Two years ago, to the day, my family and I found ourselves on Cornell 2 with the very difficult task of saying goodbye to our mother. We thought that she would get better, as she had in the past but this time, it was her final journey to the hospital and she would be going to heaven from her hospital room. At approximately 6 pm, we decided to maintain comfort measures. At 7 pm, we had no idea that the new nurse to take over mom's care would impact our lives in ways we did not know existed. That nurse's name was Andrea Caldwell. As we knew she had just come on shift, she took the reins and carried us through what would be the worst night of our lives. She listened closely to the memories, traditions, and characteristics of our mom. She not only listened, but she absorbed the stories with pure, genuine interest. Even though she had a team of other patients who were under her care, we were made to feel like she was our private nurse, friend, counselor and the best advocate mom could have ever dreamed of. For that, we were eternally grateful to that "amazing new nurse" on Cornell 2. As you can expect, the funeral and life without mom followed but Andrea's kindness and compassion have been in our hearts eternally.
As I've been to Martha Jefferson Hospital several times to visit friends and family, I somehow was able to avoid being on the Cornell unit. That being said, I was admitted for chest pain/possible cholecystectomy. Being a woman who just turned 50 a few weeks ago, you can imagine my state of mind as we were awaiting the results of tests while continuing to experience tremendous discomfort mimicking a heart attack. Low and behold, Andrea Caldwell comes into my room at the beginning of her shift to introduce herself (as you may know from personal experience when someone has a tremendous impact in your life, you never forget). immediately, we both recognized each other. As the shock wore off, we began to reminisce about how we met two years ago (to the day). I started thanking her all over again for the incredible impact she had on myself and my family during the worst time of our lives. To my surprise, she remembered details right along with me. How that is possible, I have no idea but there she was, reminiscing with me. Then came all the challenges I was facing in real time regarding my own health. Needless to say, Andrea lived up to her reputation as an advocate, caregiver, counselor (in more ways than one) and all over "whisperer".
Since I have been on the receiving end of Andrea's care as a family member and as a direct patient, it is my very very humble opinion that Andrea Caldwell is the epitome of "Chicken Soup for The Family and Patient's Soul(s)". To say that I was fortunate to be on the receiving end of Andrea's compassion not once but twice is not just luck, it was extraordinary and for that, I am grateful to your institution for hiring her, the faculty that educated her and her parents for raising such an incredible young woman.