Dear St Elizabeth,
Today, I reflect on three powerful things — hope, healing, and my healthy future. These attributes are cemented in who I am today. But they weren’t always.
As I look back over the years, St. Elizabeth has been my place of hope and healing. For over 20 years, you have taken care of me — from primary care to diabetes management to chemical dependency treatment to helping improve my mental health. You’ve even been the place for surgery, orthopedic care, and ophthalmology services. All because you made me feel safe, and you understood my needs.
I have had three strokes and a traumatic brain injury. I’ve struggled with substance abuse, obesity, and diabetes. That WAS me. But not anymore.
There was a time when I had difficulty connecting with others. Many judged me. People didn’t understand traumatic brain injuries and how they alter behaviors. I would say things I didn’t mean and act out in ways I didn’t want to.
I met Dr. Philip Hartman, and it was the first time I felt listened to and supported. He’s smart, funny, and charismatic. I shared my life story with him, my struggles with substances. I said I wanted holistic help.
Because St. Elizabeth believes physical health and mental health go hand in hand, he introduced me to Jaclyn, a therapist.
Jaclyn and I talked about my life. She never judged me. She taught me real-life tips to help me develop skills; she provided resources to encourage my success; she made me feel safe and helped me strengthen my marriage.
In 2014, I was severely obese and diabetic. Dr. Bradley Eilerman said I needed weight loss surgery — something I didn’t want. So, he gave me diabetes resources and connected me to a care coordinator. He encouraged me to start exercising and eating well and gave me the tools to do it. I lost over 281 pounds and feel better than I ever have.
St. Elizabeth saved my life. I care about them so much that every 62 days, I donate blood in honor of them.
David “Biscuit” Edwards