Mendoza Family –  Our Personal Care Hospital

MendozaFor the Mendoza family, PCH doesn’t just stand for Prince County
Hospital – for them it has become the Personal Care Hospital.  Since
Mitchell (20) was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease in 2006, they have
become family at PCH.  When they walk into the Emergency Department or
the Maternal Child Care Unit, they are instantly recognized.  Over the
years this chronic disease has led Mitchell through PCH for treatment
and testing in the ever-growing need to understand and combat this
disease.  Whether receiving testing in the laboratory, being admitted
for pain through Emergency, receiving a scope or an iron infusion in the
Endoscopy service of Ambulatory Care, or spending time in Paediatrics,
Mitchell has become accustomed to the hallways of his personal care
It is this personal care received from their PCH family that has
carried the Mendoza family through tough times over the years. Mitchell
beams as he talks of care close to home and how it is truly his
community caring for him. “We knew 6 nurses personally when I was
first admitted. I knew 3 of my nurses in my surgery and even my family
doctor scrubbed in just to make sure everything went alright.  My next
door neighbour took my blood in the lab and I coached the son of one
Recovery nurse.  My best friend’s mom is an OR nurse.”

For quite a while, most of Mitchell’s treatments were at the IWK
until the services could be offered at PCH. Over the years, the family
has made over 80 trips to Halifax with their two sons. Because of his
medications, Mitchell’s immune system is weakened, a condition which
dictates much of his care today.  “If I get so much as a fever, I have
to go to the Emergency Department, no question.  I’m immediately
admitted over night.”  Cindy continues, “Can you imagine if Mitchell
got a fever and we had to travel for care? At PCH, we don’t have to go
through our story each time we arrive.  They look up and see Mitchell –
they know our family.”

With Mitchell’s condition, various drugs can be used to keep
flare-ups manageable, but after a while, many stop working.  “I tried
all the medications,” said Mitchell.  “Eventually I would become
allergic or they would stop working as my body built up antibodies to
them.”   This past year, the family came to a crossroad they had
discussed previously with PCH Chief Surgeon Dr. David Bannon.  After
receiving a scope on his lower bowel, it was deemed a Right
Hemicolectomy was Mitchell’s best option moving forward.  The tissue
in the worst section of his intestine was so constricted that it was
impassable for the scope.  This February Mitchell was brought into PCH
and had nearly 2 feet of his intestine removed and the ends reattached
by Dr. Bill Walker and in the Surgical Unit.

After recovering for one week in Surgery/Restorative Care, Mitchell is
now doing well, something the family credits to the amazing care from
their PCH family and from having this care close to home.  Alan Mendoza
stressed the importance of supporting PCH, “The more funds raised, the
better the equipment, the more opportunities for people to stay home to
have work done (surgeries and treatments).  We depend on them a lot.
People often ask how can you handle being in the hospital all the time
with your kids.  You don’t want to get used to it, but we know the
care and the facility are great and it makes it easier.” Cindy
continues, “You hate to have to go to a hospital, but when it’s PCH
– you can do it. They treat them like their own children and that’s
all you can ask as a parent.”