Ginger's Story

Respiratory Care
“Experiencing the consumer side firsthand strengthened my relationships with my family of co-workers and makes me forever grateful of the access to care in our rural community.”

CentraCare employee grateful for co-workers and care close to home

Ginger Holmquist, who works as an assistant in CentraCare Patient Access, recently experienced CentraCare not as her employer but as the wife of a patient.

Ginger’s husband, Rusty, is a typical rural farmer — hard-working, hard-loving, dependable and full of grit. From crop to field dust, Rusty’s lungs had years of exposure to many typical farming inhalants. He was diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in 2018 by CentraCare Provider Jessica Hollenkamp, APRN, CNP, had participated in pulmonary rehabilitation and was doing fairly well until Sept. 20, 2019.

It was a typical Friday night for Ginger and Rusty. Ginger was off from her typical seven days on/seven days off work schedule and Rusty had been working the farm, but he just didn’t feel right. Having a difficult time breathing and feeling like he was catching a cold, Ginger and Rusty headed to the CentraCare – Long Prairie emergency room (ER). After treatment in the ER, Rusty and his provider felt he was well enough to go back home, with orders to come back on Monday if he wasn’t feeling better.

Monday morning arrived with no respiratory relief for Rusty. His condition had worsened to the point that getting Rusty back to the hospital wasn’t possible; Ginger needed help. A 911 call brought emergency responders who were able to offer care and transportation.

Upon arrival, Rusty was struggling and bilevel or two-level positive airway pressure (BiPAP) was applied. BiPAP is similar to Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) which is used for patients who have sleep apnea; air is directed through a tube into a mask that fits over the nose. While CPAP generally delivers a single pressure, BiPAP delivers an inhale and exhale pressure.

Rusty was admitted to CentraCare – Long Prairie Hospital. Unfortunately, his distress worsened, and emergency action was taken to intubate Rusty. A call to LifeFlight was made and he was transported to CentraCare – St. Cloud Hospital where he could receive advanced care. Throughout this process, Ginger’s co-workers rallied around her and her family, making sure they knew everything that was happening and what they could expect, along with reassurances and compassion.

Rusty was in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) from Monday through Thursday, still intubated because he was not strong enough to breathe on his own. On Thursday, he had enough strength to breathe on his own and the breathing device was removed. Friday, Rusty moved from ICU to a medical floor.

Monday, one week later, Rusty and Ginger were on their way home. Rusty couldn’t recall anything from the past week, but Ginger filled him in on the wonderful care given by the providers, nurses, family and friends.

Ginger recalls the situation with tears in her eyes. “There was care, compassion, kindness and understanding throughout this entire process and still is to this day. Experiencing the consumer side firsthand strengthened my relationships with my family of co-workers and makes me forever grateful of the access to care in our rural community.”