Saint Marys Hospital holds a lot memories for me. I was reminded of this yesterday when I was there visiting my great nephew, Chad, who was in the hospital for a perforated appendix. While there yesterday, my brother and I took a walk. At one time he was an orderly there and remembered where he worked and lots of interesting things about various departments.
Yesterday I wanted him to remind me of the location in which our dad died. That is my first memory of Saint Marys Hospital. The year was 1957. Our father had been diagnosed with Bright's disease (kidney disease) in June of that year. This was a time in history when little was known for treatment. I remember him being told to go on a total salt-free diet—and that was all. The disease must have been quite advanced when it was diagnosed because he became weaker and thinner as time went on. One November day, shortly after Thanksgiving, I came home to learn he had been taken by ambulance from Austin to Rochester.
Monday, December 9, a school secretary came to my classroom and told the teacher I was to go to the office. It was there I learned that my sister and I were being excused from school and were to walk to our church, just a couple of blocks away, where our minister was ready to drive us to the hospital in Rochester to see our dad. When we got to the hospital, we went to the floor where our father was staying. Our mother was in the sunroom at the end of the hallway. We learned we were to go in to see our dad one at a time. When I entered the room, which I can still see today, my dad was in a bed in the center of the small room. A nurse was with him and she was just opening a bottle of blood. She then hung it on a hook. I suppose it was connected to an intravenous tube – not sure. That morning he had been given a tracheotomy so he couldn't talk. The nurse told me to come up close to him. She asked him if he would like me to apply some lotion to his arms. He shook his head "No." I remember staying a few minutes. That was my last I saw him alive. He died on Saturday, December 14.
My next memory is from December 1988 when I was being admitted to Saint Marys for a herniated disc. I had surgery on my neck and stayed in the hospital 9 days. One night while I was there a small choir walked down the hallway singing Christmas carols. It is a beautiful memory.
Then in January 2003 came that awful day when I got the call no mother ever wants to hear: Your two sons and daughter-in-law have been in a serious car accident. Your daughter-in-law has been air-lifted to Rochester, your son Peder is en route to Rochester in an ambulance, your son Hans is here in our emergency room. Hans wants you to drive to Rochester and don't go alone." I phoned my Aunt Liz and asked her to accompany me. Both she and my cousin Pat met me and together we drove to Saint Marys Hospital emergency room. To tell the rest of this memory will require another post. I will do this another day.
Saint Marys Hospital has the most beautiful chapel I have ever seen. Yesterday Jerry and I walked there. Both he and I think it is a wonderful, inspirational place.