Top left: Shiela Fulcher. Top right: Jamie Wells. Bottom left: Ashlee Rieser. Bottom right: Jan Gravit.
Nurses are involved in virtually every aspect of medicine. From admission to recovery, they see it all. Their experiences are joyous, sad, heart-warming and strange -- sometimes in a single day. Their work is life itself, from the newborn to the terminally ill and everything in between. Five Savannah-area nurses share some of their most memorable experiences. As one of them comments: "Every day is a new adventure."
Nurse Ashlee Rieser was working in the ICU unit at Memorial Health when a moment arrived to help a terminally ill patient fulfill a wish. “I was fortunate enough to be a part of a man's last wish before he died from terminally ill cancer,” explained Rieser. “He was a young man, mid 40's, who was diagnosed and given just weeks to live.” The patient was engaged to be married and wanted to marry his love before he died. The nurses in the ICU helped his wish come true and made the ceremony come to life. “It's moments like this that make the nursing career such a blessing,” she said. “To take part in someone's life fills my heart with emotion. It means the world to me to be the advocate for my patients so that they can have the best quality of life, no matter what it takes.”
Early in 2000, Jamie Wells was an ER nurse at Memorial Medical Center in Savannah. He remembers on particular night when the television reality series, “Trauma: Life in the ER” filmed at Memorial and captured on film a true medical miracle. “We had an adult male come into the ER with chest and back pain,” recalled Wells. “We did our initial assessment and I had come back in to check on him. I instantly saw he was very pale. When I inquired as to how he was feeling, he told me all of his pain was gone. That wasn’t good. I immediately called for the attending physician.” A cat scan was performed. Doctors caught a ruptured brain aneurysm and within minutes the patient was in surgery, and the bleeding was stopped. “The patient was in the right place at the right time,” said Wells. “It was a miracle we were able to save him.”
For Sheila Fulcher, one of her most touching memories is also one of the hardest to share. Fulcher was working as a labor and delivery nurse about 20 years ago. “I got a patient who arrived to the labor and delivery unit from her doctor’s office,” said Fulcher. Her physician arrived minutes later and did an ultrasound. He had confirmed what he thought in the office… their unborn daughter had not survived.” Fulcher remembers holding the stillborn infant. “She was perfect and so beautiful,” she recalled. “Dad broke down in tears when I bought his daughter to him to hold. Then I broke down. I spent a lot of time with them and their stillborn baby girl.” Fulcher cut off a lock of hair from the baby girl and put it, as well as pictures, in a baby book for them. “Months later I was at a church and ran into them. At that time I was pregnant and felt a little uncomfortable considering the way that we had initially met and knowing their circumstance,” said Fulcher. “We became friends and have shared many discussions about the loss of their baby. And through it all they have always been grateful for me. I didn't realize the difference that I made during their loss with the time, tears, and baby keepsakes that I shared with them.”
Serving as a nurse at the Rape Crisis Center is an enormous responsibility and for Jan Gravitz, it is also rewarding. “Being a sexual assault nurse examiner, all of our cases are memorable,” said Gravitz. “But, when I can give a victim of sexual assault a time that they feel safe and can make the thoughts of the assault disappear for just a few moments, that is what makes this job special.” Not only does Gravitz assists the victims, she also works alongside the detectives and the DA to provide the necessary documentation and evidence for a conviction. “When I know the evidence I collected helped the detectives make an arrest and the DA to prosecute, it’s what makes this job very rewarding” added Gravitz. “I do not have just one case that stands out as memorable. It's all the victims and their families that make it not only memorable, but life changing.”
Getting to play Santa is one of the perks for Melissa Lloyd-Wade. She recalls a very touching memory of an autistic man on Tybee Island. “I was taking care of a 57-year-old Autistic man who believed in Santa Claus,” said Wade. “He wanted an United States Army uniform, with the belt, the canteen, the hat, the jacket, the pants, and the boots.” Christmas Eve finally arrived. “He is trying not to fall asleep, but sleep is winning,” smiled Wade. “Santa came and left a big present for him. His eyes literally lit up like a Christmas tree when he saw the huge box with his name on it. He opened the box and inside was a United States Army uniform with the all the accessories.” The patient wore the uniform proudly almost every day. He was later moved to another facility to be closer to his family. “I miss him,” said Wade. “Nursing is not just my job, it's my life. If we could just focus on how we are alike, our differences will eventually go unnoticed.”
Being a floating nurse has its advantages. Campbell, a nurse at St. Joseph’s Candler, said she knows a little bit about a lot of things. “Every day is a different and new adventure,” said Campbell. “I float throughout the hospital. It’s very special when I prescreen a patient in one department one day and end up being their day surgery nurse another day.” Campbell sometimes will continue taking care of the same patient as they are admitted to the hospital after surgery. Campbell said it is very rare a nurse goes through several stages during a patient's hospital stay. “I'm honored,” she said. “It feels great to be able to be with my patient the entire way, by their side. Especially when they are discharged. I feel like I'm done my job, my calling - continuity of care.”
