I don’t often try and get too personal in this column, but this one may be an exception.
Our dedicated readers have certainly noticed that we have not been running any feature stories by Judy Sabin in the past month or so.
I’m sure there are folks out there who know the reason why, but there also must be many who don’t.
Judy underwent heart surgery on July 17 in Rochester. She had two mechanical heart valves put in, as well as several artery by-passes.
One valve was expected to be installed. The other, and the bypasses, were not. The doctors decided the additional procedures were necessary right before surgery began.
Judy was home and recovering after the surgery, and was excited to be returning to work on Aug. 23.
However, before she could return, she began having chest pains, and wound up back in St. Mary’s in Rochester.
This time it was a blood clot near one of the valves, causing it to not work properly.
The doctors hit the clot with a ‘clot-buster’ procedure. It worked. Unfortunately, it also caused bleeding in the brain, and a stroke.
The stroke has left Judy partially paralyzed on the right side, and unable to speak – other than a couple of words.
This would be a terrible thing to happen to anyone, but for someone who has always been an outgoing, talkative and cheerful person, it is devastating.
I think one of her reasons for being a reporter was to be able to go out and interview someone and talk with them.
She also loved to visit with everyone – from the residents to the staff – at her other part time job at St. Luke’s Lutheran Care Center.
We are praying every day for a miracle to come along, and have her be able to return to her work here at the Register, and at St. Luke’s.
It will take a miracle, and a tremendous amount of physical therapy, for that to happen.
On Wednesday, Judy was transferred from Rochester and is in a room at St. Luke’s, not far from her work area there.
We all miss Judy in our office, because she was the one who cheerfully greeted everyone and had the biggest smile of anyone here – even early on a Monday morning.
Remarkably, she still can break into a smile in her hospital bed when a familiar face comes for a visit.
We also miss her at the Register for her wonderful stories. I have lost track of how many people have complimented her on the many personal and moving features she has created over the past two years for us.
“Your paper is wonderful,” they will tell me. “Especially those stories by Judy Sabin.”
Judy has a knack for creating an in depth, full of detail, feature story that readers can’t wait to devour in total.
We occasionally kid her here at the Register about “writing a novel,” because her stories are sometimes quite long. She takes the kidding with a smile, and always says she hates to leave anything out, because everyone has such interesting lives to tell about.
In typical Judy Sabin fashion, she was planning on writing a story about her heart surgery which we could use in our next medical guide special section.
She was keeping a tape recorded log of everything that was going on before, during and after the surgery.
She had even contacted the pubic relations department at St. Mary’s and had talked them into having a photographer take some shots of the actual surgery, in case we needed them to go with the story.
Now, that story, like all the others she was thinking about doing, is put on hold. Because, her life has been effectively ‘put on hold.’
As with any catastrophic and unexpected health issue, Judy’s life has also been turned upside down, not only physically, but financially as well.
Even with health insurance, medical care is not inexpensive. And with not being able to work, and no pay checks coming in, bills mount up.
Judy has received a stack of get well cards a foot high at her hospital room, and many of them have included a check with a message from the sender saying they want to help her in some way.
We do too, here at the Register. If anyone wants to help Judy and her family in a financial way, we would be happy to accept the donation here at the Register office, and I will personally make sure it is given to Judy and her family.
But, even if you do not make a donation of money, I ask that you make a gift of your thoughts and prayers, because those are also very much needed.
After all, Judy still has many more stories to tell, and we all wish she would come back to us and be able to write them for you to read and enjoy.