How Two Caring Women Helped Save a Member's Life
When UnitedHealthcare member Tyrone Wilson came to work one morning in 2009 limping and wearing a patch over one eye something was clearly wrong. And, his condition didn't go unnoticed.
Tyrone, a 51-year-old information technology specialist from Chicago, had been healthy until about two months earlier. That's when strange symptoms first appeared: He started losing his senses of taste and smell. He had headaches, ear and eye pain, and vision problems. "I would hear something click in my head, and then my vision would go double," he says. Eventually, he started wearing an eye patch for double vision.
Despite his troubling symptoms, Tyrone continued working and going to school. Tyrone, husband and father of three, was working toward a master's degree from DePaul University.
A cab ride to diagnosis
That morning at work, however, Tyrone was obviously ill and struggling. A concerned co-worker, Nancy a building security officer stepped in. She insisted he go to a hospital and called a cab. And, she wouldn't hear otherwise. "She really got mad," he says.
In the emergency room, Tyrone finally learned the reason for his worrisome symptoms. "They did some tests and came back and said I had a brain tumor. And, it would need to come out," he says.
"All I heard was tumor, and I thought, 'I have cancer,' Tyrone recalls.
Fortunately, his tumor wasn't cancer tests indicated it was benign. Still, untreated, it could have threatened his life. So now, Tyrone faced brain surgery and what could be a lengthy recovery. He went home that day to await word on when his operation would be scheduled.
A nurse in the know
Over the weekend, his condition seemed to worsen. Late one night, feeling terribly sick and worried about what was going on, he logged onto myuhc.com®.* He wanted to learn more about his condition. He saw the number for NurseLineSM,** a 24-hour health information service. He called, planning to leave a message. He didn't expect to talk with a real person not at 2 a.m. But, he was connected to a registered nurse right away.
She talked with him about his condition. And, she advised him not to wait to go to the hospital immediately. Tyrone followed her advice and was admitted that same night and his surgery was scheduled shortly after.
Tyrone's surgery was successful. And, even with his post-surgery pain, he felt better almost immediately. Even so, he still had a month-long hospital stay and rehabilitation.
Onward with his goals
Following his rehab, Tyrone was able to go back to much of his regular routine. And, recently he received his master's degree in information systems and entered a Ph.D. program.
Today, he's feeling stronger. "It feels like I got 20 years back," he says.
Tyrone also says he was lucky to have UnitedHealthcare on his side. He was impressed with how well and efficiently his claims were handled. And, he still thinks of the nurse who was on the line when he needed her most. She was knowledgeable and able to provide a reassuring voice.
"Just being able to talk to somebody a live person really helped," Tyrone says. "I felt much better after that."
And, he won't forget the powerful nudge he got from Nancy, the security officer at work. He credits these two caring women with helping save his life. And, he'll always be grateful they were there for him, he says.
**For informational purposes only. Nurses cannot diagnose problems or recommend specific treatment and are not a substitute for your doctor's care. These services are not an insurance program and may be discontinued at any time. As of Jan. 1, 2011, NurseLine became myNurseLine.
Coverage can vary. If you have questions, check your benefit plan documents to see what services may be covered.