Although I have somewhat of an excuse, this is exceedingly overdue as I was admitted to Halifax last December for an esophagectomy with gastric pull-up, to address esophageal and stomach cancers. While my stay was projected for up to six days, a series of complications necessitated I remain for nearly seven weeks. Months of physical therapy paired with innumerable tests, relentless imaging, and corrective procedures to this very day have followed my discharge. To put things into further perspective, all of this was immediately preceded by the loss of both of my parents, my home, my business, and of course receiving a stage III cancer diagnosis.
Entering the hospital after serving as the devil's chew toy for the past year, coupled with being further compromised by chemo and radiation, was exponentially unnerving. I truly didn't know if I would survive the forthcoming procedures or even wanted to endure the lengthy aftermath. The days that followed proved to be even more surreal as the aforementioned complications that lead to my rapid decline left me feeling completely physically and mentally vulnerable, not to mention immersed in fear. An extensive staff with varying responsibilities and experience levels coursed in and out of the many rooms that I occupied, each doing their part, often without my understanding. Most were completely competent of course, while occasionally, one or two might take a little more time or interest in the person behind the patient. But there was one in a particular who set the bar for the rest.
My family and I simply knew him as Sean, a young and soft-spoken nurse who worked in the ICU on the day shift. When he learned of my grave circumstances, he offered unparalleled empathy and emotional support to both my family and me as I moved in and out of consciousness. As I stabilized, he listened very attentively as I relived the hell of the past year, especially as I broke into tears over the recent loss of my father, never once indicating that he was facing the very same with his own father. I learned from another nurse that he would regularly check on me and my family's status on his days off, while later visiting me when I was finally moved out of ICU. Sean simply was a godsend during the near two month period that I had referred to Halifax as home. I will never forget the youngster who talked this graduate degreed psychology major off the ledge during one of his darkest hours. There are no words big enough to express my gratitude.