Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Wednesday's Walk ~ Columbia Presbyterian's Homecoming Day

It's another Wednesday's Walk Down Memory Lane and I'm linking to Lynnette's blog Dancing Barefoot on Weathered Ground. This meme has been so much fun for me. I guess the older you get ...the more memories you cherish and want to remember.

I was born with a congenital heart defect in the days when modern surgical techniques were not fully developed. So, I was very sickly as a child.

This photo was taken when I was seven years old just before the doctors finally decided that I had to have the open heart surgery. This is my Grandpa and Nana Sumstad along with my baby sister Christine and brother Steve. If you missed my story about my grandfather, you can link to it here and here.

This photo was taken ten years later when I was a senior in high school. I am pictured here with my cardiologist, Dr. Sidney Blumenthal.My surgery had been performed at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in New York City. They had a special part of the hospital at that time called Babies' Hospital.

In 1970, the hospital began to host an annual Homecoming Day. It was a time when former patients could be reunited with each other and their nurses and doctors. I had been asked to speak to this huge audience of people and I was so honored.

Don't laugh at the hair style. It was popular in those days, along with short hemlines. Here I am with my hero. This is my heart surgeon, Dr. James Malm.

It's interesting but when I began searching for old photos, I came across the speech I gave to this gathering on Homecoming Day. I shared about my experience as a patient and how I remembered waking up in an oxygen tent with tubes coming out of all parts of my body. A wonderful nurse reassured me. And then I told them that I planned to become a nurse. I received lots of clapping from the medical staff and especially ...the nurses.

It really was a special day to see everyone once again and to say thank you. When I was leaving, I was approached by the news networks and asked to do an interview. I agreed and was seen in NY on the nightly news.

How's that for being famous for one day?

Now, don't forget to link over to Lynnette's blog to read about other participating bloggers' memories.

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Denise said...

Wow, such precious memories, bless you my friend.

Rebecca said...

I hope you don't mind...I posted a link to your blog - especially the Fitness Friday posts. I have been keeping a "healthy living" blog for a month or so (
primarily for my personal motivation. I haven't joined a "program" but need DAILY reminders to remain "steadfast and unmovable" in doing MY part to maintain the "temple"!

Brenda said...

I came to your blog through Rebecca's link. I loved reading a bunch of your posts--about your heart surgery, your dad, as well as some Friday Fitness entries. I will stop by again.


Lori said...

Thank you for sharing these photos. I have to say my first thought was "look at that high dress" ha!! That is awesome you were able to capture some pictures to remember that day.

JottinMama said...


What an awesome post, Debbie! Those pictures are amazing - you were precious in them :) What memories you have!

I hope your summer is going well and that you have a great rest of the week!

Sweet Blessings and Hugs,
Kate :)

Lilyofthevalley - Tanya said...

Thanks for sharing!

Saleslady371 said...

I think it's wonderful that you were able to speak about your experience and I bet you are a great speaker and communicator as well as nurse. Amazing how God used this for good and many have been comforted by your gift of nursing.

Warren Baldwin said...

What an amazing story! That is young to have heart surgery, and at a time before all the techniques were ironed out. That took some faith on the part of your parents. And you did become a cario-nurse, didn't you?

Anonymous said...

You have had such an interesting life, and I think it is so wonderful that have hung on to your pics, and in this case, the speech. I run across some of my old pics, and memorabilia sometimes. I think, "why am I keeping all this ole' stuff?" But for whatever reason, I just put it back where it was, only to find it again in a few years and remember...
By the way, I have some pics. of dresses about that short. We should compare....

Patricia said...

I enjoyed reading about your experience of the surgery and your return visits and speech. It's interesting to look back and see how past experiences have shaped our lives.

Lynnette Kraft said...

Well, I think you look beautiful. Yes, very pretty.

Now you have me wondering what your chd was. Did you only need the one surgery?

That's wonderful that you were asked to speak about your experiences - yes that is an honor.

Thanks for sharing.

Holly said...

That's awesome you spoke and got an interview. BTW I like your hair and outfit for real! ;)

Drahdrah said...

Wow, must have been a wonderful day for you. You look beautiful with that hairstyle !

Grammy and Olivia said...

What a great story. I love old pictures and the memories that they bring :0)

Kelly @ The Beauty of Sufficient Grace said...

Amazing story...and I love the beautiful pictures.

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