I still have fond memories of my kindergarten teacher, Sister M. Elizabeth Kobierowski at Our Lady of Czestochowa School in South Brooklyn, New York. She was the first of many Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth I would come to know and love during my formative years in our predominantly Polish-American parish. That love would continue well into my teens, when I attended the Bishop McDonnell Memorial High School, also in Brooklyn.
I entered her room and introduced myself in the usual fashion. Jennie and Mike welcomed my visit. I explained that I wrote “patient stories” at the hospital and asked if they would enjoy telling me about themselves. They readily agreed.
Mike explained that Jennie’s vital organs were shutting down. Together they agreed to hospice care for her that morning.
Working for an agency that was dominated by men made me all the more aware that I had to prove my worth.
One of my monthly duties was to rate my job performance, in a number of areas, on a scale of 1 to 5. I would then submit a monthly report to my director and review it with him. I always made it a point to deliver it on time and to make an appointment for my interview.
John was sitting up in bed as I approached his room. “Come on in, Sister. Father has just left.”
Somewhat hesitant, I entered the room aware that his wife and daughter were in tears. I asked John if there was anything I could do for him. “Sing for me” he replied, and I began singing the words to YOU ARE MY SUNSHINE. John immediately bellowed out the song, and his wife and daughter joined in. Through their tears they gave me the courage to enjoy a heartwarming visit with John.
January 8, 2016, was a day I shall never forget. I received the news that the issues I was experiencing with my right knee would require a total knee replacement. My primary care physician assured me not to worry: “Everyone has knee replacements.” And so began my period of waiting in darkness. It would last for more than four years.
The first of what would be six procedures was scheduled for two weeks later. Infection set in just four days after my surgery. Oral antibiotics gave me a sense of waiting in light. How wrong I was! Eight weeks of IV fluids were ordered.
Subsequent arthroscopic surgery removed scar tissue and a bone spur. But infection number two reared its ugly head. Lab tests revealed the infection had spread throughout my body, so the implant had to be removed while a spacer was placed in my leg. Darkness continued, as I remained dependent on others for the next three months. A second round of IV antibiotics led me to depression. Would the light never come?
Knee revision followed. as my leg was cut open for the third time. How many times could skin be cut and stapled? I experienced further …