Holiday weekends are supposed to be relaxing, leisurely and enjoyable, and a Memorial Day weekend on Weiss Lake had all the makings of an idyllic kickoff for summer until a slick sandal sent Tonya Howell tumbling.
Friday nights are reserved for dinner with friends who live nearby on the lake, and Tonya's husband, Jay, had walked on over. Tonya promised she'd follow after she fed a couple of pet ducks that now reside on the big lake. But, the walk to the lake ended in a horrific fall. Tonya said she knew immediately that she was in trouble. She heard the sound. Something was broken, and she didn't have her phone with her to call for help.
She tried to crawl to her house, but the pain was too intense. She gathered her thoughts. Another neighbor has a routine of sitting on the balcony in the evening. Tonya waited about 15 minutes, heard their voices and called for help. The neighbors came running, bringing their phone with them. Tonya called her husband, who drove her to Cherokee Medical Center.
Tonya began to dread the experience before she even got to the hospital. An emergency room visit on a holiday weekend with COVID-19 precautions in effect was sure to be miserable, she surmised. In Tonya's words, it was going to be “a mess," but nothing could have been farther from the truth.
From the moment the Howell's arrived, Tonya said she was the beneficiary of a well-oiled machine. Will Teague brought a wheelchair, and in less than 10 minutes, he had collected all of the information he needed and had placed Tonya in a room.
Once in the room, Tonya said the flow of personnel, service and tests was remarkable.
“I was just shocked," said Tonya, recalling previous experiences with her own teenagers who had needed help after minor and not-so-minor accidents on the lake that bisects Cherokee County, Alabama. Tonya saw Dr. Woody. Her leg was x-rayed, and the physician returned with a diagnosis. She had broken both her tibia and fibula. He stabilized her leg and transported her to Floyd Medical Center for care. Within an hour, Tonya was in an ambulance, headed to Rome.
Again, Tonya's expectations weren't especially high. It was a holiday weekend at a much larger hospital with pandemic measures in place. She was sure she'd be spending Memorial Day in the hospital, but again, Floyd surprised her.
Tonya was quickly admitted by a team of attentive caregivers. She had surgery the next morning, and was home on Sunday.
“There are no words to explain what a pleasure it was to have members of the Floyd team taking care of me," Tonya said of her experience. “From the minute we stepped into the ER in Centre and throughout the entire stay─the nurses, doctors, EMTs, food service, cleaning staff─everyone was amazing. The organization, responsiveness, and services far exceeded every expectation.
“It goes without saying that employees are a reflection of their employer. And all of the Floyd staff, from Centre to Rome, represent patient care, values and work ethic like I have never experienced. My only regret is not knowing the name of every single Floyd staff member I came in contact with so I could thank each of them personally. Thank you for allowing Cherokee County to be a part of the Floyd family."