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“Above and beyond.” That phrase came to Mike Brzegowy a few times as he explained why he gave a gift to the Indiana University Health Bloomington Hospital Cardio-Pulmonary Rehab Fund in honor of his care team.
The nurses and clinicians who cared for him after his October heart surgery more than exceeded what he expected.
“I’ve never had a better experience,” said Brzegowy, an operations research analyst who resides in Bloomington. “And for that reason, I had to give back. It is my way of saying thanks.”
For Brzegowy, this story starts in a common way: a persistent case of heartburn and fatigue turned out to be a heart problem. An EKG and stress test indicated a blockage. He scheduled a heart catheterization a few weeks out, but soon discovered things were more urgent. “They called the next day and said, ‘Get in here,’” Brzegowy said.
After a catheterization and stent implantation at IU Health Bloomington, Brzegowy’s worries were eased by IU Health Nurse Kylee Frye, whom he said had a knack for explaining things patiently, thoroughly and in layman’s terms. The time Frye spent with him and his wife, Laura, made Brzegowy feel the nurse truly cared about his health and his wife’s concern, too.
“It was sincere,” he said. “Her personality was a 10, treatment care was a 10, responsiveness was a 10, and her interaction with family was like an 11 or 12.”
Of course, Brzegowy’s surgery was completed in the context of high COVID-19 patient loads and a statewide nursing shortage—a recent study by EMSI/Burning Glass said there are some 4,000 open nursing positions across Indiana—but he said that didn’t seem to affect his care. “All of the nurses were caring, attentive and upbeat,” he said.
Brzegowy also has special praise for physician assistant Julianne Frey, who not only provided excellent care after his surgery, but really came through the next day, when he showed up in the emergency room with chest pain. Frey recognized Brzegowy’s name on an admissions list, hurried to the ER and, with knowledge of his condition, was able to come alongside the care team and help them diagnose the problem and address it quickly.
And that, he felt, added to an experience that was, simply, above and beyond. “I’ll never be able to say thank you enough…but by giving to the Cardio-Pulmonary Rehabilitation Fund, I hope that others in a similar situation will have the same, outstanding level of care I received,” he said.
Gifts like the one Brzegowy made to the Cardio-Pulmonary Rehab Fund make all the difference for patients recovering from a cardiac event. “These contributions support equipment and programming that empower our clinicians to deliver excellent heart care,” says Diane Buzzell, IU Health Foundation philanthropy director.
If you’d like to help cardiovascular patients like Brzegowy, contact IU Health Foundation Development Officer Emily Trinkle at 812.345.5625.