“You’re going to help me register for classes, right?”
They are words Annette Pagliaro, a patient academic services school teacher at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, thought she would never hear from Carlton, a dialysis patient with whom she has been working closely. Just days before the question was “Are we going to make it?”
Class time during dialysis three times a week. Tutoring twice a week on non-treatment days. Online classes. Daily communication and countless meetings between Annette and Carlton’s high school. Eleven months. Enough credits to make up two years of high school.
All of it leads up to this. Graduation. It is a moment of pride (coupled with a little bit of disbelief) as teacher and student are surrounded by “congrats grad” balloons, family members and dialysis patients who are celebrating the accomplishments of Carlton and a handful of other graduates.
There’s no time for a sigh of relief though. Annette and Carlton have college courses to select.
As the vaccine comes to the frontline workers, a world of possibilities begins to open up.
For Gavin, the hospital isn’t all about challenges and adversity. It’s about giving joy to others.
The holidays she has altered to care for kids are too many to count, but as she retires, she leaves much for patients and colleagues to be thankful.
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