Letter: What we have

“Don’t it always seem to go

That you don’t know what you got ’til it’s gone?” — Joni Mitchell, “Big Yellow Taxi”

I’m sure the people who live in North Adams know only too well the meaning of Joni Mitchell’s words, with the recent closing of North Adams Regional Hospital. What if they were us? What if Baystate Franklin Medical Center announced today that they were shutting down? That thought was haunting me recently as I was confined to a bed in Room 1402 for three days.

You’re probably thinking ... Sure, it’s nice to have a hospital in our backyard when Grannie’s gout acts up, or Uncle Ed throws his back out, but I’m in excellent health — I don’t need a hospital ... except when I do.

I was feeling a little light-headed, and noticed some other symptoms, so I reported to my primary care physician for a quick fix. His “quick fix” was to send me to BSFMC for an emergency colonoscopy, not something I was looking forward to at all. The next three days were a bit of a blur, but I emerged with a clean bill of health and a new appreciation for what we have here.

The doctors were very competent and eager to educate me as well as cure me. The nurses, aides, student nurses and all the others who came in and out of Room 1402 were not only helpful and attentive to my medical needs, but also careful with my dignity, something that feels a little tenuous when you’re tethered to an IV pole and wearing little but a “johnny.” If I started to name names, I’m sure I’d leave somebody out, but I know who you all are and I am very grateful for all that you did for me.

If you or a loved one have had a similar experience, then you know what I mean when I offer a blessing for Baystate Franklin Medical Center. Don’t “wait ’til it’s gone to appreciate what you got.”



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