My "Glimmer of Light": A Riley Heart Center Story

Jaime Robbins
Staff members like Susan have helped me stay positive during my Riley journey.

Second Family

I became a Riley Kid when I was just two days old. I feel lucky that Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health has been a second home to me for as long as I can remember. I feel even luckier to be able to call the staff at Riley my second family.  Throughout the years, I have bonded with this second family more than I could have ever imagined, especially with arrhythmia technician Susan Gude.

The Extra Mile

When I hear the phrase “going the extra mile,” the first person who comes to mind is Susan. Not only does she ensure that I have the best medical care, she also makes my appointments special. Every time I have a check-up, Susan makes sure that she is the one to do my EKG. She has always known what school I attend, what activities interest me and who my friends are. She has gotten to know everyone in my family. Susan is like this with everyone, which is why I hear amazing things about her from every patient she meets.

A Helping Hand to Hold

Growing up, I had a lot of issues and limitations because of my heart condition, yet I was always able to control my heart rate thanks to medication. About two years ago, I was no longer able to control my heart when it started to go into flutter – it would beat rapidly without ever decreasing. Eventually I needed three cardioversions, a second open-heart surgery and a pacemaker.

A cardioversion is when you are put under anesthesia and your heart is electrically shocked back into rhythm. This is not Susan’s specific area of work, yet every time I went through this procedure, Susan would go to the operating room with me. She would just stand there and hold my hand or talk to me until they put me under. I never asked her to do this, she just did.

Glimmer of Light

Susan rarely shows up empty-handed when she visits. Here are just a couple of the stuffed animals she has given me.

Last year my cardiologist decided it was time for a second open-heart surgery. I spent 12 days recovering at Riley. Susan visited me almost every day during my stay, even if that meant skipping her lunch break. She never came by empty-handed. I have received about 10 stuffed animals from Susan just this year. Even though I was 18 when I had my surgery, I absolutely loved those stuffed animals. I still look at them and they remind me of Susan, which is about the most comforting thing someone could do for me.

I know Susan knows how much I appreciate her, but I will never be able to thank her for everything. She has always been a glimmer of light when life became dark. I am so lucky to call Riley a second family, and I am beyond grateful that Susan is such a big part of that family.

Riley Blogger

The Riley Blog is written and/or edited by members of the Riley Children's Foundation Communications Staff.

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