12 MAKING A DIFFERENCE TUESDAY, MAY 1,2001 Endoscopy nurse there for patients, family Desaire helps thread the endoscopy tube through the throat of patient Brad Pearson. Pearson went throu^ an endoscopy to look for the causes of his acid reflux. ~ PHOTO STORY BY JENNY BRANIFF Wm ||| A fter 31 years, nurse Sheri Desaire can't tell this fl^B jH^^^ ^^^^ Hj^H^ HI HH^^^ story without crying. Her grandfather died of a ^I^^B ^^^^^k ^I^^^B ^1 ^I^^^B' to help she didn't know ^•^B j ^P^^ the next time someone needs me.'I may not be able to ^Hl W IH HI ^^t^ HH HB HH i^H ^H help Grandpa but I can help others like him," Desaire said. Today, Desaire is a endoscopy nurse at Salina Regional Health Center, helping doctors examine patients with a special camera that's mounted on a probe inserted through the patient's mouth or rectum. "She spends a lot of time with patients getting to know them, and they connect well," said Jerri Philips, a clinical supervisor of endoscopy at SRHC. "She is the kind of nurse that makes a difference at the grassroots with people at their worst, when they are afraid," said William Alsop, a physician at the hospital. Not only does she treat the patients; she treats the families of the patients. When the family gets bad news about a ioved one, a terminal illness perhaps, Desaire is the one supporting them and crying with them. "My patients are my priority," Desaire said, "but their loved ones are just as important; they need me too." Patients send letters to the hospital praising Desaire. "She talks to you like a real person, like you're her best friend," said Joyce Ingram, a former patient of Desaire's. "The way she treated me and talked to me kept me calm. She genuinely cared." Desaire spends as much time as she can teaching patients about a procedure before it is performed. "The more they know about what is going to happen, the less scared they will be," Desaire said. Desaire says humor heals. She smiles; her bright blue green eyes shine; she gives hugs and she laughs. "Humor is very therapeutic, it helps relax people," Desaire said. "When you laugh your tension drops." Desaire is also a wife and a mother of two daughters. Her husband of nearly 20 years, Marty, works for Salina Snack Sales. Kristin, a senior at Salina South High School, and Kendra, an eighth grader at South Middle School, are Desaire's daughters. She says family life is very important. She says she pushes her daughters to be their best but allows them to make their own decisions. "Desaire has never met a stranger," Marty said. "No one has met Sheri who hasn't walked away thinking she's been there their whole life," "She's caring," Kendra said. "When you need someone she's always there." After 21 years of nursing, former patients and staff at Salina Regional say that Desaire makes a difference. To Desaire, nursing isn'i just a job; it is something she puts her heart and soul into. "Nursing is my life," Desaire said. "My patients are my family The greatest reward is when a patient says, 'You made it easier,' and saying how much it helped having me talk into their ear or touch their arm." Desaire said that money's not the driving force behind her profession. "I still wish i could win the lottery, but you know what? Even if I did 1 would still work. I may slow down a bit, but 1 could never stop nursing." Desaire said a poem in a nursing catalogue brought her to tears one day It sums up her outlook on life: "If at the end of my life, someone says I made a difference, it was all worthwhile." Desaire collects Dreamslcle figurines and displays them In a case she received for Christmas last year. Doctors use endoscopy pictures to help diagnose problems In the digestive system. Desaire holds the pictures as she explains them to Brad Pearson and his wife, Bev. t;0 aSfe ABOVE; A former patient sent this thank-you card with six pink roses. LEFT: Sheri Desaire laughs with her husband, Marty, while they look through their wedding album. The two will have been married 20 years In June.
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