Tonight I said goodbye to a very dear friend. Many of you know this friend, too. This friend was St. Joseph's Hospital. I worked there from 1976 to 1997 and in that time I had come to have an affection for it.
On this particular Monday evening, I decided to do a quick "walk through" to say goodbye to my friend. What I found saddened me, but yet brought back some wonderful memories.
I began my walk on third floor. The rooms were deserted and all that remained were empty beds. But I remember the days of filled rooms and hustling nurses and patients needing special care.
I continued my walk down to where CCU (and ICU) were. These two units were once filled with very ill people. Those wonderful nurses deserved so much praise. They know who they are. Many of those patients didn't make it home and those of us who lost a loved one in one of those units want to thank them for their love and compassion.
I went into the Chapel. If you never went in there you missed a very special blessing. How many praises and prayers were given to God in there for the sick? It was always peaceful and calming to be in that stained glass room.
I took the elevator to the basement. I found myself in front of the PBX office or where the hospital operators could be found. I especially remember Alice and Kathleen. They were kind and always calm during critical times. I remember the special "night prayers" given at 9 p.m. These were spoken by the operators over the intercom.
The morgue was down the hall. Many stories of frightened employees circulated around of experiences with the morgue. I didn't go there.
The "tunnel," as it was called, connected the old part of the hospital with the office building. It was eerie and damp and a little intimidating when by yourself.
I ended my journey where I began in 1976: Medical Records. It was dark. The curtains were drawn. A 16-year-old girl. If only I'd known that working there began a lifetime of memories.
For those who worked at St Joseph's, I want to say thank you. You became a part of my life. You were dedicated people who gave yourselves to others. Whatever your job, you were wonderful. An era has ended. You brought a smile and a tear to me on my walk. Thank you.
Goodbye dear friend. It's been great knowing you.
Paula L. Huber