NMMC Family: The Ties that Bind
Lori and Larry Conn
BOONEVILLE, Miss.—Lori Harris Conn of Booneville has been employed by North Mississippi Medical Center for most of her life, but over the past year she has gained a true appreciation for our medical community.
Lori started her career with NMMC in 1993 as a certified nursing assistant. She earned her bachelor’s degree in nursing and worked as a registered nurse then school nurse until 2017. She completed a master’s degree in nursing and family nurse practitioner training in December 2020.
In March 2021, cardiothoracic surgeon Dr. David Talton performed aortic aneurysm repair on Lori’s then-fiancé Larry Conn. “Before surgery I joked with Larry that when he woke up, I was going to be holding signs asking him to marry me,” said Lori. His nurse was planning to help with the proposal. Larry came through surgery fine, but while recovering in the Critical Care Unit (CCU), things quickly went south. “He had a complication and coded in the CCU, and I almost lost him,” Lori says. “Fortunately, they were able to bring him back.”
Lori’s mind flashed back to 1995, when her younger sister spent 13 days in the CCU before passing away from injuries sustained in a car accident. Registered nurse Sherron Kirksey was her sister’s “angel on earth in the CCU,” she said. With both her sister and fiancé, Lori was impressed with the compassion shown by the staff.
“Dr. Talton made sure Larry received the best care possible,” she said. “He was kind and comforting as well – the best surgeon ever.”
Physician assistant Chris McCarley offered information and comfort. “Chris told me I could call him at any time if I had any questions, no matter the time or day,” she said. “He has a very big heart and genuinely cares about his patients and their families.”
Lori contends that Larry’s nurse, Cindy Lolley, is the best there is. “She hugged me while I cried and was so patient and kind to the both of us,” Lori said. “She was a godsend too for sure.”
Once Larry recovered, while still in the CCU, he proposed to Lori. “He said, ‘I don’t have a ring, but will you marry me?’” Lori said. “On June 4, 2021, we flew to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, without telling anyone and got married.”
Three months later, Lori joined NMMC’s Advanced Practiced Clinician Fellowship—a new work family she has come to appreciate. In December she developed pancytopenia, a rare condition in which there is a lower-than-normal number of red and white blood cells and platelets and was admitted to NMMC. “My immunity was wiped out,” Lori said. “Some of my blood counts were sky high and some were very low. I was very sick.”
Lori spent a week hospitalized on 3 South and, because she was gravely ill, does not remember much about her stay. She is especially grateful to hospitalist Dr. Samantha Houston, infectious disease specialist Dr. Mindy Prewitt and all the nursing staff for their excellent care. “She was released from the hospital Dec. 22 in time to spend Christmas at home with Larry.
Now Lori is back at work and more thankful than ever. “The APC fellows and my supervisor, Angel Justice, have been so supportive and good to me,” Lori said. “This is my home and family here at NMMC.”