Patient attends daughter's wedding via Skype
Mother-of-the-bride recovers from surgery and gets to see her daughter's special day
© Midwest LifeShots Photography
Imagine not being able to attend your daughter's wedding. For Janet Richter, a hiatal hernia requiring emergency surgery threatened to cause the mother of the bride to miss the ceremony.
Facing unexpected surgery and heartbreak
As her daughter's wedding day approached, Richter started having stomach pains and nausea. Two days before the wedding, she began vomiting blood and was taken to the emergency room at Saint Marys Hospital in Rochester, Minn., where surgery was scheduled for the next day.
Richter's daughter, bride-to-be Jeanine Kiefer, is an administrative assistant in Mayo Clinic's Department of Medicine. Kiefer says, "I was disappointed, but there was no other choice. If Mom would have waited [for surgery], there could have been serious complications."
Recovering with some very special help
Richter's surgery was a success, so Kiefer made plans to visit her mother in the hospital right after the ceremony and reception. Two Mayo nurses, who just happened to be cousins of groom-to-be, thought they could arrange something even better. Michele Merten and Christina Kiefer recruited the help of Pete Svendsen in Mayo's Information Technology department to see if Richter could watch her daughter's wedding ceremony live via Skype, an Internet-based video chat service.
Svendsen took care of all of the technical details, and nursing staff on Francis 5 helped Richter dress in her mother-of-the-bride gown and apply makeup. Kiefer, the Mayo nurse, stood near the bride and groom to capture the ceremony as it happened, giving Richter the up-close view the mother-of-the-bride deserves, only this time it was via a hospital laptop.
Enjoying worry-free wedding day
"The day just went beautifully," says the bride, who chatted with her mother on Skype right after the ceremony. "The staff really stepped up," Kiefer adds. "Come Saturday, I wasn't worried a bit...I felt relieved, too, that Mom would be able to see the wedding. I don't know how to describe it. It just felt special."
Later that night, the newlyweds visited Richter in the hospital and brought cheesecake for staff members who helped her see the wedding live — and put her on the road to a successful recovery.
"I read the stories like this on the [Mayo] intranet and think, 'Oh that was really nice and that was sweet,' and some bring tears to my eyes," explains Kiefer. "I never thought that I would have the same experience, but here I am."