In May 1994, my graduation from nursing school was exciting but sprinkled with sadness and uncertainty. In nursing school, graduation is honored during a pinning ceremony where another nurse applies a pin to celebrate the continuation of the profession. I was very blessed to have my mom, who was also my best friend, pin me. I am so thankful that she was able to celebrate that day with me and I was able to see how proud she was of me. The sadness and uncertainty that shadowed the day was we had learned the week prior that my mom had stage 4 breast cancer.
My mom battled her disease for the next seven years. Having no family in Wisconsin, my dad and I were her primary caregivers and support people. For the next seven years there was chemotherapy, radiation, more chemotherapy and all the complications that go along with cancer treatment.
What I will always remember most was the support from my Hartford Hospital (now Aurora Medical Center in Washington County) family. My co-workers would make meals for me and my family, since they knew my cooking skills were next to none. My co-workers in “Wound Care” walked me through how to manage a pressure ulcer my mom had developed. “Materials Management” assisted me in getting nutritional supplements for my mom. I was a staff nurse at the time and all my co-workers worked around my mom’s treatment schedule and always picked up my shifts when I was unable to work so I could care for my mom. The staffing coordinator would call me to see if I wanted a “low census day” when the opportunity presented itself, to see if I needed to get some rest before calling off other staff. At Christmas time, a favorite holiday for both my mom and me, a health unit coordinator would make my family a huge assortment of Christmas cookies. These acts of kindness went on for years.
In the winter of 1999 we learned that my mom had only a few months to live and we placed her in hospice care. My mom and I always thoroughly enjoyed the holidays and I have many special memories. My co-workers knew that holiday season would be the last I would spend with my family ,so they offered to pick up all the holiday shifts. There are no words that can describe how touched I was. It was a holiday season I will never forget.
Five years after my mom’s death my hospital family showed me the same support as I cared for my dad after he was diagnosed with cancer. I am privileged and blessed to be a member of this hospital family. The caregivers here care for each other as much as their patients and I will never forget the kindness and compassion they showed me during the most difficult time in my life.
Live each day as if it were your last and don’t sweat the small stuff. Cherish your family and your friends.
Thank you to my Aurora Medical Center in Washington County family, your kindness and compassion will never be forgotten.
The Centennial Celebration will celebrate this rich history and the caregivers who have helped the Hartford community live well, for the last 100 years. The night will reflect the evolution of care and raise funds to support Aurora Health Care services throughout Washington County. If you would like to purchase a ticket or learn more, CLICK HERE.