Banks County Opinions...

December 27, 2000

By Shar Porier
The Banks County News
December 27, 2000

Christmas conversation with Dad
Hiya, Dad! I know, it's been a while since I've been by to see you.
But, look at what I've brought you.
Isn't it the most beautiful Christmas tree you've ever seen!
Well, I know it looks a bit bare.
But I also know that you see with your heart now and not your eyes.
This is the tree from our family Christmas party. Decorated with the joy and love we shared! And we wanted to share it with you.
Oh, I know they've said no trees this year, but you know me. Rebel without a clue!
Besides, it's our gift to you.
You know how much we all miss you. Especially here at Christmas.
So let me point out a few of the special decorations and garlands that adorn your tree.
The hug is Heather's. She does give good ones, doesn't she. Yes, she's so in love with her Tom. They do make a great couple. I agree, the wedding was so beautiful! Wish you could have been there to see your granddaughter married. Well, I know you were, but you know what I mean.
That joke is Mattie's. I think he inherited the "corn gene" from you. (Glad you liked that one!) He has a special sense of humor, like yours!
The melody is Mike's. Yes, he has become a good musician. Plays piano by ear. Oh, you caught him in one of his plays? I think he's talented, too. Of course, I didn't get to see the real thing, only a video.
And over there is Katie's giggle. She is cute as everything, isn't she! She was so young when you passed on. But she likes to ask about you. And what an athlete! Oh, you caught a couple of her soccer games. She plays hard.
Oh, and there's Todd's happiness. It radiates with new-found hope and a great love. Amy is a doll, like you say. She's made him so happy and keeps him on the straight line. With the love a good woman, any man can come back from the brink of darkness.
And, look, there's Gretchen's joy of life wrapping the tree in a shimmering garland. Boy, she sure did good, didn't she? A college grad. Well, she'll find someone, Dad. Don't worry about her! She has so much to give!
That's Brinn's artistic touch. She has talent, just needs a little direction. (By the way, you doing anything? Maybe you could look in on her from time to time.) Yes, she's definitely a unique person. Glad you see what's inside of her, just like I do.
And Cassie. Cassie left you something really special, a kiss. She, too, was so young when you left us. But, she remembers you and how you died, how you suffered. She wants to kiss the bad all away!
The mischief is from Austin, your first grandson. Oh, yes, he's a little rascal. Takes after his dad, Todd, for sure! But did you see the way he sat there while Uncle Gene played Christmas Carols for us? He really likes music. And his dancing. What a hoot! Talk about a zest for life.
And here, the innocence of Mya, our latest addition. Yes, what a beautiful name for a beautiful baby. Your second great-grandchild. Won't it be fun to watch her grow up with Austin as her brother. There are sure to be some exciting moments in her life on the way.
And it's so funny, you know, when she was first born, Austin wouldn't let anyone hold her. He'd tell them, "She's ours. Go get your own!" I laughed and laughed when Todd told me.
Yes, all your grandchildren and great-grandchildren are doing just fine.
Look, there is your #1 son Dave's never-give-up conviction. I think he got some of your stubbornness. I hope he finds someone to share his life with, too.
Up there is #2 son Rog's integrity. Always following the straight and narrow. Yes, a good man. I'm glad you're proud of him, he would like to hear that.
And this, this is Mary's cheer. Yes, she and Ken are a cute couple and look how long they've been together. I think that one'll last for eternity! And, your "little Mouse" has learned to roar! Have you heard her when she drives? She sounds like you used to.
And this one. This one is all my memories of the good times. You're still in my heart and the memories I relive bring laughter and tears. I miss you so, Dad.
Topping the tree, that soft, pure glow is Mom's love for you. Just as strong as ever. I know. She hasn't been doing so well. We treasure every Christmas we have with her. We all know she may not be around for many more. Just be with her when her time comes.
Lastly, we've decorated the tree with all our tears from the past year. Tears of joy, of sadness, of humility, of despair, of mercy, of grace, of the wonder of life.
You're welcome! I'm glad you like your tree.
Gosh, it's so hard to leave. There's such peace here, such beauty, such melancholia. The evergreen blankets with their big red bows lying on all these graves. So beautiful. Family members still remembering their lost moms, dads, aunts, uncles, grandpa, grandmas, children, dear friends.
Ok, you're right. I'll be crying in a minute! And yes, the tears will freeze on my face!
I guess it's time to leave.
Love you, Daddy!
Till next time.
Shar Porier is a reporter for The Banks County News.

Letter to the Editor
The Banks County News
December 27, 2000

Says article inaccurately portrayed BJC Medical center
Dear Editor:
Recently, an article about BJC Medical Center appeared in an Athens paper. There were a number of inaccuracies in this article, and we are writing to help clarify some facts.
This article stated, "Banks-Jackson-Commerce Medical Center Nursing Home in Commerce has been cited for endangering heart monitor patients due to understaffing, according to a report released this week by the state Department of Human Resources."
This statement is not true. First, the report cited makes no mention of "endangering" anyone. Also, the BJC Nursing Facility does not have telemetry, nor do other nursing homes. Heart monitoring generally occurs in a hospital.
When a hospital is surveyed, for any reason, findings of endangerment to patients can result in a host of punitive measures, including fines and follow-up surveys. The Georgia Department of Human Resources deemed none of these measures necessary. The letter which accompanied the final report from the DHR Office of Regulatory Services states, "your hospital was found in compliance with the Medicare Conditions of participation." Again, there is no mention of endangering people's lives, fines, or even a follow-up survey. In short, the survey findings mentioned in the article were the result of a discrepancy between two approaches to telemetry monitoring policy. The policy recommended by the state prefers the use of an additional person to the use of monitoring alarms. Again, we updated hospital telemetry policy in accordance with the recommendations of the state.
We found the hospital surveyor and the final report from the Office of Regulatory Services to be fair and balanced. The surveyor stated before she left the hospital in October that we were not endangering anyone. I shared this information with the Athens reporter when she first called two months ago. Further, in a conversation with the surveyor Monday morning, I clarified with her that nowhere in the report is there mention of anyone's endangerment. She also clarified that she could not find evidence that our staffing policy affected patient outcomes in any way, meaning that no patient care was adversely affected by our telemetry staffing policy.
As a whole, the article in question confuses the relationship between hospitals, nursing homes and the survey process for both industries. There is also confusion about the severity of the October survey's conclusion. I myself made the mistake of misjudging this reporter's understanding of health care and the survey process. For that mistake and any misunderstanding to which it may have contributed, I apologize, both to the reporter and to BJC's employees.
BJC Medical Center, open since 1960, comprises a hospital and a nursing facility. The hospital is a 90-bed facility. The nursing facility has 167 beds. Both facilities are Joint Commission Accredited. We pride ourselves in the quality of care we give to patients and residents.
Oscar Weinmeister
BJC Medical Center






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Homer, Georgia
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