Don Cushing’s Story: I Never Felt Alone

Japan, Taiwan, Hawaii, New Mexico, Massachusetts, and more. By the time he was 11 years old, Don Cushing had seen them all and then some. As the son of a USAF airman, Don moved every two years and learned from an early age how to adapt to a new home, a new school, and new friends.

Now, having just turned 70, he lives a less nomadic life relaxing and enjoying the Florida sunshine. However, in August of 2023, a health scare threatened that peaceful existence.

“I was having a lot of trouble breathing. While I do suffer from COPD, this felt very different.  So, I got myself to the ER at St. Joe’s,” explains Don.

Although Don has a few neighbors he is friendly with, he had no remaining family members to support him during his medical crisis.

“I was in strange surroundings, a strange room, strange bed. I grew up learning how to deal with and acclimate to new situations, but when you’re in a hospital all by yourself and concerned about your physical well-being, that’s hard to do.”

Despite his anxieties, Don soon realized he was in good hands at St. Joseph’s Hospital.

From the first nurse who walked into his room – who Don refers to as his angel – to all the doctors, techs and other St. Joe’s team members who made sure he was getting the care he needed, Don said he never felt alone. Not once.

“What impressed me the most was how everyone treated me like an individual. It all felt very personal. And they always made sure I understood everything that was being done and everything that was happening. They had conversations with me, not just about my medical situation, but about my life, and that felt really good.”

When it was determined he needed a stent placed to clear up a clogged artery, Don said he never felt any fear.

“It was the oddest thing, but I felt so calm and secure. I mean no one wants to find themselves in the hospital facing a procedure, especially alone. But I genuinely felt so reassured by the care I’d received up to that point.”

Don was so pleased with his truly exceptional St. Joe’s experience, he felt compelled to share his thoughts, saying that he wanted to make sure his medical team, especially the nurses, were acknowledged for everything they did for him.  He is also quick to point out that it’s important for others in his community to know they have such a wonderful option for their health care.

“I’ve been in and out of different hospitals over the course of my life, and I’ve never experienced care like this. I am grateful to know that if I need further medical care in the future, there is a place I can go where I won’t be alone.”