Our caring institutions

To the Editor:

I begin with a confession: I hate filling out forms of any kind: tax forms, political surveys, hospital and doctors’ medical history forms, etc. Yet, I do care about things, and my wife will share, that at times, I can be “quite opinionated.”

It was almost a year ago to the day that I woke up in the wee hours of the night in considerable distress. Next thing I knew, my wife was driving me to the emergency room at Mount Desert Island Hospital. Soon I was wearing a wristband, hooked up to an IV, being administered medication to help with the pain and being cared for by several kind folk. A CAT Scan revealed that I needed surgery immediately.

Because there was no ICU bed available that night at MDI Hospital, and our local surgeons have privileges at both MDI Hospital and Maine Coast Memorial Hospital, it was decided that I was to go by ambulance to Maine Coast Memorial Hospital (MCMH) in Ellsworth, and we were on our way!

After the surgery, I spent nearly two weeks at MCMH, where I received lots of quality personal and professional care. My wife was encouraged to stay with me most of the time, including overnights. How considerate and comforting for both of us!

Fast-forward 10 months, and I was back at the MDI ER with similar symptoms and was soon admitted for a night of observation. I knew again that this was the right place to be. After several diagnostic tests and helpful consultations with medical staff, I was happily discharged the next day.

Although I am well into my 70s, these two experiences were firsts for me, and they made me realize hospitals really are the place to be when one is in physical trouble.

Recently, my wife, Dotty Kay, decided that she was not going to be “one upped” by me, and in the wee hours, she woke me up, for she was not feeling well at all and was in some distress. I calmly dressed (with some déjà vu), and we were off again to the MDI Hospital.

With the same efficiency, promptness and a wristband, it was her turn to be cared for in the ER with IVs and medication to keep her comfortable while a number of caring staff members came to perform their tasks and express their concern. After blood tests, a CAT scan, a sonogram and several visits from her on-duty PA, we spent the rest of the night waiting for the test results and the decision whether or not to admit her.

Over the many hours of sitting (and dozing off and on) in a chair next to my wife, I found myself experiencing the same feelings that I had with my own recent history and again realized what wonderful places these hospitals are with their staffs’ abilities to step up, evaluate and focus on each one of us in our moments of great need.

Yes, I’m not much on filling out evaluations, but I do have an opinion. I am “some glad” that we are fortunate in this area of Maine to have such wonderful, competent and caring institutions as Maine Coast Memorial and Mount Desert Island hospitals.

Rev. David C. Stillman

Hall Quarry

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