Long-awaited hospital move complete

BRAD HORN/Nevada Appeal Volunteers greet patrons of Carson Tahoe Regional Medical Center as they enter the front entrance and into the lobby.

BRAD HORN/Nevada Appeal Volunteers greet patrons of Carson Tahoe Regional Medical Center as they enter the front entrance and into the lobby.

Kristine Rensing's Saturday morning starts with a medical entourage of five standing over her while she anxiously fidgets with a wad of peach-colored tissues.

She's starting to feel the pressure.

"I'm overwhelmed," Rensing says. "I just want to go to bed."

Rensing lays on a medical gurney in the doorway of room 264, waiting to be cleared by hospital staff to exit Carson-Tahoe Hospital. Rensing, who checked into the hospital Thursday night with a respiratory problem, was one of 50 patients moved into the new $118 million Carson Tahoe Regional Medical Center in North Carson City.

"I remember when the hospital was real little," says Rensing, who declined to give her age, only to say that she's over 80. Carson-Tahoe opened its first hospital in 1949, but the hospital most people are familiar with was built in 1968.

Nurse Carol Park, 69, worked in the first hospital before its roof was destroyed in a fire. She has worked on and off with Carson-Tahoe for eight years.

"I will miss this place," she says. "But the ambiance and attitude of Carson-Tahoe Hospital is going to go with us."

A patient comes out of the elevator and Park claps wildly, along with a group of hospital employees. They're the "cheering section."

The first thing the patients see is a sign hanging in the hallway outside the elevator: "Thank you patients, for your patience."

They make the trip by ambulance. Paramedic Jesse Miller-Smith and Captain Dave Miller, of the Carson City Fire Department, moved the first patient at 7:55 a.m. They say it took about 10 minutes to get to the medical center.

"This is history in the making," Miller says before they drive forward to pick up another patient.

Back up in her hospital room, Rensing asks for a cup of hot tea.

"I don't think there's any tea left in this whole place," says her volunteer moving buddy, Cheley Leuthauser.

The hospital is starting to thin out. Those still rushing to and fro in the hallways are mostly attached to the patient move. The move coordinators juggle clipboards while giving instructions or cues over a walk-talkie. The scene resembles air-traffic control, but with hospital beds.

Rensing starts to cheer up, due mostly to playful banter with physical therapist Carl Prudhomme, who is assisting in the patient move. He tells her that she'll soon be sitting in the lap of luxury.

After the ambulance ride she enters the sand-colored halls of the regional medical center. The faint scent of flowers and new linoleum lingers in the air. The entourage squeezes into an elevator and ascends to the third floor.

Rensing wipes tears from her eyes with a tissue before the staff lifts her into a new bed in room 340. Until she is well, Rensing will walk on the shiny, faux wood linoleum floor. She'll look out a window over Highway 395 and the hills behind it.

"It's just so beautiful," she says.

"As long as they are happy tears," says Diane Pemberton, a supervisor educator for the cardiovascular unit.

Rensing is moved into her room by 9:40 a.m., after leaving the old hospital about 15 minutes before.

"You are the first person in this room," said Nurse Stormy Nason. Rensing looks elated. "Did that make your day?"

Today 12 patients will move into her unit. Nason said the most difficult part of the move is finding where everything is located.

Rensing's move buddy returns with a Styrofoam cup and two bags of Mint Medley herbal tea. She had a problem finding the cup and hot water. Rensing happily accepts.

Nason, and other nurses, will spend their day acquainting themselves with the new equipment, and the new places to store supplies.

n Contact reporter Becky Bosshart at bbosshart@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1212.


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