Friday, February 22, 2013

Letter of Gratitude

The following is a copy of a letter recently sent to Dr. Hey expressing our gratitude.

February 17, 2013

Re:  Ashley ________
Date of Surgery:  05/31/12
Diagnosis:  Scheuermann's kyphosis
Surgery:  T3-L3 instrumentation and fusion

Dear Dr. Hey,

Just wanted to drop you a note with an update on Ashley's recovery.  She's now almost 9 months post surgery and nearing the end of her senior year and very busy.  Most amazingly, she's not had to take even a Tylenol or ibuprofen for back pain this year.  No more low back pain or neck pain at the end of a school day as before.

She is so relieved to have this surgery behind her, and she is really enjoying her new posture.  She comments from time to time that she can hardly believe it's corrected.  We are amazed at the difference in the way clothing fits her.

Sitting on bleachers for sporting events used to really aggravate her back as well as make her very self conscious about her hump-backed appearance.  She now does this with no problems, and her posture is near perfect.  Ashley's primary consideration for surgery, was increasing discomfort, but as her parents, Johnny and I now know that it was affecting her emotionally more than she was admitting.  We had all become quite used to Ashley's posture before surgery, and it was only after surgery and witnessing the improvement that we realized just how much of a deformity she had prior.  Since surgery, I have caught her in a full-length mirror just staring at her back and posture and remarking that she can't believe it has been corrected.

Well, enough about us.  Let's turn the spotlight.  Our thankfulness to you, in addition to Leslie, the entire OR staff, your office staff, and Duke Raleigh Hospital cannot be adequately put into words.  Thank you, Dr. Hey, for allowing God to use you in such a special way.  He has truly granted you great knowledge along with extraordinary skill as a surgeon.  From our first visit in your office in 2008, we knew we had found the right physician for Ashley, and we are forever grateful to you for your care and compassion. You always took the time to answer our questions in great detail and we never felt rushed.  Further, we were relieved to find that you were not just surgery happy.  From our first call to your office back in 2008 to the calls after surgery, each were handled professionally and timely.

I cannot close without commenting on Duke Raleigh Hospital.  Ashley's entire care team was amazing.  Their knowledge, medical care, and compassion was unsurpassable. It was truly a humbling experience.  We can honestly say that we did not have even the slightest issue with any part of her care.  We never encountered a moody personality, a lazy spirit, a rushed demeanor, or a pass the buck to the next shift attitude.  The staff was both professional and personable.

Please accept our apologies for this long overdue note.  The link to my blog for Ashley's surgery is  I really did intend to document more, but days pass so fast.  Still, I think it will provide future patients some good insight.

One last note…I noticed the post you wrote about holding clinic out in the garden at Duke Raleigh.  That garden holds a very special place in our hearts, too.  On May 31st during Ashley's surgery, Nurse Kelly had just telephoned with an update that the osteotomies were beginning.  The updates were so appreciated. An hour can literally seem like a day when you are waiting for news of your child's progress while undergoing surgery.  There is a very odd (for lack of a better word) feeling that comes upon a parent when they are told, "About half the screws are in place," or "the osteotomies are beginning."  Perhaps we had done too much research and knew too much detail about what all this meant and what actually was taking place in our daughter's body.  When Johnny received the call about the osteotomies, I could sense his heart was weeping on the inside.  He asked to be excused from family and took my hand and we walked out to the Duke Raleigh garden and there under the arbor, Johnny and I emptied our hearts out to God.  We were emotionally deplete.  There was absolutely nothing we could do for our baby girl but pray, and pray we did.  God met us there in that garden in the darkest hours of our lives.  So, when you talk about the garden being a special place, we too can attest to that.  I couldn't help but think about Jesus' prayer in the garden before His betrayal. After Ashley's six week followup appointment, we revisited the garden, only this time Ashley walked with us as vibrant as ever before, and there in the same spot, we as a family prayed and thanked God for his extravagant mercy and grace upon our lives.

Dr. Hey, our prayer is that God will continue to strengthen you and use your talents to impact the lives of others.  May you and your family be blessed for the sacrifices we know both you and they must make for this to be possible.  We thank you from the bottom of our hearts!


The _______ Family
Johnny, Crystal, and Ashley Brooke

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