The average person will take nearly six million breaths in his or her lifetime. It's an action that we perform continuously, automatically – courtesty of the medulla oblongata – until an illness or injury compromises the action.
There was nothing "average" about Estelle Glick, a patient at Florida Hospital Fish Memorial in Orange City, who had had a chronic lung condition for many years, sometimes making it extremely difficult to breathe and making her more prone to infection and pneumona. While hospitalized with pneumonia several years ago, after struggling for days to keep her lungs clear, she told her daughter Bonnie Resnick that she didn't know how much longer she could go on.
"She was a fighter beyond belief," Resnick said, as she detailed her mother's history of health issues. Estelle ("Bubby") survived a bout with colon cancer, triple-bypass surgery and an aortic dissection, and cervical spine surgery, as well as her chronic lung condition. It took a lot to keep her mother down, Resnick said.
Resnick knew it was serious when her mother complained about her breathing troubles. Fortunately, Estelle's physician had a solution: a piece of medical equipment he called an "airway vest" that could ease her breathing difficulties. The vest, which looks almost like a life jacket, is designed to mobilize secretions that may contribute to or complicate respiratory conditions.
The vest "really saved her life," Resnick said, and allowed Estelle to be discharged from the hospital and get back to doing her favorite things – cooking, shopping, having fun, thinking about her grandchildren, Jesse, Jamie and Dennis, and anticipating the birth of her first great-grandchild, Noah. Resnick said her mother also treasured the moments spent with her special friend, David Smith.
Estelle was always doing for others, Resnick added. When Resnick and her brother Michael were growing up in Maryland, her mother contacted the department stores to take their returned or rejected merchandise off their hands. Then Estelle would take the clothing home, repair any rips or tears, replace buttons, launder the clothing, and then deliver the load to the Armory in Washington, D.C., where they were distributed to the poor.
"Like all of us, my mother had her flaws, but she could be very compassionate," Resnick said. Even in her 70s, Estelle was moved to take care of others – she trained to work in Hospice, where she enjoyed caring for her patients and their families for several years, until her own health began to fail.
Resnick is still reeling from the loss of her beloved mother, who died recently at 84. Despite her grief, Resnick wanted to show her family's gratitude for the compassionate care she received from the dedicated nurses and physicians at Florida Hospital Fish Memorial by donating the $15,000 piece of medical equipment that extended her quality of life.
The gift is something Estelle would have approved of, Resnick said. "She had a great sense of humor, a generous spirit, and a tremendous zest for life. She would be thrilled that her medical equipment has been donated for others to use for years to come."