She was just lovely,’’ said Mooney.
“I’ll just never forget the look on her face. She was so empathetic. I could tell she didn’t want to tell me how dire it was. It was the way that she told me that we are out of time and that there were five doctors consulting on the case. She could feel how I felt, and it was her empathy for me in my situation that made it easier to go forward with the decision (to proceed with surgery).’’
Being caring, she said, just seemed to come naturally to the hospital staff.
Mooney was touched deeply by the special gesture of one nurse with whom she was not familiar.
The nurse knelt very close to Mooney as the patient was being wheeled into surgery. She whispered in her ear “Can I pray for you?’’’
That proved most comforting.
“And she didn’t know whether or not I was a spiritual person,” said Mooney, adding that she is.
“So that was a risk on her part. For her to want to do that and to offer it, it was just another layer of protection that everybody was giving me across the board.’’
Mooney said her experience at the hospital has opened her eyes to the challenges staff face every single minute of every single day. The fact she received such a high level of care – both medical and personal – greatly increased her level of respect for all the people working at the QEH.
She felt compelled to tell her story to the media and to have it shared during the QEH/Eastlink Telethon this weekend, where she will be performing live in a songwriters’ circle with fellow entertainers Catherine MacLellan, Nick Doneff and Logan Richard.
“I want to because (the QEH staff) deserve good news stories,’’ she said.
“I feel very, very grateful that I was able to come through that and I know it’s because of them…they were all fantastic.’’
Tracey Comeau, CEO of the QEH Foundation, said while the mission is to raise funds for priority medical equipment, it's the stories of grateful patients that demonstrate the true impact of donor support.
“This year we found a perfect fit when Kelley agreed to share her journey about her nine-week hospital stay,’’ said Comeau.
“Knowing that Kelley had written a song specifically about her time at the QEH, we felt this would be the ideal time to profile it during telethon weekend.”
Tune in and donate
- The QEH/Eastlink Telethon will bebroadcast live on Eastlink Community TV 10/610 beginning today from 12 to 9 p.m. and continuing on Sunday, May 26, from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m.
- Funds raised will help purchase a new CT scanner for the hospital’s Diagnostic Imaging Department.
- The telethon will feature inspirational stories, entertainment, donor cheque presentations and much more.
- Everyone is encouraged to tune in and call to pledge support. To make a gift online at any time, visit bit.ly/qeheastlink2019.