BILLINGS — After an accident, the care you receive while recovering can make a world of a difference.
The Robertson family knows that better than most.
“In July of last year, our son Chet was in a near fatal motorcycle accident," said Chet's mother, Leslie Robertson, on Friday. "He was flown down here from Bozeman where they had him in ICU for six weeks."
Chet was in an induced coma for more than three weeks following his accident and suffered a traumatic brain injury. He received care at St. Vincent Healthcare in Billings and was flown to California for rehabilitation. Leslie states the hospital went above and beyond when helping her family throughout the difficult journey.
While accidents like this are never easy to navigate, things were made more difficult because Chet was living in Bozeman on his own, and the majority of his family lived in California.
"There was so much unknown. And all you feel is, I just need to get there," Leslie said. "But then when we got here and saw the level of care and caring that was happening, it was such a relief."
And while there were a lot of sleepless nights, Chet persevered and is now getting back to his normal life.
"When we had to go home at night, it was terrifying. Especially in the beginning because we didn't know what would happen," Leslie said. "I would call the nurse's station multiple times and never did they get annoyed with me or frustrated. They just answered my questions and reassured us that he's okay. Don't worry, we've got him, you need to rest."
The Robertson family all agree that the care both they and Chet received during his recovery was exceptional. That's why they gathered at the hospital on Friday to present a special sculpture.
"Our parents best friends started the Daisy Foundation and we really couldn't pick just one nurse to nominate. And the Healer's Touch sculpture is something they do on a special occasion when something is above and beyond," Leslie said. "It was really a way for something to be here at the hospital, for people to walk by and tell a story and make sure people have hope. And that they know that the caregivers, they're the ones that did this for us."
Chet, his parents, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends came to honor the workers that went above and beyond during a scary time.
Leslie stated the workers went out of their way to provide information, comfort, and support. She recalls one nurse bringing in a sound machine to help Chet sleep, and another gifted her a statue with a personal story behind it.
"I think for us, looking back on the people that were here and the care that Chet got, and that we got. Those are blessings," Leslie said. "And to stay connected with them and for them to know what they did for us, that's important."
Hospital staff were overcome with emotion as Leslie gave a thank-you speech before the unveiling of the sculpture.
“This is such a gift to us as caregivers because it reminds us what we do, makes a difference. And so the dedication of the Healer’s Touch statue really encourages and fills the cup. It reminds us that the people that are here, the families that we care for every day, are coming back and saying, ‘Thank you’,” said Melissa Filter, the chief nursing officer at St. Vincent Healthcare. “It’s just a great opportunity to celebrate the great work that’s done here every single day."
Filter said she worked closely with Chet and his family during the recovery and hearing them express gratitude meant the world.
“When Chet came into the hospital, he was very traumatically injured. And his family came in from out of state to care for him and to be by his side," Filter said. "And when we care for patients, we care for the whole family. And it was an emotional day because we were told the story from the family’s side of things."
To watch Friday's presentation, click here.
To learn more about the Healer's Touch sculpture, click here.
"Every time they came in, they talked to Chet. They explained what they were doing to Chet and that was incredible because he was still a human. He wasn't just a patient, he was a human being there," Leslie said. "The way they handled all of it is something we will never forget. Never. And he, he's here because of them."