In the summer of 1993 my mother was diagnosed with cancer and passed away in within two weeks. Those days were filled with medical appointments, tests and hospital visits. My sisters and I were trying to sort through all of the information that was coming at us while trying to help my parents make some hard decisions regarding treatment options.
At the end of one week we were physically and emotionally exhausted. Bad news after more bad news led to raw emotions. Anthony, a hospital orderly, was an angel who offered comfort and reassurance as opposed to other staff who made a difficult situation even more stressful. The staff knew our mother was dying- so did we. Yet, they told us there were too many of us in the room, we couldn’t have food in her room, we couldn’t stay past 8:00 p.m. We could not understand why, at a time like this, they would be so focused on the rules.
After my mom died, I reflected on the various people who had been involved in her care those last days and the impact they had – both positive and negative. I decided then that I wanted to work in the medical field and do whatever I could to ease a family’s burden, never making it more difficult for them. When I met Dr. Edwards in 2013, he told me his vision for Memory Center Charlotte. He described a unique practice where the needs of both the patient and the caregiver would be addressed. This vision came about because of his own experience in caring for his parents who had Alzheimer’s disease. I knew Memory Center Charlotte was where I wanted to work.
Even though we cannot offer a cure for Alzheimer’s or other dementias, our patients and caregivers are so appreciative. They tell us how much our staff has helped them on their journey. Their words reaffirm that what we are doing is worthwhile.
Recently, a caregiver sent a note to Dr. Edwards that read, “The past four years have been an interesting journey, and I have learned much about life and death. There were frequent moments when I felt lost, if not hopeless. When things seemed to have reached their nadir, the good Lord brought you into our lives two years ago. Without your expertise, encouragement and support, it is difficult to imagine how we would have made it through.”
Thank you for allowing us to walk alongside your families during your most vulnerable and private moments. We hope we are making this tough journey a little easier.
As you may know, Memory Center Charlotte has always been the active programming arm of the Charlotte Neuroscience Foundation. In January, we started the process of becoming a single non-profit foundation designed to impact the lives of individuals suffering from Alzheimer’s and related dementias and those who care for them. This will allow us to better pursue our commitment to the vision that Dr. Edwards described to me years ago. We are still Memory Center Charlotte, doing the same work alongside families who need our help.
Thank you for the opportunity you give me each and every day to be “an Anthony” when someone needs it the most.
Memory Center Charlotte