Friday, June 17, 2011

Saint Anthony's Central Hospital

One of our area hospitals is moving this weekend from its location in Denver to Lakewood. To me it is not just a local hospital; it is THE hospital around here. Saint Anthony's Central was where my mom worked all of our growing up years, and now it is moving from its location near Sloan's Lake right into the backyard of where we lived during those years. It will be just minutes from the house where I was raised. My sister and I joked with our mom the other day about how great her commute would have been all of those years if it would have been where it will be now. My mom said that Saint Anthony's has been wanting to be along the major corridors for years and years. Now it will be along the busy and bustling and growing Sixth Avenue corridor.

The old building holds so many memories for me. My mom started out at the Saint Anthony's North campus, but moved to the Central location before too long back in the 70's. She worked as a floor nurse for many years on 4 West, which was a post surgical floor. I cannot even tell you all of the horrible stories she used to regale us with at dinner time. Conversations that were so not fit for the dinner table! She worked part time for a while on 2 West B, which was a cardiac unit. I remember when she was learning how to read the EEG printouts. Then she worked in utilization review, eventually becoming its manager. She worked under the doctor who was one of the team that started the whole Flight for Life program. Saint Anthony's was the first hospital in Denver to have helicopters to use for emergency services.

I worked there one summer when I was 15 as a volunteer; it must have been the summer of 1986 right before I turned 16. Yes, that's right, a candy striper. I wore the uniform and everything! The picture above is one from clip art. I don't even think I have any pictures of myself in that old uniform. Mine was actually striped, and I wore the white shoes. I am glad to not have a picture of that time with my big eighties girl mullet hair! I worked in the radiology department every Thursday. I mostly helped the receptionists with filing and looking up of information on the old microfiche system. Ocassionally I would take patients back to the changing rooms and tell them what to do before the radiologists came in to get them for their x-rays. My mom and I would have lunch together each of those days. It was a nice bonding experience with her.

I remember that before my volunteer time, they used to have smothered burritoes every Thursday. Sometimes in the summers or breaks from school, if my mom would have off on a Thursday, she would take us down to the hospital and we would have those burritoes. I remember them being so very good. I wonder if they will still serve them at the new hospital?? I don't think they have had smothered burrito Thursdays for a very long time!

My youngest sister, Nellie, was even born there. She had to stay in the NICU for ten days for pneumonia, GI bleeding, and jaundice. Those NICU nurses were so kind and caring!

Maybe someday my kids will want to volunteer or work there. It is much closer to us now, even though we don't live in that old Green Mountain neighborhood anymore, we are only about 15 minutes away from the new location. Godspeed to them this weekend as they move patients from the old to the new and open up the emergency room. And farewell to that big old building that holds so many memories for me and my family!

The new Saint Anthony's Central in Lakewood

The old Saint Anthony's Central in Denver off of Colfax and Sheridan

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