The Savannah community laced up their shoes and kicked off St. Patrick’s Day festivities in Savannah by joining the 24th annual March of Dimes Shamrock Run 5K! Everyone was wearing a costume and even brought out four-legged friends!
100% of the proceeds from the run benefited the mission of the March of Dimes to improve the health of babies through programs of research, community services, education and advocacy.
Hundreds turned out to Forsyth Park on Friday, March 10 to witness the annual Greening of the Fountain event hosted by the Savannah St. Patrick's Day Committee. Conducted for more than thirty years, this popular celebration signals the official kick-off to the Saint Patrick's Day Festivities in Savannah, attracting locals and visitors from around the world to watch the green dye being poured into the historic fountain.
This past Saturday, February 25th, guests joined Telfair Museums for their 37th Annual Telfair Ball! The event highlighted Savannah’s social scene, the Telfair Ball was open to Director’s Circle members, and all proceeds benefited Telfair’s exceptional exhibitions, educational programs, and art acquisitions. Guests enjoyed lavish cocktails, live music, exciting auctions, and dazzling lightshows as this illustrious annual gala celebrated Telfair’s vibrant history and supported the future of art and creativity in Savannah.
One Hundred Miles is a nonprofit coastal advocacy organization focused on preserving, protecting and enhancing the 100-mile coast of Georgia. Founded in Brunswick, the group is now expanding to Savannah. This grand opening was free and open to the public, offering food, drinks and live music by Cory Chambers of City Hotel.
Savannah is a river town, so what better way to get an overview of her harbor and port than to cruise with Savannah Riverboat Cruises? Celebrating their 25th anniversary, the towering red, white and blue traditional riverboats; the Savannah River Queen and Georgia Queen, both dock near the place where General Oglethorpe himself is thought to have landed. With years of experience in the maritime and hospitality industry, owner Captain Jonathan Claughton and his team focus on providing guests with the most unique tours and dining experiences with first-class service!
There are Jalapeños Mexican Grills all over the Savannah and Pooler area, but now we have our very own right in our backyard! On Wednesday, February 22 Jalapeños celebrated the Grand Opening of their seventh location here in Downtown Savannah on Broughton Street. The staff rang in their new restaurant along with its crowd by cranking out $1 tacos and pouring $1 beers all night. Jalapeños is known for its authentic Mexican cuisine and has been voted Best Mexican Restaurant. Make sure to drop in at any one of their seven locations to enjoy the true taste of Mexico!
I hope you didn't miss out on on your chance to participate in the happiest 5k on the planet, but, if you did, check out the scenes gallery from this colorful event that is taking the country by color storm! Hundreds of happy souls came out to the Savannah International Trade & Convention Center early in the morning on February 18 to upgrade their normal 5k to this technicolor 5k. Throughout the race runners were blasted with vibrant pigments at every color station along the course. You could feel the aura in the air; there was no question as to why this 5k claimed the name "The Happiest 5k on the Planet". Color Vibe is already selling tickets for their next race, so go to Color Vibe 5k Run to register today!
For almost a decade Loop It Up Savannah has been seamlessly weaving its way through the often hardened exterior of community driven public works projects, evolving into something more akin to a necessity than just a volunteer after school program. The Soup It Up for Loop It Up event on Friday February 17th, 2017 marks the first year of their signature fundraising event, in which local chefs competed for the title of the Golden Soup Bowl while generously raising funds to support Loop It Up Savannah’s programming for local youth and services to local families. “We have so many wonderful partnerships throughout the city that allow us to work with thousands of amazing children and families every year,” affirms Loop It Up's Molly Liberman. “Savannah has really embraced and supported us to grow into the organization we are proud to be --- through partnerships, volunteers and an amazingly generous base of donors.” Still, she persists, there is a lot of growing planned for Loop It Up in 2017. Liberman plans to extend programs into the City Of Savannah Community Centers as well as the Public Library. Adds Liberman, “We are also moving into a new space which will allow us to eventually offer onsite programming. Our goal is to deepen and widen our presence throughout the city. We believe that art and opportunity for bold self expression should be everywhere! Savannah is fortunate to have so many community centers and organizations, and we are proud to bring art into as many of them as we possibly can!”
The Savannah Book Festival Inc. (SBF) is an independent, nonprofit corporation led by a volunteer board of directors. SBF hosts best-selling and emerging authors in special events throughout the year, including a four-day Presidents Day weekend event that features talks by dozens of authors. The Savannah Book Festival is celebrating their 10th Anniversary with a record number of 40 authors scheduled to attend this year's festival starting on Saturday, February 18, which is free and open to the public. Taking place in seven venues around Telfair, Chippewa and Wright Squares, over 10,000 people are estimated to come to hear these well-regarded authors and fascinating new writers talk about their books this year. The opening Authors Party on Friday night at Jenn Library was a private shindig with some of the prominent authors of this year's festival in attendance.