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A New Age of Care (Posted On: Tuesday, August 28, 2012)

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George Czerny shares with and our website visitors his very personal experience with the staff at the Collingwood General and Marine Hospital.  Please take a moment to read his account of how the Collingwood G&M has made a significant impact in his life.

I was frozen in time last Thursday and it was for a good reason.

Frozen in time, so it seemed, as I was photographed by a CT (computed tomography) scanner at General and Marine Hospital in Collingwood.

Frozen in time because I was asked to lay still and had closed my eyes to the world. I lay with arms at my sides on the machine’s bed as things made whirring and clicking sounds.

Minutes earlier I had arrived at G & M’s parking lot and days earlier I was telling my family doctor about a sharp pain I had experienced on the left side of my skull. A requisition for a CT scan was printed moments later and an appointment confirmed to me in a telephone message a day later.

I was impressed that things were moving so quickly. Had this been some other part of the world, I might never be in a hospital, getting checked, in such as short period of time; if at all.

From my arrival at G & M, where volunteers greeted me at the door and reminded me to use the free hand-sanitizer, to the new central registration where I was number 41, to following a volunteer – Hazel in this case – through a maze of clean corridors to a room in which the hospital’s CT scanner sits, all went smoothly.

Thank heavens for the volunteers, who support the staff at our hospital. They help to make G & M more efficient.

I was made comfortable, lying on my back, atop the scanner machine’s sliding bed, as the circular part of the scanner surrounded my head. I didn’t know what to expect. To this particular day, I had never been scanned.

“Hi, I’m Connie,” announced the technician, as she fitted a strap across my forehead to keep my head in one place.

“Don’t move,” she said pleasantly and headed for the nearby control room.
Seconds later, as I lay still with my eyes closed, I could feel the bed move in short jolts and I listened to things whirring and clicking.

I was frozen in time, I thought, and realized how very fortunate we are in our community to have this kind of service at our fingertips. My brother-in-law Derek Daglish has spent a career installing x-ray equipment in hospitals in England and Europe and assures me that technology keeps advancing by leaps and bounds. It also keeps growing in cost.

The scan of my head, by a 12-year-old machine that is going to cost two million dollars to replace, took just minutes and produced 33 sectional pictures which will be analyzed by a doctor.

A short time later I was popping my parking token into the parking gate meter and heading for the Olde Red Hen restaurant for some breakfast. I had been fasting and I was hungry.

Over coffee, I read a brochure I had picked up at the hospital from Personal Giving Officer, Debbie Kesheshian at the Collingwood General and Marine Hospital Foundation office.

The brochure, titled “A New Age of Care” explains about the current capital campaign which is under way at G & M.     You might have seen the billboards which proclaim “Would You Help?”

I was a bit confused by the billboards, at first, but then as I looked into things I realized that if those billboards wake people up to thinking about our community hospital, then the message is doing its job.

The “New Age of Care” brochure should be required reading everywhere in Collingwood and district. It makes things very clear about where the hospital stands and what it requires as it moves forward, continuing to help me and you.

To be very clear, one has to focus on the fact that the Ontario Ministry of Health does not pay for hospital equipment. That has to be paid for by donors….people such as you and I…. People who might use the hospital, such as I, and people who might someday need its services; or know of a loved one, or a friend, who will.

The Collingwood General and Marine Hospital Foundation was established in 1981, as a separate, incorporated body from the G & M Hospital, to provide financial support.
In short, let the talented doctors and nurses, administrative staff and volunteers do their jobs serving patients at the hospital and put the fund-raising efforts in the hands of specialists. Those specialists include Jory Pritchard-Kerr, who has been fundraising for the hospital back in the days when I had brown hair and Debbie Kesheshian, who knows me as a grey-haired, older guy.

I think that G & M Hospital and its staff have saved my life at least once, if not twice. I am familiar first-hand with the excellent work that doctors and others do. I am also familiar with how “out-of-sight and out-of-mind” the hospital’s needs are with a lot of people as they go about meeting life’s daily challenges. I can understand how being busy takes one’s mind away from requirements at G & M and if I can do anything to help refocus people’s attention to support G & M through the foundation, I will.

The “New Age of Care” brochure is an excellent, easy-to-read piece about our community hospital. I hope that it is being made available to church groups, schools, day-care centres, and to local businesses. I’m certain that anybody who wants a copy needs only to call the hospital foundation office at 705-444-8645.  I’ll go so far as to recommend it as family reading.

There are so many levels on which one can support the hospital foundation’s fund-raising campaign. Keeping in mind that if we all give a little, it all adds up to a lot, there are blue piggy banks on countertops at every turn at General and Marine Hospital. Those little piggies beckon for your loose change.

But the capital campaign can’t be successful on the benefits of loose change, although that does help. The campaign needs donors on many, many levels. Those donor opportunities are clearly explained in the “New Age of Care” brochure. For anybody who wants to be a “Mariner”, or an “Anchor” (or make a donation at a number of other defined levels!) a trip to the hospital foundation’s offices might be in order for reassurance and clarification purposes. At the foundation offices, Jory Pritchard-Kerr, or Debbie Kesheshian, are just two of the people who can assist donors.

The “New Age of Care” brochure cover shows a photograph of somebody (not me) through the circular portal of a CT scanner. The pages go on to provide valuable and important information, including “Fast Facts” and seven immediate needs -- seven links -- that have been identified for Collingwood General and Marine Hospital.

The seven links are described as “essential” and range in cost from $2.5-million to $100,000.

The hospital’s new CT scanner is scheduled to arrive in October and foundation staff will move into higher gear promoting the “New Age of Care” and sharing information from the brochure I have described.
But there’s no need to wait until then to help our hospital.
If I won a lottery, I would immediately assist G & M Hospital. But my luck has not involved any sudden, financial gain so our hospital is counting on the community it serves.

The doctors and nurses and other staff members are doing all they can to make G & M top-notch in the way it serves you, your family and friends. In fact, some doctors, staff and community members are going above and beyond the call of duty and getting involved in the G & M Hospital Challenge, a triathlon at Wasaga Beach, on Saturday, September 8.
They hope to raise $100,000 for the “New Age of Care” campaign and their enterprise and soon-to-be effort offers yet another way in which the public can assist the fund-raising campaign. Sponsors are needed and for more information e-mail to this new age of communication, you need only click on the G&M Hospital for more information about the “New Age of Care”, or call 705-444-8645.

Those seven, essential links are counting on one more essential link: You!
Be the eighth link and do some good in Collingwood.
Editor’s note: George Czerny is a retired newspaper reporter who has the scars to prove the successes of staff at G & M. He’s thankful for their help and our medical system’s existence.



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