From the Desk of Lew M. Simon, Democratic District Leader, 23rd A.D. Part B
The last two weeks during the holiday have been the worst and most difficult in a long time. During the third night of Passover my cell phone rang. It was my brother-in-law Pierce, who called to let me know that my sister Fran, who is only 40, had a heart attack.
We found out that she needed a triple bypass. One good thing is that the heart attack caused no damage to the heart muscle. She had 80%. 90% and 90% blockage and needed a triple bypass. She had the operation the next morning at North Shore University Hospital.
Brother Lew-Uncle Lew had to step in and help out. I had the great pleasure of watching my nephew and three nieces. My nephew is five and my three nieces are eight, ten and eleven. They were a joy and pleasure to baby-sit.
It was quite obvious that my sister and brother-in-law instilled great manners and respect in their upbringing. During this difficult time the children were on their best behavior.
My second born niece, who is 10, is autistic. It is heartbreaking to see a beautiful young girl sit with a radio, looking at herself in the mirror and singing. Thank God my sister and brother-in-law have great strength and love their children. Thank God, I’m happy to say my sister finally came home on April 16 to recuperate. Although she has constant aches and pains, my heart goes out to her.
On Easter Sunday the second shoe fell, when one of our dedicated and devoted club members had a heart attack and wound up in Peninsula Hospital. I was eating Easter dinner at the home of Al Catanese Jr. with his lovely family, father, mother, aunt, uncle, mother-in-law, wife and children. As anyone who has ever gone to the Cataneses for dinner would know, you are welcomed as part of the family. Maria and her lovely children, mother Agnes and her sisters treat you like gold.
After just finishing my meal, my cell phone went off. Sally, John’s sister, called to tell me about John. He was in the emergency room waiting for a room in the CCU (coronary). I immediately said goodbye to the Cataneses and thanked them for their hospitality. As I was leaving Al and Maria gave me a beautiful 20 lb. Turkey (incidentally turkey IS on my diet) to eat and share with whom I want. God bless them. I had dinner for a week.
Lets get back to Peninsula Hospital, CEO Bob Levine had given me his cell number and told me don’t hesitate to call when needed. Well, you know me, not being shy at all, we called. Bob was in Vegas with his family for the holiday. When we spoke to Bob, we explained the situation. John was waiting for a bed upstairs. Knowing Bob for the gentleman that he is, he made arrangements for me to sit in the emergency room while they made arrangements for the bed on the third floor.
While in the emergency room, of course, this yenta who knows everyone started to talk to and assist a number of patients. That Easter Sunday evening the emergency room was packed. Peninsula Hospital tried to go on diversion, when the emergency room is full, and ambulances are sent to neighboring hospitals like St. Johns had done. Unfortunately they didn’t allow Peninsula to do so. Even with a crowded emergency room the staff was superb, being available for the needs of all who came in, responding quickly, pleasantly; to those who knock Peninsula, think twice.
John was brought up to the General Coronary Care unit. When going upstairs it was like old times with my mom, God rest her soul. The staff hugged me and kissed me, remembering me from my mom’s long stay there through the years. Their loving, caring, kind and tireless work is most definitely appreciated by all those in the wing. They stay on top of the patient providing expert, loving care.
John, who is 62 years of age and has what we call the Gold Card, Medicaid, did not want to use his card or abuse it. For the last two weeks, it was quite obvious that he was in congestive heart failure since he had hard time breathing and was filling up with water. He would not go to the doctor until after he spent Easter with his family. He also felt he did not want to abuse his medical coverage. It is a shame that anyone who is legally eligible for Medicaid is scared to use it for fear it would not be there in an emergency.
I really think that after John had the scare of his life, he learned his lesson. He is currently a patient at Peninsula under the care of two fantastic, well-educated, personal doctors with great bedside manners, Dr. Martin Grossman and the cardiologist, Dr. Mel Young. They are a great team of loving and caring doctors. Bob Levine and his staff continue to keep in contact each day with all the patients. The care is superb.
On Friday afternoon I was pleasantly surprised and got a great uplift to my spirit when I stopped by at the Neponsit Day Care Center. We were shocked to be presented with a plaque inscribed, "Special Recognition Award presented to the Honorable Lew M. Simon in grateful appreciation "Because of your diligent and tireless efforts, we now have this beautiful new building." You promised to reopen adult day care and you kept your promise. Thank you. Director Staff and Clients DSSN-Neponsit Adult Day Care Center March 9, 2004." The plaque was paid for by a collection from the staff members in deep gratitude.
During the past week I went in to get a couple of things to give to one of the homeless ladies we always buy something for. I stopped at Fashion Wave at 218 Beach 116th Street, which is owned by Ed Innes. Jane Volgende, the salesperson, assisted me as usual with this purchase. She is one of the sweetest and kindest women you could ask for.
We noticed their famous brands ladies shoes, Gloria Vanderbilt and Lord and Taylor in all sizes and women’s tops by Lands End. Go check out some of their new merchandise.
Due to some confusion during the past week our Atlantic City bus trip to Trump Marina will be on Saturday, April 24, leaving at 5:30PM and returning 8AM. The cost is $30 with $17 returned. The tickets are still available. Call 945-1216 for reservations.
Anyone who is interested in working on the election board for the September primary and the November general election who is 18 years of age, a registered Democrat and a resident of my district should call me. You earn $200 per day.
A training class pays $25. If you work both days there is a $35 bonus. The work hours are from 5:45AM to 9:15PM.
My district includes Rockaway west of Beach 95 Street, Broad Channel Breezy Point, Rockwood Park and Ozone Park.