This story is written by Lindsay Wiseman, Digital Communications Intern at Arnold Palmer Hospital.
It’s pretty incredible how a single institution can be such a huge part of someone’s life. Through the good and the bad, Arnold Palmer Hospital has been a constant in my fairly young life. For starters, it was the hospital I was born in. Four years later, my brother, Ryan, was born here as well. I can still remember playing in the lobby castle with my dad, while my mother was upstairs in the early stages of labor. I remember seeing the Genie from Aladdin floating in the air and being amazed by it all.
Later on in my childhood, I would visit Arnold Palmer Medical Center often to visit the charming Dr. Charles Price. When I was 2 years old, I was diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, and Dr. Price assisted me in having the proper shoe-ware and braces for my ankles and knees
Not only did I visit Arnold Palmer Medical Center often, but so did my brother. He, too, was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease as an infant. However, instead of arthritis, his life-long obstacle would be Crohn’s Disease. Eventually, he became a patient of Dr. Jeffrey Bornstein- his gastroenterologist.
When I was in high school, I decided to be a teen volunteer for both Arnold Palmer and Winnie Palmer Hospitals. Medical school was an option in my mind, at the time, and I really loved being in the hospital environment. I volunteered in the Urgent Care center at Arnold Palmer Hospital, which is now the Emergency Room you see today. The following summer, I helped transition the mother-baby units from Arnold Palmer Hospital to Winnie Palmer Hospital as Winnie was just about to open. The remainder of that summer, I tended to new mothers and assisted nurses with clerical work.
It was during this time in my life that I discovered I had another autoimmune disease. My colon and intestines had felt the effects of the medication I took for years as a child to treat my arthritis. Because of this, I developed Ulcerative Colitis. Dr. Bornstein was not only seeing my brother as a patient- he was now seeing me as well.
Over the years, my brother and I led very normal, healthy lives. By sight, you would have never been able to tell our bodies were fighting against themselves. However, all of that seemed to change when we found out Ryan needed surgery to remove a fistula that had developed in his digestive system due to his Crohn’s. It was the summer of 2008, and over the course of three months, my family and I were in and out of Arnold Palmer Hospital for his nine surgeries. Needless to say, it was one of the hardest periods of our lives. In the midst of it, we were having difficulty finding the light at the end of the tunnel. But with the care and medical supervision of Dr. Bornstein, Ryan is healthy today and is about to graduate from high school, having played the keeper for his varsity soccer team all four years.
After that summer, I really did not care to see the inside of Arnold Palmer Hospital ever again. The pain, stress, anxiety, and tension my family felt during those months had manifested into this building and I wanted nothing to do with it. But, of course, life moves on and two years later I would find myself a part of the Orlando Health family in another way.
During my college career, I found myself involved in the Orlando Health community and organization more than I ever had before. Even though I phased out of Dr. Bornstein’s care, I still found myself on the Orlando Health campus through my internships with the Orlando Health Foundation. Eventually, I got a job working in the Emergency Room at Orlando Regional Medical Center as a Guest Service Representative, and I’ve now been there for over a year.
Through my experiences as a patient, volunteer, family member, intern, and employee, I’ve seen this organization through many lenses. I’ve seen what they’ve done for me and my family, and countless others. I’m constantly moved by the passion behind the organization and the doctors employed here, and I count myself blessed to be involved with them the way that I am. As graduation quickly approaches for me, I’m looking to the future with hope that I can continue to be a part of the Orlando Health family in an even bigger way.