Forty years ago, I saw for the first time what Washington C.H.’s Main Street Fayette is promoting here: “Shop/Buy Local.” A sign in 1980 in the butcher shop window of the fifth-generation Josef Kendler, living and working in the picturesque Austrian lakeside village of St. Gilgen, implored in German: “Fahr Nicht Fort – Kauf im Dorf!” (“Don’t drive off – buy in the village!”)
I thought that was a worthy concept, and I’ve tried my best to follow that concept ever since.
Here in Washington C.H., my parents were unable to “buy local” in the mid-1940s when we four Craig children were being born, as there was no Fayette County Memorial Hospital at that time. Harry Craig had to drive Theresa Craig all the way to Greene County’s hospital in Xenia for each of those four deliveries.
When I myself was diagnosed with breast cancer in June of this year, however, Fayette County Memorial Hospital did exist; and instead of driving to a big-name cancer center in a big city, I decided to have as many steps as possible handled locally. Thus I have written this “Letter to the Editor” to sing the praises of the staffs at FCMH and the two Medical Arts Buildings 1 and 2.
The impossibility of naming every single medical professional who has helped me during the past two months of mammograms, ultrasounds, surgery, and follow-up saddens me, but I’m going to forge ahead anyway with just a few examples.
Skilled doctors such as radiologist Dr. Michael Barrows and surgeon Dr. William Stevenson obviously had the most major roles. Nurses like Lindsey (Taylor) Gustin, Tara (Bartruff) Mossbarger, and Sheree Monroe typified the competent, cheery direct-care staff. Nuclear operator Charlie Crutcher kept me diverted as radioactive material drained into my lymph nodes. Even my former high school German student Zach Camp, now head pharmacist at our hospital, recognized me despite my mask from half a hallway distant, and called out encouragingly.
My own cancer journey is not over—I’m not even far enough along yet to see how Medicare calculates my share of the bills—but the care I have received at our Fayette County Memorial Hospital complex during these first two months has earned my eternal gratitude.