A month in the hospital, divided between Oregon Health & Science University and St. Charles, and close to a week in ICU in each facility.

What I remember is returning to St. Charles and being pushed off the fifth floor elevator toward my room.

Although it was already late when I arrived at St. Charles, my surgeon was called in to evaluate me.

I cannot say enough about the medical or technical staff at St. Charles; they were superb. But the real praise is for the fifth-floor nurses. They worked diligently with all other hospital staff to find the best medications, therapy and diet to aid in my recovery.

By this point my dignity was gone. But the nurses continued to encourage me and praise me for the steps I was making. There was never a single complaint about having to care for me. When I was feeling down somebody was always there just to talk and encourage me.

The city of Bend and Central Oregon owe much to our little hospital.

As the community moves into a new year I hope it remembers St. Charles in its gifts and donations. This hospital needs to retain quality of staff, stay current with technological advances, plan for expansion as Central Oregon continues to grow, and improve the general milieu.

I needed to be in Portland OHSU early in my treatment, but, thank God, St. Charles was here to pick me up and offer me real hope.

Jim Guffey