May 30, 2019
Ten years ago I wrote a book. The dedication read
I made a wish and you came true”
Today would have been our 51st Anniversary!
18 years ago he got a big diagnosis. His cancer was very rare,
usually found in extremities of younger people...
not in the abdomen touching every major organ and not in someone his age.
Prognosis nil. No chance of survival.
One of the biggest
hospitals in the world wanted to do radiation and chemo immediately. With such a poor diagnosis why would you put him through this ordeal!!?
It was through the dedication, brilliance, caring, kindness and treatment of this hospital's family medicine department that we got another 13 years and most of that was quality... the real quality of life.
Our orchestra leader, Dr. Joyce King, was in charge and taking 100s if not 1000s of calls from my beautiful husband. And not once making Lee feel like he was a bother. To this day I don’t know how she did it all.
Dr. King even taught my Lee, at the age of 80, how to text...not an easy task. Even though he was a Wharton graduate and CEO, he did not use technology.
The most amazing part of his ongoing care was the way he was treated first as a person ...not a patient. Whenever Dr. King saw Lee...she really looked at him. Most doctors walk in the room while reading a history that was given to someone else.
No question that Dr. King had already read the labs, x-rays, scans etc but she asked how he was doing. How was he really doing and she really wanted to know? Amazing how well she knew her patient.
And she listened!
We had two criteria that gave us his condition. If he was not eating and not watching TV...he was in critical condition. I remember once when he was obstructed...had an NG tube, NPO for nine days...he was a sick cookie and they were talking about emergency surgery. That surgery, in my opinion, would have killed him...since he was not healing from a surgical wound.
And miraculously the obstruction opened up.
I forced some old fashioned prune juice down a disconnected NG tube. Of course, this was without doctors orders. Within minutes...he was hungry, eating roast beef sandwiches and the TV was on quite loud.
Family medicine was delighted, we celebrated. The surgeon may have been cheated out of a procedure but it was a happy day and Lee was up and ready to go home
During those 13 years, we saw a lot of specialists. When making a list there were 2 dozen including:
Family medicine, Oncology Surgeon, Oncologist, General surgeon, Orthopedic oncology, Pulmonologist, Cardiologist, Chemo-therapist, Radiologists, Proton Beam, GU, GI surgeon, Renal specialist, Plastic surgeon, Inhalation therapist, Hypobaric Chamber, Wound care and Wound vac, Physical therapy, Psychiatrist, Sleep apnea, Inhalation therapy, Oxygen therapy, Infusion platelets and more.
As an orchestra leader, Dr. King was personally in touch with and in tune with each of them!
There was one time I felt no one was seeing my LEE ROME, they were seeing a sick old man.
I scanned a couple of photos onto my iPad. They were from our honeymoon..51 years ago. I shared the pictures with anyone who came into the hospital room... doctors nurses, cleaning personnel, food service, and visitors.
"Oh Mr. Rome, you were a hunk, look how handsome.
There was an immediate, amazing and positive change in his condition.
This is one of the most important things I can leave you with.
Look at the patient before the illness.
Encourage family photos when they were vibrant, well and happy.
That is what you do under DR. JOYCE KING.
You look at the entire person not just the sick part.
For that, I will always be grateful!
Thank you, Dr. Joyce King and all the lucky physicians
who have the privilege of emulating this kind of care!
Congratulations to Dr. Joseph Brodine recipient of the
Lee Rome Award.
Dr. Brodine stood out among his colleagues as a physician who most exemplifies the qualities that Lee found most important for a personal physician. Especially caring for his patients in all aspects of their journey whether that was in the office, hospital or home.
It was an honor presenting The Lee Rome Memorial Award to
Dr. Brodine who just became a father!