An Unforgettable Anniversary

January 8, 2019

In 1968, Dave and Vicki Schindele stood before family and friends and vowed to care for each other “in good times and bad.” Little did they know that they would be fulfilling that promise 50 years later in St. Jude’s Emergency Department (ED), on the eve of their Golden Anniversary.

It was Wednesday night when Dave’s left ring finger began to swell. By 2:30 a.m. Thursday, he was in enough pain to wake his wife and go to the ED. “He never complains, so I knew something was really wrong,” Vicki recalls.

Walking through the doors of the emergency department began a chain of events the Fullerton couple won’t soon forget. A patient care technician promptly greeted them and attended to them for the rest of the night. “Extraordinary” is the word Dave uses to describe her and the care he received from St. Jude’s ED team.

“They were sensitive and gentle while figuring out the right solution,” remembers Dave. “They were even able to save my wedding band without cutting it off.”

That extraordinary care would continue over the next 36 hours, as a team of physicians and support staff worked quickly and meticulously to treat Dave’s septic arthritis, a serious and painful bacterial infection of the joint. After stabilizing the infection with antibiotics, a consultation was scheduled that same morning with Allen Tham, MD, a board-certified orthopedic surgeon specialized in hand surgery. Upon confirming the severity of the infection, Dr. Tham recommended Dave for surgery that following afternoon.

“I was impressed by how seamlessly everything flowed from the time we entered the ED to the care I received following my surgery,” says Dave. “If it weren’t for the expertise and efficiency of the team at St. Jude, my outcome may not have been as good.”

A particular moment stands out to the couple after Dave’s surgery. Upon realizing the two hadn’t eaten all day, one of the nurses arranged for a special anniversary dinner in Dave’s room. “They had everything but the candle,” remembers Vicki. “St. Jude made sure we were taken care of not only medically, but personally.”

The final hurdle would be getting Dave home in time for their big anniversary party on Saturday. Friends and family had flown in for the occasion. But Dave needed to start a week-long course of antibiotics delivered through an IV. Without missing a beat, the staff timed his last hospital infusion for 2:30 p.m. so that Dave could be discharged at 3 p.m. in time for the party at 6 p.m.

For the Schindeles, this experience was a reminder them of why they have supported St. Jude over the years. “Sustaining high quality care in your community is critical because you never know when you will need it yourself,” explains a grateful Vicki. “Because of St. Jude, we were able to celebrate what we had been looking forward to for over a year. We can’t say thank you enough.”

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