KALISPELL — Kalispell Regional Medical Center has a special volunteer who is changing the lives of people here at the hospital with her positive attitude and her unique story.
Two years ago Ivy Johansson's life changed forever when she was diagnosed with kidney problems and soon went into septic shock. Johannson told MTN News that the doctors weren't sure if she was going to make it through the night.
"My hands and feet were totally black at that point, but I had pretty pink nail polish and that kinda brightened it up a bit. So, they took my hands and my feet," explained Johannson.
Doctors amputated Johansson's feet and hands. But Dr. Mark Weber who works closely with Ivy says that her positive attitude and new outcome inspired her to come back to the hospital to help others.
"We use Ivy as a mentor for patients. So, when we have a patient going through a life altering event like an amputation, she's the person that can come in and not only be empathetic, but also, she's experienced what these patients are going through," explained Dr. Weber. "As health professionals, we have empathy but a lot of times we've never experienced what these patients have gone through."
Dr. Weber says her positive presence is infectious, "she was this incredibly positive person who made me laugh and my staff, and just remarkable."
Dr. Austin Johnston helps Ivy with her prosthetics and tells MTN that people like Ivy can experience some difficulties following amputations, like phantom limb syndrome. "Many times they'll feel like their foot or their hand is still there. And oftentimes it's very painful," said Dr. Johnston.
Dr. Johnston also noted how incredible Johansson is, "iIt's not that she hasn't had setbacks, and hasn't had complications, she certainly has. But they never seem to hold her down. And she's a fighter."
Johansson's doctors told MTN News that her strength continues to improve every day and she volunteers at the hospital as often as she can.