Thrive by IU Health

August 17, 2020

Transplant patient: “The nurses were my lifesavers”

IU Health University Hospital

Transplant patient: “The nurses were my lifesavers”

At the worst of times, Angela Michael was so ill she didn’t think she could make it through another day. She credits the nurses at IU Health University Hospital with pulling her through to renewed health.

By IU Health Senior Journalist, T.J. Banes,

She spent her birthday, her anniversary, Christmas and New Year’s in the hospital. Time went by and each day Angela Michael wondered if she would ever leave.

Much of that time was a blur. She says she doesn’t remember a lot of details but she does remember the names of those who were by her side during one of the toughest times of her life. She was so grateful for their care and compassion that she wrote a letter hoping to recognize IU Health team members in the transplant and medical progressive care units.

It was four years ago when Michael first went to another hospital – her eyes were yellowed and tests showed her liver enzymes were severely elevated. She was told she had autoimmune hepatitis. Her body’s immune system was attacking her liver.

“I never had any family history and I had always been pretty healthy,” said Michael, 46. Growing up in Cloverdale, Ind. Michael played softball and was the eldest of six girls. At the age of 20 she had her first child and was a single mother for the first three years of her son’s life.

“I was the mother hen taking care of my siblings when we were growing up and until I met my husband it was just me and my son. I wasn’t used to having people take care of me,” said Michael. Twenty-three years ago she married Mike Michael and together they have four adult children ranging in age from 21 to 30. Before she got sick, the family enjoyed vacations hiking in the Tennessee mountains.

As her condition began to worsen, the hepatitis turned to cirrhosis. On December 21, she was admitted to IU Health University Hospital under the care of Dr. John Holden. December turned into January and January turned into February.

“He is awesome. Just the way he talked to me showed he was so caring,” said Michael. Her praise doesn’t stop there. “Taylor Madison was a nurse who was on the night shift. When my husband wasn’t there, she was by my side,” said Michael. Others caregivers she remembers for their kindness are nurses Kristy Fields, Brandon Lee, Jane Wood, and patient care assistant Austin Bratton. And the list goes on - Samantha McNew, Brandon Lee, and Catherine Parton.

On January 26, Michael received a liver transplant under the care of Dr. Chandrashekhar Kubal. “I am thankful to Dr. Kubal and also to my transplant coordinator Tricia Harris, clinical dietitian Darrien Harris, and nurse practitioner Lindy Meiser.

“I know I won’t remember everyone who cared for me because it took a team but I do know because of these lifesavers, I am alive,” said Michael. “When I didn’t feel like I could be poked, prodded, or tolerate another feeding tube, they were the ones who told me, ‘it’s our turn to take care of you.’ They encouraged me when I didn’t want to go on. They are the reason I am a walking miracle.”

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If facing end-stage organ failure, a kidney, pancreas, liver, lung, intestine or heart transplant will help you embrace life again.

Liver Transplant

If you have a condition that causes your liver to no longer work properly, you may need a transplant which replaces your diseased liver with a healthy, donated liver from another person.

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