Kindness is alive and well in this world, proved the staff and workers of Boston’s CHA Cambridge Hospital when a young man brought in his wife for treatment after a severe asthma attack. Laura Levis passed away after spending a hard week in the hospital with her husband, Peter DeMarco, by her side all the time.
The experience was obviously traumatizing for DeMarco and death of his wife that followed was probably the greatest loss of his life. But having enough positive energy left in him after the loss, he took the time out to thank the staff, workers and nurses of CHA Cambridge Hospital for their hospitality with which they treated his wife, him and their family.
The world is not as bad a place as we think it is; DeMarco and his letter make us ponder over this fact. He wrote a letter to the caretakers of his wife who were ever so respectful towards her during the seven days she spent in the hospital before giving in. There is some good left in this world and evil still has not occupied all our hearts. Who, in this race of a world, cares about doing completely selfless deeds? – Continue reading on next page
Who has enough ethics left to do things that are not part of their jobs and would bring them no extra profit? These workers of CHA Cambridge Hospital, as written by Peter DeMarco himself, have those ethics. He thanks in his letter, which was published in The New York Times and shared extensively on the internet, the people who made her wife’s seven day journey a little less painful. He begins from the smallest of things they did to make a difference in her near-to-end life and ends it on the last hour of her life. You don’t have a heart if, by the end of the letter, you do not tear up even a little.
Nurses, cleaners, social workers, doctors and respiratory specialists are all included in his address. The professionalism they showed in their work and the dignity with which they tended to his wife are firstly thanked for in the letter. Every little thing made a difference, he said, like their whispered sorry, it’s going to hurt’ before giving her a shot even if she was not conscious, tucking her under a blanket to keep her from getting cold and making sure her gown did not slip while listening to her heart and lungs through a stethoscope.
Letting her father, who is also a doctor, feel involved in his daughter’s treatment meant a lot to him and the help the staff provided in making them feel comfortable would not have possibly gone unnoticed. Nurses and doctors get cranky when asked a lot of questions but no such behavior was displayed in Mr. DeMarco’s wife’s case. They understood the severity of the situation as, when they found Mr. DeMarco sobbing quietly on his wife’s hands, they let him have his time without disturbing him and going about their task in the room.
They helped him recline the chair as close to her bed as possible so that he could feel close to his wife despite all the wires and tubes attached to her. And not just that, the staff had sympathy enough to take time out of their jobs to talk to Mr. DeMarco about the life of his wife and what kind of person she was. They looked at her photos, read what he wrote about her, asked him if he needed anything countless times be it even a hot shower or fresh clothes. The sadness they carried in their eyes while delivering bad news to him, too, did not go unnoticed by Mr. DeMarco.– Continue reading on next page
One time, before the few days left of Laura’s life ended, Peter was allowed to smuggle in almost 50 people of Laura’s circle for one last goodbye. Friends, family and colleagues, all gathered around only to make Peter realize how deeply Laura touched so many people in the 36 years of her life. He referred to it as the last greatest night of their marriage’ in the letter and said that it could not have been possible without the staff’s support. He was also allowed to take in their cat, Cola, for one last lick of his wife’s face.
Before the organ donor surgery, after friends and family had come and gone, Mr. DeMarco asked the nurses, who he names Donna and Jen, for one last favor: to give him some time alone with Laura. The recliner there was uncomfortable so the nurses made the effort of making up space on Laura’s bed so that, for the last time, Peter could be as close to her as possible. Peter describes that last hour as a gift beyond gifts’ for which he thanks Donna and Jen with the deepest gratitude.
Life becomes easier and pain a little less difficult to bear with the right hands on our shoulders. Both, the staff of the hospital that went out of their way make things better for the suffering couple and Peter DeMarco who took time out to thank them for it are exemplary and restore our faith in humanity.
Images: Peter DeMarco