They are really more angels than nurses. They don’t do the meds or any of the close-up and personal stuff the nurses have to handle. But they do do a lot of the hard stuff.
The first will surprise no one who knows me. Helen Vennard retired a few weeks ago after 42 years at the agency–and 34 years with me. (All together now: ”That poooooor woman.”) For the past 15 years, she’s put up with the hospitals, the doctors, the scans, the treatments, the blood work–all the scheduling nightmares that are part of what makes modern medicine in America so screwed up. She’s scheduled appointments, rescheduled them when I wasn’t available, gotten me to the huge majority of them on time (actually delivering me when necessary) and arranged my trips to Baltimore and New York–and back to Richmond. And who was the first one to call to volunteer to help when I came back home last week? You guessed it.
And now there’s Lucky–Susan Lueke, my new right (and left) arm. Susan’s been amazing: keeping me connected to the agency, picking up visitors at the airport on a Saturday night, coordinating hospice care and coming by every single day, volunteering to do even more.
Finally, a word about the angel who got me into this mess. Fifteen years ago, John Adams and I were having lunch and discussing the fact that we had never gotten the health check-ups IPG had asked us to get. John mentioned it to Julie, and the next thing we know we’re scheduled for a trip to Johns Hopkins. We never would have done that on our own. (What can I say? We’re guys.) I would not be here today if Julie hadn’t made that happen.
One final note to anyone from IPG who might be reading this message: I promise they didn’t do any of this on company time.