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In the almost six years I’ve lived in Rangely, there are two very important things I’ve learned. First, it’s extremely easy to be critical of how things are done here. However, when I begin to look past what I think I know, I begin to see how amazing our community really is. When I started taking my wife to Junction, I had no idea how crazy the labor was about to get, but Rangely District Hospital was the best part of our entire experience!
We had no warning that my wife was about to go into labor. She was having contractions, but we weren’t even sure if they were the real deal and even she thought it would end up being false labor. She had just seen the OB earlier that day and he said the baby hadn’t even dropped yet, she probably had a couple of weeks to go. An hour after the contractions started, we decided to drive down to be safe, but only made it five minutes out of town when my wife’s water broke. Being new to this and not wanting to risk delivering a baby on Douglas Pass, I turned the car around and headed straight for the Rangely Hospital ER.
For starters, we were immediately greeted at the ER by nurses who were running to take care of my wife. They walked her into Triage, checked her vitals and began checking whatever they check to see how she was doing. By this point, my wife’s contractions were getting painful, especially since the labor was settling into her lower back. They moved us to an ER room and we didn’t wait long before Dr. Sutton checked the situation out. He told us that my wife was already dilated one centimeter and recommended we take an ambulance to Junction.
Our original plan was to go to Community Hospital, but we began having trouble getting them to take the transfer. While this prompted me to decide to go with St. Mary’s instead, it also began the process of waiting, waiting to get to a hospital while my wife was going through labor. This should have been a nightmare, but one nurse knew exactly what to do. Rangely didn’t have pain meds to help, but Jona began coaching my wife. Her demeanor was perfect! She wasn’t harsh or impatient, yet took charge of the situation in such a way that my wife instantly trusted everything she was told to do. She began to breathe correctly, using the proper low tones in labor groans, and Jona began a perfect back rub to help take my wife’s mind off of the pain.
So far, so good. My wife is feeling confident and we’re ready to get to Junction, but now it’s time to get into the ambulance. They strap my wife into the gurney and two realizations set in. First, my wife isn’t going to be able to move around much. This isn’t an attractive option when you’re in labor. Second, we have a huge possibility of delivering a baby in the back of an ambulance! This is when another nurse, Makensie, jumps right into the situation. She not only assures my wife of her past experience, but promptly jumps in the ambulance with us to ride down to Junction. Even though my wife is strapped to a gurney, she took the side of her back that I couldn’t reach and helped rub her back through every contraction. We rode in that ambulance for nearly three hours, the contractions started at around every five minutes and by the end of the ride she was going about every two minutes. You can do the math.
Once we got to St. Mary’s, we were rolled into the hospital, soon to be transferred to their care. They had some nice nurses who were fairly knowledgeable, but they weren’t nearly as loving and comforting as Jona. The ICU floor helped deliver our baby, but they didn’t build near the confidence and safety that Makensie did when we were in her hands. I was suffering a gout attack that was barely letting me walk the entire time we were down there. I only blipped the radar of the staff one time to at least get a wheelchair to help me catch up with my wife as she was rolled to the sixth floor. I came back to the Rangely ER where Dr. Tsu had me back to walking normally within a day to take care of my family.
I just keep thinking about everything that happened and I’m completely awestruck that of all the care we received, the absolute best was right here in Rangely, Colo. How does a town with a mere 2,000 people accumulate such talent? I’m a technical person and I can easy pick apart the people I don’t understand, yet when I got to experience a small taste of their world, I understood just how intelligent and experienced every one of them are. Rangely Hospital has the best nurses, the best doctors, the best staff, and from here on out, I’d gladly put them up against anybody else in the state. I’m incredibly thankful for this community and I hope I help others find the right things to be thankful about as well.