Patient Stories

Ed Rydzy

Has a single moment changed your life forever?

Ed Rydzy, from Norwich, NY has a reason to be grateful. As a result of the quick thinking and comprehensive care he received from the emergency room staff at Community Memorial, Ed will enjoy the sights and sounds of the holidays surrounded by his family and friends.

On August 30th, Ed had a massive heart attack. While driving, Ed thought he just had a bad case of indigestion, but when the pressure on his chest became too much, he pulled off the road and called his hospital. The friendly woman who answered at Community Memorial listened to Ed’s symptoms and instructed him to come to the hospital immediately. Ed now calls this woman his angel.

Arriving at the emergency room at Community Memorial, Ed was rushed into a special room and connected to an EKG machine, which would determine if he was having a heart attack. The initial results were normal, but the ER doctor was determined to find the cause of his increasing pain. He ordered a series of blood tests, which confirmed elevated enzyme levels associated with having a heart attack. The nursing staff began administering the proper medications. “The staff worked quickly, listened to my concerns and were smart enough to not accept the results of the initial EKG. Continued testing found the reason for my pain. I would have died, if they didn’t do this. They saved my life!” said Ed.
Once stabilized, Ed was transferred to Crouse Health where testing identified a 95% blockage. Immediate surgery was needed and Ed was admitted to St. Joseph’s Hospital where he had Bypass Surgery on September 4th.

Today, Ed is home with his family. As we approach the holiday season, Ed is grateful for his care at Community Memorial. “If Hamilton had not taken a second look, I would have gone home and slept. I would not be alive today! I had no idea I was having a heart attack. There’s no family history of heart disease. I actually was feeling great. I am an avid tennis player and it never occurred to me that I had a heart condition. This single moment has changed my life forever. If I can share only a few words of wisdom, if you think there is something wrong, get it checked out. Community Memorial saved my life, they will save yours.”

Betty Liebl

Living independently is something we all desire, but often take for granted. Betty Liebl understands this all too well. She is normally an active senior, from Nelson, NY. She is an avid knitter who gives back to her community by creating sweaters and hats for family members and friends. “Knitting keeps me young and living independently. People have enjoyed the clothes I have created and it feels good to help others,” said Betty.

However, this all changed in December 2017. Betty woke one morning not feeling like herself. Weak and retaining water in both legs, she toughed out the pain for three days until she became so ill she could no longer get out of bed. Betty was hesitant to reach out for help in fear of having to leave her home, but she was so scared, alone, and in severe pain, she finally decided to dial 911.

The ambulance transported Betty to Community Memorial Hospital. Upon arrival the doctors ordered a series of tests. It was determined she had severe inflammation in the large intestine, which was so advanced she was losing blood at an alarming rate. Betty received two-units of blood before being transferred to Crouse Health for emergency surgery. Betty noted the process was smooth and felt the staff at Community Memorial did everything possible to keep her comfortable until she was transported by ambulance to Syracuse.

After surgery, Betty made significant strides, but was not strong enough to go home. Betty requested a transfer to the post-acute rehab program called Swing Bed at Community Memorial. “What a great support system. They worked me ‘hard’ each day in occupational therapy to rebuild the muscles I use every day. They were the team that got me home quickly and living independently again and also coordinated with my family my safe transition home.” Because of you, and your support for Community Memorial, Betty is home, active and knitting!

You, like Betty and her family can rely on Community Memorial to provide continued quality care when you need it and a seamless network of services to address all your healthcare needs. Give your gift today, so we can continue to offer programs including Swing-Bed for individuals like Betty and her family.

You can support Betty, and patients like her by contributing to the Annual Giving Relief Fund.

Lorraine Kaimal

I have just been through six sessions of therapy with Sally Vetter. I found her the perfect coach, giving me both challenges and encouragement, and sometimes catching me before I took a tumble.

I found your PT department a contrast with other PT experiences I have had. In one place the therapist would show me the moves, say “OK, do thirty more,” and walk away. But, Sally was with me all the time -- it made a difference in how I did those moves.

So, thank you for providing a really helpful experience for me.

John Robinson

Most of the visits to the CMH Emergency Department over the 50 years of my life have been for injuries and stitches. However, in my most recent visit, I walked in with some signs and symptoms of a heart attack. The staff on duty paid attention to detail, gave immediate response and the professional Patient Centered reactions likely save my life.

Within a very short time (less than an hour), Dr. Jastremski and his team had me diagnosed and transported to Crouse Hospital where I received a stent four hours later. I was discharged in a few days and was ready to return to work across the road at Colgate University – less than five days after I entered your doors in very bad shape.

Please express my profound thanks to everyone that helped me and my family through that very scary and possibly far more traumatic moment in my life. Your folks put the Com in Com-munity and Com-passion.

I hope I never need you services for anything more than stitches again, but I have a renewed appreciation for the fact that we are so lucky to have such a great healthcare facility in our community. Thank you and all of your employees, and God bless you all and all who enter your doors.

Mary Milcetic

From July 27 through August 10, I was a patient in the Swing Bed program at your hospital. The quality of care that I received during this time was incredible. The nurses made me as comfortable as possible and assisted me with any and all of my needs. I would expect this at most hospitals, but your nursing staff (just to mention some names: Nicole, Kathy, Star, plus the others whose names I can’t remember) went above and beyond typical nursing care. I was treated with dignity and respect, and a genuine caring for my emotional and physical needs. Encouragement, empathy for my situation, humor and hugs were part of the everyday equation that helped me deal with my condition. Your group of nurses was exceptional!!

I also wanted to commend the Physical Therapy staff as they demonstrated kindness, encouragement, and gentle pushes to help me get stronger in my quest for better mobility.

Dr. Jeffers and Dr. McDonald visited me, listened to my concerns, and ensured that my medical needs were a priority. I have to add that Dr. Jeffers was my primary physician and I consider her to be an outstanding doctor who is able to balance the many needs of a patient with solid medical advice.

I was also impressed with Polly Barhite (Swing Bed Coordinator) who worked so meticulously behind the scenes. She insured that my transition into the Swing Bed Program and then my transition to home status were flawless. If I had a concern, she researched it, and the problem was solved. Her organizational skills, as well as her interpersonal skills were certainly a benefit to me.

Overall I must say that I was very fortunate to have been placed in the Swing Bed Program. On behalf of the people who cared for me, I want to extend my deepest appreciation.