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Jessica's Aspirus Story: 'I started to think I was at a spa'

Jessica Trevathen

After mowing her lawn one last time before winter, Jessica Trevathen, of Hancock, noticed a dime-sized bump on her left shoulder was inflamed and extremely painful to the touch. Within 48 hours, the mass had grown to the size of a golf ball. She immediately scheduled an appointment at Aspirus Houghton Clinic. Dr. Stephen Johnson confirmed that a strap on her clothing irritated the surface of the lump, triggering an infection beneath her skin. The pain was so excruciating “any sort of activities didn’t exist” and she could “barely even sleep at night.”

She was prescribed a 10-day antibiotic and advised to do warm Epsom salt compresses to help relieve the infection before her surgery on October 30 with Dr. Michael McAllister. Learning all about her options, she chose to be put to sleep for the procedure. Since it was her very first surgery, anxiousness and fear took a front row seat. That was until she met her care team at Aspirus Keweenaw Hospital.

“Right when we walked in the door the day of my surgery, everyone was super nice,” she said, mentioning Faye McMahon and how thorough she was in explaining how her husband could follow her procedure in real time on the monitors in the waiting room. “It was great because then he wasn’t just sitting there waiting and wondering.”

Within minutes, she was in the pre-op area, learning from her care team how the procedure would go and what she could expect, from the administration of anesthesia to recovery. She knew her comfort was a top priority from the get-go.

“I started to think I was at a spa,” she said with a chuckle. “They put these massagers on my legs and kept replenishing my heated blankets so I wasn’t cold. Next thing I knew I was back in the same room I started in.”

Before her discharge that afternoon, Jessica was thrilled to find out she didn’t have to take any kind of pain medications following her procedure. Instead, Dr. McAllister sent her home with a refillable ice bag that she could gently drape over her shoulder to relieve the pain and swelling. Sixteen days later, she was back in the gym working out and getting back into her everyday activities.

She couldn’t be more thankful for her care team – Dr. McAllister, Bob Myers, RN; Jasmine David, CRNA; and others – for making the experience as comfortable as it was and keeping her spirits up.

“Everyone was amazing,” she said. “I cried for about 10 days afterward just thinking about how caring and compassionate they were. They just made it an awesome experience. I wasn’t scared at all.”

Pictured: Jessica Trevathen enjoys an afternoon on the Tech Trails. 

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