Having enjoyed considerable time on Martha’s Vineyard over the years, the Island has a special place in my and my family’s heart. While I always knew the Island community was a tight-knit and caring one, a recent personal experience reaffirmed that truth.

We came down to our family home shortly before the July Fourth holiday. I had felt increasingly ill over the weekend, so we went to Martha’s Vineyard Hospital that Sunday. As ill as I was, I couldn’t help but notice the skill, professionalism and compassion that virtually everyone I interacted with displayed. From check-in, to the nursing staff, physicians and other professionals — they truly were an impressive team.

After a CT scan, I was told had suffered a significant stroke. At 37 years old, and otherwise healthy, needless to say this came as a shock. They informed me and my husband that I would be transported to Boston. Within minutes of relaying this news, the Oak Bluffs fire department was en route with an ambulance to transport me to Boston. As overwhelming as this was, everyone at the hospital and the Oak Bluffs fire department made it less so, which gave us great comfort.

When they advised that I would be going by ambulance on the next ferry, which was leaving in 26 minutes, everyone worked seamlessly to get me prepared to depart. The ferry was held and our ambulance the last vehicle on.

The Oak Bluffs fire department took superb care of me on my way to Boston. The paramedic who cared for me, Eric Hunter, truly put me at ease during a most difficult situation.

After an uncertain 24 hours, and more tests, we finally received news. We learned that the significant stroke resulted from a dissection in my artery caused by a previously unknown neck injury. Notwithstanding the size of the stroke, we were told it was in a “good area,” and I would be 100 per cent fine. My family and I were needless to say immensely relieved.

While restoring my balance would take some time, I am pleased to say at nearly 10 weeks out, I am nearly if not fully back to my baseline. Given that we have an active 15-month-old son, let’s just say sitting and relaxing isn’t really an option.

I felt compelled to write to express my sincere gratitude to those who helped me and also to remind us all of the good in people. In this time of turmoil in our country and with frequent discord, it is so easy to forget the good in people. It is so easy to get caught up in ourselves. It is so easy to be quick with judgment.

Not enough of us say thank you or offer a simple greeting with a smile. Not enough of us offer a helping hand, hold the door, nor practice patience. Not enough of us take the time to listen to others. If anything good came from this difficult experience, it was added perspective and a reminder of what is truly good in our world and this community in particular.

Our sincere thanks to the professionals at the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital, the Partners Healthcare family, Oak Bluffs fire department, the Steamship Authority and everyone else that helped us in our time of need. We will be forever grateful to you.

Elizabeth Sprayregen
Boston and Vineyard Haven