It's the fall of 2001, and I'm sitting here at my office desk looking through the glass enclosure that separates me and my Case Manger Nurse, Joan, from the Telemetry (“Heart Monitoring”) Unit Ward Clerks and the heart monitoring units (with all those zig-zag reports!) on PCU4 at the Baton Rouge General Bluebonnet.
I had just transferred from working about 6 years on the “SNF” (Skilled Nursing Facility – basically, like a nursing home in the hospital), 3 West at the BRG Mid-City, which was like a mini-rehab and “swing bed” for patients in transition from ICU, Rehab or other units.
This was about the third day of my working on the unit, and as usual, I had come in that morning from the Case Management Office downstairs with my patient census - a list of what patients we had on the unit by age, insurance, diagnosis, etc.
Since this was Telemetry, we had patients who had come for Stress Tests, some recovering from CABG (Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting – heart “bypass surgery) and other heart maladies.
Joan and I would also usually meet early every day privately with a Hospitalist MD, a physician who only saw patients at the hospital in coordination with patient's PCPs (Primary Care Physicians), and other interdiscplinary clinicians to make a coordinated and unified team effort and identifying and addressing patient needs.
As a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, my role certainly entailed providing supportive counseling for my patients, but also mainly involved being a “Discharge Planner,” assisting patients and their families with addressing post hospital needs.
So after our morning interdisciplinary team meeting that day, and as I was getting ready to see my first assigned patient – prioritized from input per the earlier meeting and/or alerts that I had been triggered to, I asked Joan, “Who is that very cheerful Doctor in scrubs?” - whom I could see through the glass enclosure with many smiling nurses around him.
Also, the physician was carrying a nice bag in his hand filled with many lovely Roses of all colors!
Joan, who had been working on PCU4 for some years prior to my starting blurted, “That's Dr. Hackler (Michael), who loves to bring roses to staff and patients alike!”
It was amazing to see how much joy and wonder Dr. Hackler brought to people, as I saw him give roses to nurses, patients and their families!
On a few ocassions, when I would be with a patient whom Dr. Hackler was informing of a need for some type of heart procedure, he was observed to be very caring, competent and compassionate in his bedside manner and when asked, he would openly pray with all of us in a non-proselytizing manner … simply conveying love … like the roses certainly protrayed.
Later, I introduced myself to Dr. Hackler, and I got a rose to take for my wife, “Maria Rose Therese,” named for “St. Therese of Lisieux, “The Little Flower!”
Dr. Hackler had told me then that he had a great rose garden at his home from which he got the beautiful flowers.
I was so saddened back in late August of 2007, about 2 years after I had left working a the BRG, that I had heard that the effervescent, loving and rose-giving doc with CVT Surgical Center had died ...
In thanksgiving to Dr. Hackler for that first rose I had gotten when I first met him, I had given him a poem that I was inspired to write once and which he loved:
Hearts give us life
Through channels with blood
A process by which we all know
But what makes them pump
The essence of life
That which enables us to grow?
The answer is simple
Yet far beyond knowledge
God gives us Life with His Love
To share with each other
The fruits of His Blessings
In Peace as we know by the Dove.