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The Sun letter to the editor: Local man gives thanks for caregivers

It’s been a bit over two weeks since I surgically replaced both of my hips at the ripe old age of 47 years old. After years of the wear and tear of youth sports, “adult” sports and three decades of employment, I chose not to steep myself in denial that the constant pain of arthritis was something I could continue to handle on my own. With the deft hand of a skillful surgeon and his assistants, I am on my way to recovery.

I am back home now. The loving help of my wife and three children and extended family is a constant reminder to me. No matter how proud and independent one feels he his, one can not go through this life alone. I learned very quickly that the helping hand that I so dearly needed extended far beyond my own family.

For the past two weeks, my entire ability to function as a human being was made possible by the fantastic staff of health care professionals at Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital and Autumn View Heath Care Facility in Hamburg, N.Y.

I can not adequately express my gratitude to these men and women who are nothing short of angelic in their daily care of hundreds of Western New Yorkers in various states of physical need. Besides the dispensing of care or medicine, I witnessed, first-hand, what the miracle of attention, a smile, a “good morning” or love can do, for the recovery of any patient.

For a few days, I was no more capable of caring for myself than a baby. At my most vulnerable, I was afforded the most dignity. Even in my most compromising positions I found embarrassing, I was assured that whatever relief my staff was providing for me was “part of their job.”

I can’t even pretend to know what the actual hierarchy of positions in the medical profession might be. All I know, is that from top to bottom, whatever these people are paid is woefully low for the services they provide.

My own daughter has thoughts of pursuing a career in some facet of the medical field, and when I asked a few of my aides and nurses what their compensation was, I was appalled. How can one who dedicates their professionalism to the care of another human being be paid scantly more than a dollar an hour than someone who presses a button on the french fry machine or makes a taco?

We all can’t change the pay structure of the medical profession tomorrow, but what we can change is our perception of those who give so much of themselves, so that we may return to some semblance of a regular routine whatever that routine may be. Though the gratitude may not show up in any paycheck, a simple thank you or any gesture of appreciation can be a fine start.

Let each and every one of these wonderful people know how much their care means to you and your loved ones.

Let me be the first today, to all those who assisted me to get me out of beds, chairs, showers, toilets, and back on my feet, “thank you!”

Richard Kozak Jr.
Lake View

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