Those were the first words Jamie ever said to me, on my first day as an employee at our hospital. Previously, I interned at the office I was now working in, and so knew many of the people working there with the notable exception of this fetching young woman speaking to me with an unmistakable “twang” in her accent that is easily recognizable in the South. During my interview, I mentioned that one of the things I loved about the place was that everyone working there were, to me, sitcom archetypes. There was the grumpy uncle, the doting aunt, the flowery hippy sister. There was the put-upon matriarch, and the overly critical yet comfortably awkward logician, as well as the beloved “sassy” little sister. On my first day, this bit from the interview was mentioned within earshot of this beautiful stranger, and the rest is history.
I would come to know Jamie as the quirky (bordering on crazy!) beauty that everyone loved. In short, she was the Rachel. Like Rachel, she also had a certain fish-out-of-water quality that she boldly embraced with her love of The Little Mermaid. Frankly, I found her affection for the character surprising, because Jamie was always an outspoken advocate for herself and, much more likely, her patients. I could never envision her giving up her voice for anything, but I see it as just one of those mysteries I’ll never quite understand.
Unlike Rachel, Jamie has saved the lives of others many times through her bottomless font of compassion, kindness, and charm. She told me the story of a hero she admired without ever realizing the hero that she was. It’s not in her character to boast or draw attention to herself, and she would stubbornly never ask for help no matter how much she needed it.
Since that first meeting, Jamie has become one of my dearest friends, and she’s going to need that help now. Jamie was born with a condition called Arnold Chiari Malformation. This results in her experiencing severe pain, vertigo, weakness, loss of sensation, and myriad other challenges that can make her life a daily game of chance where the “good” result is that she can work without succumbing to that pain. Addressing this condition will require a surgical procedure on what she calls her “Ned” (“it’s easier than saying neck and head” she explained to me) to stop her brain from impacting with her skull. As you can imagine this is a terrifying time for my favorite hero, with far too many unknowns, the least of which being how to cover the costs of her co-pays and time spent out of work to recover for up to 12 weeks.
In the time that I’ve known her, I’ve watched as Jamie has worked with people facing similarly dire situations and helped them find it within themselves to smile again. I don’t seem to have her talent for leading others to a more hopeful place, but as the song says, I’m not too proud to beg.
To know Jamie is to know someone who is both kind and honest, even when kindness and honesty may clash. Someone who can both fill and break your heart with a smile. She is, like many of us, a kaleidoscope of beautiful contradictions, and she dedicates every bit of those contradictions to healing those in need, often at personal cost.
Now, she isn’t aware that I’m seeking to help her through crowdfunded sources. I’m sure when she discovers it she’ll be…let’s say “animated” but I’m willing to accept her wrath to stop her tears. I can’t articulate the joy she has brought into my life and the lives of the many patients we interact with daily.
I told Jamie once that “Only survivors have scars.” As much as she’s already survived, I pray that this event will go on that ever-growing list. And if I survive her discovery of asking for help on her behalf, I know that I’ll be living in a better world as long as she’s a part of it.
In an effort to explain the listed goal, here is a list of expected expenses:
Potential time spent out of work in recovery: $7800
Maximum yearly cost per insurance: $4600 (This could double depending on when her procedure happens.)
Preceding related emergency room visits: $4000
Jamie would never ask another to bear the full burden on her behalf, and out of respect for that I’m asking for only the listed amount to lighten the load she has to carry.
If anyone would like to donate outside of GoFundMe please contact me through the campaign to make those arrangements.
Thank you for your consideration and kindness.
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