Supportive Staff Made the Difference
In February, John Leggett had a cold that wouldn’t go away. He was never so lucky. The cold was pneumonia, and the X-ray that helped diagnose it detected something much more serious — a cancerous mass in his lung.
"Sometimes you get lucky,” John said. “That was one of those times.”
The treatment and caring John and his wife, Joan, experienced after the discovery were anything but luck. They benefitted from confident, expert medical treatment and compassionate, caring staff from diagnostic and pre-surgery testing, to successful surgery and recovery.
Less than two months after the X-ray, Dr. Alexandru Mihai Vaida of Concord Hospital Medical Group Cardiothoracic Surgery removed the mass from John’s lung. John decided to undergo chemotherapy during the summer as an extra measure to ensure he is cancer-free.
John and Joan said Dr. Vaida’s confidence and willingness to answer their questions eased their concerns and built their own confidence after a frightening diagnosis.
“You come home and dust off your things and make sure your affairs are in order,” said John, who is 78. “Then, you talk to Dr. Vaida and others and learn it’s not as bad as you were thinking. That really changes your perspective on things. Instead of, ‘Why me, why do I have this cancer?’ it’s ‘How did I get so lucky that it’s a lot better than I thought.”
From their first meeting, Dr. Vaida was very reassuring.
“You really need that,” John said. “He had a model of the lung and said ‘Here’s the tumor. Here’s what we are going to do and here’s why.’ Even though it’s scary, you know what’s going to happen.”
Joan said their first meeting with Dr. Vaida convinced her that John was in good hands.
“He was fantastic,” she said. “I kept reassuring John that everything is going to be fine.”
As she waited at the Hospital during John’s four-hour procedure, Joan saw that the Hospital’s caring approach also included her.
“A person kept coming out, at least every 20 minutes or so, to say ‘Everything is okay. It’s coming along.’ She was impressive,” Joan said. “You don’t worry.”
Having detailed information about his procedure and seeing the technology that helped diagnose and treat him was important to John, a retired electrical engineer. But, he said he was most impressed with the caring attitude he experienced.
A small gesture made a big difference during a treadmill stress test. John feared he would fail, meaning he was not healthy enough to have the surgery that eventually saved his life.
“It was stressful physically, as well as mentally,” he said. While he was panting on the treadmill, the stress test technician, Allison McCague, gently touched John’s back.
“What a difference,” he said. The show of support helped ease his anxiety.
“It’s the people,” he said of his Hospital experience. “Yes, it’s nice that the food is quite decent. Yes, the ambiance is fine and people come around with books and helpful things, but it’s the caring support of the people,” John said. “That’s the big one.”