Haley Scott DeMaria

Archive for August, 2018

JOHN MCCAIN

I am pretty sure I have never (knowingly) posted anything political on this site. And I am pretty sure, I never will again. But this weekend our country became slightly-less-American after the passing of John McCain. We lost a great one.

We knew it was coming. The harsh reality of being familiar with glioblastoma, was knowing the prognosis once his diagnosis was announced. I also read, as everyone did, the family’s statement that he had decided to stop treatment.

But still, on Saturday night, when my older son texted me, “John McCain died,” my heart sank. My son knew this was important to me; I have spent the past two days explaining to him why.

For those of us from Arizona, especially those around my age, we grew up with John McCain. He was elected to the House of Representatives when I was nine and has served our state and our country ever since. I remember when he was elected to the senate, a seat vacated by another great Arizona politician, Barry Goldwater. I remember living through the Keating 5, and then teaching U.S. History in Arizona and talking to my students about this remarkable patriot who dedicated his life to the service of our country. His daughter was a student at the high school where I taught, though I don’t know her, and I remember thinking about John McCain through the eyes of his daughter. My heart breaks for his children; we lost a hero, they lost their dad.

I remember moving to Annapolis 14 years ago, and learning they love him here as much as we love him in Arizona. I started reading more about John McCain and his life at the Academy: how that shaped him and defined his values. As a USNA sponsor mom, I thought, “Could you imagine if your plebe was John McCain?!” He was, and will most likely remain, the only politician whose bumper sticker I put on my car.

I have never met Senator McCain, but I share his love of Arizona and his love of Annapolis; they are my two homes as well. I understand why he spent the past year in Arizona, and I understand his desire to be buried in Annapolis. I have followed his career with great pride, knowing he hails from my home state. As a history major (and teacher), I know there are few people with his courage, honor and grit.  He served his country until the day he died.

It will be an honor to welcome him home to Annapolis.

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  • PATIENT EXPERINCE

    A decade ago I met a remarkable woman who ran marketing for a hospital in the midwest. We worked on a project together and have stayed in touch over the years. I always admire women entrepreneurs who confidently move forward with an idea or project and who strive to make a difference in their field. Diane’s field is healthcare. She’s one kind of expert in healthcare, and I am another kind of expert. She thought we should combine our expertise.

    About six years ago, Diane first shared with me the concept of the Patient Experience. So much of what is done at hospitals today is dictated by insurance, finances and legalities. But what about the patient? The idea to train hospital employees on elevating the patient’s experience was simple, yet revolutionary for healthcare.

    I have had six surgeries in three different hospitals: a small (at the time) regional medical center in northern Indiana, a large level one trauma teaching hospital in California, and a small private hospital in La Jolla, CA. Three very different hospitals. And while the medical and clinical care I received was excellent, the compassionate care I received differed greatly.

    Today Diane launched a pilot immersion program to educate medical professionals on the Patient Experience, and invited me to share with them my varied and unique experience. While I share my story often, this was – once again – a different type of presentation, with a different audience, for a different purpose. How great to think that my experiences might help affect change, that might – in turn – positively impact the care someone else receives. I may never know, but it feels good to try. It was an inspiring way to spend this rainy Tuesday morning, with many more to come.

     

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  • DAY BEFORE MY 45TH BIRTHDAY

    I turn 45 tomorrow. In our house that’s known as “halfway to 90.”

    I share this with you not because I love my birthday (which I do), nor to solicit Happy Birthday wishes (but, thank you!) I share this because today is the day before my 45th birthday; and I often talk about “the day before my mom’s 45th birthday.”

    My mom turned 45 on January 25, 1992. Our bus accident was the day before her 45th birthday. She was young. I was young, but she was young too.

    My perspective on my mom’s role in my injury and recovery has changed since I became a mother myself. It’s true that we would change places with our children to take away their pain; every mother feels this way. But you don’t fully understand that until you are a parent yourself. What I’ve realized today, is how young my mom was to deal with this tragedy…this tragedy that, in some ways, was harder for her.

    I recently found a photo of my mom and I taken a few months before I left for Notre Dame. I took note of the photo, because I am wearing the outfit I was wearing the night of the accident. (You know, the outfit I LOVED that they had to cut off…otherwise, I’m pretty sure I would still have – and wear – it!) It was a picture of my mom when she was 44; I am 44. How fun is that! She looks so much younger at 44 than I do at 44!

    I recently received a text from a friend who just finished reading my book. She wrote: I remember meeting your mom (this spring). I feel like I would love to hug her!

    I know how she feels! I would love to hug my mom too!

    Here’s to my mom on the day before I turn 45!
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