Evelyn Estenson


Evelyn Estenson’s travel plans took a detour.

Evelyn went to bed as usual after having abdominal discomfort all afternoon. In the night, it turned to nausea and vomiting. Evelyn was miserable.

Her son Rick lives close by, “but you hate to call in the middle of the night,” Evelyn says. “So I struggled through the night, and finally at four in the morning I called and he took me in to the Emergency Department.”

The ED team examined Evelyn and gave her IV medication to calm the nausea, then admitted Evelyn to the hospital where Katie Helgen, MD, cared for her. 

“I told Dr. Helgen about a trip to Saint Croix that I was scheduled to take in two days,” Evelyn recalls. “She said, ‘Normally I would wait a day to see if this calms down, but I think we’ll order a CT scan right now.’ ”

The scan showed a strangulated hernia with a twisted section of the intestine. Evelyn needed surgery, right away. General surgeon Chris Nielsen, MD performed a bowel resection and hernia repair that night.

At 89, Evelyn has had very few surgeries in her lifetime. “For someone who’s usually in control of things, I found it very easy to let them take control and do whatever they had to do,” Evelyn says.

She recuperated in the Medical/Surgical unit for six days. “The nursing staff was very good; they took care of my needs,” she says. And patient advocate Melissa Berthelsen “stopped in quite often to check on me, which I appreciated.”

Her hospital stay “was a good experience,” she says. “And when I no longer needed any care, it was OK to go home, and I was glad to go home.”

Evelyn’s advice for others choosing a hospital for their care? “I have no hesitation recommending Northfield Hospital. It’s here, it’s close, you don’t have to travel to get excellent care.”

That trip to Saint Croix? Evelyn rebooked it. For a seasoned traveler, what’s a little detour, after all?