Pat O’Neill’s 72nd birthday didn’t go how he originally planned. “I didn't expect all this. I didn't expect to be here this long. But I'm glad I was because I have met a lot of good people,” O’Neill said from his hospital bed at Rochester General Hospital.
O’Neill suffered a stroke in early February. Due to setbacks and other health concerns, he’s spent the last two and a half months at Rochester General Hospital. COVID-19 restrictions and social distancing policies have also prevented O’Neill from seeing visitors, even on his birthday. But he developed a special bond with the team of health care professionals watching over him, and his new friends at RGH didn’t want him to feel lonely on his big day.
“They gave me this cool cupcake because they knew I wanted chocolate,” O’Neill said. “I wanted to do something more for him,” said Lisa Farrell, Physical Therapist at Rochester General Hospital. “I was at Wegmans and figured I’d get some poster board and markers and balloons. I just wanted to gather up anyone I could find to sign a card for him.”
While O’Neill has leaned on the staff during recovery, the staff have found comfort in O’Neill’s jovial approach to life during a difficult time.
“Any time you form a bond with a patient it's great, but especially right now, because there's not much positivity going on in the world,” Farrell said. “It helps me remember why I got into this field in the first place.”
O’Neill’s positivity also helps him stay focused on his goals. “I'm going to make even more progress, a lot more. O'Neill was recently discharged and is now recovering at a local rehab facility.
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