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Thoughts of Gratitude for our Local Hospital

By Kathy Hubbard

While walking across the Jack Parker Bridge skywalk from the Health Services Building to the hospital last Wednesday, I couldn’t help but think about how fortunate we are to have such an impressive facility in such a small town. I’ve been grateful for Bonner General often and have often written about how lucky I think we are.

Back in the late 80s, when I first started visiting the area, the hospital was tiny compared to today. My first visit was when my late husband took a fishing hook in his finger. I know, that’s not uncommon; it happens all the time.

But, this time, there was a fish on the hook, flopping around and, as you would suspect, not at all happy to be stuck between the barb and a finger on a man who was using some pretty strong language. We managed to kill the fish, it was pretty small, but we couldn’t get the hook out. It was seriously embedded. So, the three of us headed to the emergency department.

I suspect the staff thought it was as funny as I did, but they managed to get the hook out with minimal bleeding and sincere concern and professionalism. After a tetanus shot and an impressive bandage, we were sent on our way with our little dead catch-of-the-day lying in the cooler.

On our way home to Spokane, I remember saying how lucky we were that Sandpoint had a hospital. If not, we would have needed to drive the 70-plus miles to get help. I was thinking about this again while walking from building to building for regular diagnostic imaging and wondering what approach I would take to tell you about National Hospital Week.

It occurred to me that if we didn’t have BGH, I most likely would either postpone or ignore these tests. I wondered how many others would agree? The fact that it’s just a seven-minute drive from my home to BGH made it so very easy. It didn’t eat up most of the day to go to and fro. Plus, I was back to my home project quickly without spending more than a dime’s worth of gas.

I’m grateful that our healthcare center is convenient and efficient. And, I have to add that the check-in staff and the three techs I saw were outstanding in their knowledge, abilities, and genuine caring. Having state-of-the-art equipment gave me confidence that my tests would be accurate.

Hospital Week started as Hospital Day in 1921 in the wake of the 1918 Spanish flu epidemic. It was expanded to a week in 1953, coinciding with Nurse’s Week and honoring Florence Nightingale, who revolutionized hospital care.

Bonner General Health employs around 450 individuals who dedicate their lives to healthcare. Whether they provide administrative services, housekeeping or culinary services, or hands-on medical care, they’re the backbone of the health of our community.

Nationally there are about 5 million healthcare workers, and you only have to turn on the evening news to see how stretched thin they’ve all been in this last year. It’s a great time, as we see the pandemic easing, to give a rousing cheer of “thank you” to all who’ve unselfishly given their time and expertise.

A couple of years ago, I quoted CEO Sheryl Rickard as saying, “A hospital is more than a place where people go to heal; it is a part of the community that fosters health and represents hope. Our staff, physicians, and volunteers are invested in caring from the heart every day. From providing medical care in our facilities to participating in vital programs in our community, we are committed to participating in the wellbeing of our community members.”

I know she’s still saying that, and I’ll echo the sentiment. I could tell you lots of BGH stories. I bet you have some too. I’ll say how grateful I am to live in the most beautiful area in the world with the best community hospital and healthcare providers in any town our size. Will you join me?

Kathy Hubbard is a member of the Bonner General Health Foundation Advisory Council. She can be reached at kathyleehubbard@yahoo.com.

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