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Lessons in gratitude and humility

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  |  Posted: Saturday, Feb 23, 2013 06:00 am

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I owe thanks to a lot of people whose names I do not know. On Jan. 12 I fell off a bar stool while cleaning out my kitchen cupboards. When I looked at my misshapen and immovable wrist I knew I was in serious trouble. I tried to rationalize what I should do next. I recently retired and live alone. Close acquaintances and family were away on vacation so it could have been a very long time before anyone noticed I was down for the count.

I've heard all the news stories about wait times in hospital emergency rooms and patients accessing their services for inappropriate conditions I wasn't sure a broken wrist qualified tying up critical resources. After lying there for some time with my arm swelling to the point of alarm and sensing that shock was starting to set in, I wrapped it in a dishtowel and drove myself to the Sturgeon Hospital prepared for a long wait.

The service, care and compassion I received from every single staff member (medical and administrative) were exemplary! Words could not and cannot express my gratitude. Triage was quick and they did everything they could to stabilize my wrist and, perhaps just as importantly, calm my fears. No matter how old you are, it is scary to be ill or injured and be alone. It was quickly determined that I would require surgery and shortly after I returned home that evening I received a call from the University Hospital that I was to be admitted the following morning for an operation.

Life post-surgery has been a lesson in humility. I have become very good at a one-armed snow shovel toss but there are many things I cannot do with only one functional arm. I am learning to meet these challenges but those rare occasions when someone has offered to help me load the grocery cart or take the garbage to the curb have been very much appreciated. I've learned that I must reassess how and where I live the rest of my life because I am not as independent as I may like to be. I had considered leaving St. Albert because, as a retiree, I can no longer afford the property taxes but the quality of care afforded me at the Sturgeon has me seeking other options.

So thank you, to everyone at the Sturgeon and University Hospitals and to all those that offered me their hand when I needed it most. Your kindness did not go unnoticed and I will pay-it-forward by being more diligent at extending my help when needed by neighbours, friends, fellow shoppers. We all need to look out for each other.

Casey Mercer, St. Albert


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