John Cwalina - Bronson Healthcare
"These nurses went way beyond their job descriptions."

John Cwalina had not seen a doctor in more than 20 years when he began having trouble breathing. After an EKG at the Family Health Center, he was transferred to Bronson Methodist Hospital via ambulance. He was struggling to breathe and had difficulty swallowing, and was finally diagnosed with arrhythmia, which is a fast, irregular heartbeat. He had a cardio version procedure which cardiologist and electrophysiologist Joel Reinoehl, MD, with Bronson Advanced Cardiac Healthcare converted his abnormally fast heart rate to a more regular heart rate. 

“Dr. Reinoehl really educated me. I weighed more than 220 pounds, much of which was water weight. I should have known something was wrong,” he said. He previously had little education on how to care for his heart. He listened to the doctors and asked a lot of questions to understand what had happened to his heart. 

During preparation for his heart procedure, testing found blood in his urine and he was diagnosed with kidney cancer. He then had surgery to remove his kidney and received chemotherapy treatment at West Michigan Cancer Center. 

John said that most patients expect a certain level of professionalism from nurses. “Of all the people I’ve encountered since October, I was just so impressed with the nursing staff. As an inpatient for three weeks, I saw many of the same nurses, and they would come from other units just to say hello. These nurses went way beyond their job descriptions,” he said. “I have a list of names of people I encountered,” he said. “But I won’t forget Tami. This nurse sat with me after the doctor told me I had cancer and became my instant best friend. All the nurses shared personal things with me, about their families and helped me enjoy some humor during that time.”  

Additionally, oncology nurse navigator Kelly Kulczyk was instrumental in teaching him about kidney cancer and what it would do to his body. He said it was that education that helped prepare him for his visit to West Michigan Cancer Center. 

John says he was blown away by everyone he encountered during his hospital stay: nurses, patient care assistants, food service workers, environmental services associates and others. And listening to all the doctors and nurses who educated him is what helps him lead a healthier life today. He is now cancer free. 

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