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Valentines’ Day Greetings from Eastern Loudoun

Our valentines: This is an open love letter to the valiant staff of the Intensive Care Unit at the Lansdowne campus of Loudoun Hospital. For the 10 days before I wrote this column, a member of my extended family was fighting for her life with their expert assistance and support.

On the front lines of the battle at her bedside was a group of highly-skilled nurses, including Zack, Lennis, Bernie, Lorrie, Kathy, Heather and Amy. I sincerely apologize to those whose names do not appear here; I tried to keep a complete list but often was sidetracked by developing events.

In addition to these round-the-clock nurses, countless clinic technicians, respiratory technicians, doctors and other staff members were on the case. It was clear to see that all of them love their work and their patients. In the event that you or someone you love ever have a need for a hospital’s intensive care, this is a very good place to be.

One of the most amazing things to me was the way the nurses were able to keep a constant eye on their patients, the patients’ many vital sign monitors and the patients’ family members. With complicated medical interventions underway, the nurses knew just the right things to say to family members, the best way to say them and the perfect time for these conversations. In this high stress situation, those talks were almost as critical as the high tech medicine at work.

One more hero: In my last visit to the ICU waiting room, I met a gentleman from Loudoun who had memories of the county dating back to the 1930s. He told me that this winter’s big snowstorms reminded him of Loudoun’s weather in the 1940s.

In the course of our conversation, I learned a great deal about the county in the days before integration. At that time, African-American children walked miles to be educated, well beyond the schools near their neighborhoods, because the closer schools had been designated for use by white children only. Once in their classrooms, the youngsters were warmed by the heat from a wood-burning stove. The older students chopped the wood for the stove themselves. The younger students were seated closest to the stove to make sure that they stayed as warm as possible throughout the school day.

Our discussion was enhanced from time to time by comments from the members of his extended family sitting nearby. Some had come from as far as southern Maryland to be with him as he waited for word on his wife’s condition. It was obvious from the conversation that this was a large, loving and warm family. I was very fortunate to spend some time with them. I will be thinking of all of them on Valentines’ Day.

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It was clear to see that all of them love their work and their patients. In the event that you or someone you love ever have a need for a hospital�s intensive care, this is a very good place to be

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