On the morning of March 12, 2020, Ted Klumb climbed the stairs of his basement and met his wife René in the kitchen. As they began talking about where they should go to dinner that night to celebrate her birthday, Ted suddenly felt dizzy, nauseated and numb.
His wife grabbed the car keys and they headed to Froedtert Menomonee Falls Hospital, a five-minute drive away. As he stood at the entrance of the Emergency Department looking for his insurance card, nurse Jennifer Thiede saw him and immediately knew he needed help.
“Get him back here now!” she commanded.
Her voice is the last thing Ted remembers.
Ted knows he’s lucky to be alive and he considers Jennifer his health care hero.
“Without a doubt, she saved my life,” he said.
In March, as the country began shutting down because of the pandemic and the hospital prepared for patients battling COVID-19, frontline health care workers continued to treat patients for trauma, heart attacks, strokes, cancer and many other serious illnesses and accidents.
While COVID has been the focus for the last nine months, other illnesses certainly haven’t stopped. All the while health care workers have responded, caring for all types of patients.
As Ted recovered from surgery, a nurse mentioned that he had been very close to a full heart transplant. Jennifer’s expertise and experience as a longtime nurse served well in the moment when she saw Ted.
“When Ted came into the Emergency Department I knew it was serious, and my only job was to get him back into the unit and on a bed so we could begin caring for him. We’re trained to know when someone is having a serious medical condition and how to respond quickly. While I helped Ted initially, I know he was well cared for by all my Froedtert colleagues,” she said. “Knowing that he has recovered and that he’s returned to his regular activities means that we all did our job.”
After his hospital discharge, Ted spent six weeks recovering at Eastcastle Place, an assisted living facility in Milwaukee. He had plenty of time to think about his life, his work and his family: René and his kids Will and Katie. A longtime real estate agent for commercial and residential property, Ted is a mainstay in Menomonee Falls and believes strongly in supporting his community.
He’s past president of the Falls Area Food Pantry, past president of the Optimist Club of Menomonee Falls, a former board member of the School District of Menomonee Falls and an active member in the Menomonee Falls Chamber of Commerce.
He’s proud to live in a town with a world-class health system where health care workers know how to respond compassionately to a pandemic and also be available for trauma patients who arrive through the doors of the Emergency Department.
“The care I received from all the doctors, nurses, technologists and everyone who saved my life was overwhelming. I’m so thankful for our hospital in Menomonee Falls. A community’s strength is built on its schools, its workforce and definitely its hospital.”