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Life Interrupted

Diane Swan’s first hospital stay in 33 years allowed Parkview doctors and staff to shine

Diane Swan is living her dream.

As a child she lived in a number of places, but the mountains of Colorado always held sway in her heart. So when she and her husband reached a point in their lives where they could heed the call of the mountains, Diane said she brought her Maryland-born hubby westward.

“I think he thought we were going to the Appalachians, but no, I wanted to come a little further,” Diane said.

“Further” eventually meant purchasing more than 140 acres near Westcliffe, a log home and a 180-degree view of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.

Diane and her husband moved into their dream home in 2008 and for more than a decade have enjoyed their remote location.

“It’s completely of the grid,” Diane said.

Diane’s home is about 16 miles south of Westcliffe, which itself is pretty remote. The town is about 57 miles away from Pueblo, 48 miles from Canon City and about 78 miles from Colorado Springs.

Diane said she and her husband are healthy. They have a primary care physician in Colorado Springs and have made visits to Parkview Medical Center for outpatient services in the past.

But in November 2018, Diane found herself spending a few nights at Parkview, the first time she had been admitted for a an overnight stay at a hospital in 33 years, when she gave birth to her youngest child.Diane Swan

“I was just dumbfounded,” she said.

Diane’s journey to Parkview started with a journey to Pueblo.

The night before she had been sick, had vomited and had diarrhea, but in the morning she felt better and continued with her plans to drive to town to go shopping.

But once she got to Pueblo, another episode with blood in her stool was enough to convince her to head to Parkview Medical Center’s Emergency Department.

 “My mom was a nurse and my dad was a PhD in Microbiology, so I knew I needed to go into the ER,” she said.

During her wait in the Emergency Department, Swan said medical staff conducted a urine analysis and when she was called back to a bay, the doctor pressed on her lower left side. When it caused her pain, the ER doctors decided to admit her into the hospital. Her diagnosis was ischemic colitis.

“Dr. Charles Ruzkowski and his fellow Dr. Karolina Siniakowicz were wonderful,” Diane said. “Every doctor I saw was concerned with how I was feeling, if they could get me anything.”

Diane said even the cleaning staff made it a point to ask to ask how she was doing or if she needed anything.

After two nights of care and medication, Diane said she was discharged feeling none the worse for wear.

She said she has some suspicions about what may have caused her acute condition , but has been able to return to the life she dreamed about as  a child.

A few short weeks after her hospitalization, she and her husband tackled the lava flows of El Malpais National Monument in New Mexico, and more hikes are inevitable with her grandchildren just outside that 180-degree view from her home.

“Every time we’ve been (at Parkview) we’ve been satisfied with our care,” she said. “The doctors are topnotch.”

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400 West 16th Street, Pueblo, CO 81003

719.584.4000