I am 86 years old, married, and have two children. Because of that, along with 21 years in the Air Force, and nine separate moves in civilian life, we have lived in many places, and seen many different civilian and military emergency rooms, both here in the United States and overseas.

My experiences with emergency rooms began on a night in New London, Conn. in 1954. A drunk ran a red light, T-boned and totaled a fully restored, like-new 1935 Chevy my brother Charlie and I had worked on for more than a year, and did me the additional favor of breaking my neck.

From that night to the morning of the third of October last month, I can honestly say I’ve seen many ERs, but I have never seen one that even came close to matching the emergency room in our own Banner hospital right here in Payson. When I and my son David rolled my beloved wife, Lolly, into the ER in her wheelchair that morning I was about as unhappy as I have ever been in my life; and yet, despite the fact that the diagnosis of her problem was pneumonia — no joke! — both David and I emerged from that emergency room with smiles on our faces and praises on our lips.

The caring professionalism of Dr. Sanderson and the staff of his ER, the way they handled everything, the expertise they demonstrated, and the warmth they showed as they worked, filled us with complete confidence that the diagnosis of her illness was correct, that the treatment prescribed would be effective, and that the end result would put even greater smiles on our faces.

As I said, because of the exigencies of life, either I or one of the three people closest to my heart have been in an emergency room for some reason or other. So we have a lot of experiences with which to compare our visit to our own local ER. I don’t plan on doing any comparisons today, though. I don’t have to. When you’re describing the best, there’s no need to compare it with anything else.

Lolly has what is called Lewy Body Parkinsonism, a disease that causes the patient to slowly become unable to walk, talk, feed herself, or do anything else which requires voluntary muscle control. It took Lolly two years to reach the stage where she was a non-verbal “full care patient,” so for 10 years we have been constantly monitoring her vital signs.

A few weeks before our visit to the ER, we took Lolly to the doctor with cloudy urine and a fever. She was correctly diagnosed with a bladder infection. Our doctor prescribed a seven-day course of an antibiotic. By the fourth day her temperature was normal and the cloudy urine gone. By the seventh day everything was normal.

However, a couple of days after that her temperature began to rise again, very quickly reaching 101. Suspecting a new problem, off we went to the ER — and are we glad we did!

The very first thing I noticed about the ER in our new Banner facility was the pleasant smile on the face of the two receptionists, and the speed with which they had us ready to be seen. Just a few minutes later we were inside the ER, Lolly was settled on a bed, and an aide was smiling at us as she gathered data and entered it into the hospital computer.

Soon an RN was there, also smiling, helpful, obviously concerned, and asking pertinent questions. Then Dr. Sanderson came in, greeted us with a smile, asked a few more questions, and left — no doubt to order appropriate tests and preliminary treatments.

Just a few hours later we left the ER, happy and secure in the knowledge that a full screening had been completed and an effective treatment prescribed. We had also had the good luck to meet some of the warmest, most caring, most knowledgeable, and most professional people we had ever met.

Yes, Lolly is better now. No fever, eating well, and doing fine — thanks to our outstanding ER!

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