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Thank you, Madera Community Hospital

Last Wednesday night, I happened to attend our City Council meeting. I occasionally like to attend, just to see what’s happening with those folks who manage our beloved city. I was glad to see the Boy Scouts lead the flag salute and Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag. I was also happy to see that the Madera County Food Bank was honored with one of those proclamations from the Mayor of Madera. The Food Bank is an organization that is well-deserving of an honor.

On the agenda was a request of $1 Million for Madera Community Hospital, to help with their deficits after a three-year battle with COVID-19 and the rising costs associated with the pandemic.

The hospital’s CEO, Karen Paolinelli, used a slideshow presentation to explain some of the struggles they have experienced over the past several years, such as obtaining the PPE equipment and other needed supplies that had not been required before the pandemic. She also explained the labor requirements, as mandated for hospitals, and the high expenses associated with requirements for hiring traveling nurses and other medical staff. She stated how she had lost staff as a result of the mandated requirement for hiring outside of the community.

After her initial explanations for requesting additional funds, Paolinelli asked Mark Foote, Madera Community Hospital CFO, to present financial information showing their current status, and their pre-pandemic status. Other representatives also spoke.

Following the presentation, several of the city council members asked some questions and made comments, which gave the hospital presenters the impression the council’s mind was already made up and the decision may not be a positive one. However, I sensed the others who were attending seemed sympathetic to the quest of the hospital.

This presentation really struck a chord with me, and it prompted me to write this article that has been in my head ever since last fall when I had the experience of rooming at our community hospital for 10 days.

The final week of October 2021, I tested positive for that wonderful disease labeled as COVID-19. I had been feeling kind of “icky,” and since the suggestion of friends and family was to get tested, I got tested. At the time, I didn’t have the normal symptoms, so I really didn’t think I had COVID. I had no headache, no fever; I still had my sense of taste and smell. I just felt icky and weak, and I was dehydrated.

In a couple of days, I thought I would be fine. I had hardly ever been sick in my life, so I thought I would easily get over this thing. I did not. By the end of the weekend, my husband also started feeling “icky” and passed out in the bathroom, hit his nose on something and was bleeding like crazy. So, off to the emergency room we went.

Madera Community Hospital took both of us in immediately. He got stitched up, tested positive for COVID, was given an infusion of antibodies, and they sent him home.

I was admitted to the hospital. Two days I spent at MCH, while they infused me with antibodies, and gave me something to hydrate me a bit, then released me.

One week later, I was back at Madera Community Hospital with oxygen level at about 55. Again, MCH immediately took me into emergency and admitted me. I spent the next 8 days in a room on the third floor.

This was not the best time of my life, but I can tell you that every hour of every day I spent in that room, I thanked God for that hospital, and all its staff. These people risk their lives every day they walk into that building. From the CEO to the person who mops the floors, the staff selflessly helps patients, and each of them makes sure the sick folks know someone cares.

The time I spent in that hospital was a time of thankfulness for me. I am a person of strong faith, and I believe in the power of prayer. I knew folks were praying for me, and I felt the strength of those prayers; but I did not pray for myself. I prayed prayers of gratitude for each person who came into my room, and I thanked each one of them as they helped me. I thanked the nurses and the doctors, the nurse’s assistants, and the ones who came to clean the room. I thanked God for them, and for that wonderful hospital in our community of Madera. We are blessed to have it.

If I had a million dollars I could give to the hospital, I would do it.

Be thankful for our great community, and for our great hospital.

— My love to all,


• • •

“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

— 1 Thessalonians 5:18


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