HAMILTON - Linda Conrad just couldn't wait to ring the bell that meant her horrible ordeal with a gaping wound in her stomach was finally over. The bell that meant her husband wouldn't have to worry about providing medical care he wasn't qualified to perform.
That day came Friday.
It all started when Conrad needed several surgeries that left her stomach gaping open, seven inches long, three inches wide. Three days after her last surgery, doctors sent her home. Medicaid told them they had to. Nurses showed Roger, her husband of 42 years, how to reach inside her stomach and stuff it with gauze to try to prevent infection.
Then 9 News aired video showing the Conrads' ordeal. Viewers responded immediately.
Linda has been getting free care at Fort Hamilton Hospital's Special Wound Care Unit. Friday both Linda and Roger held onto another prayer that Dr. Manish Sachdeva would say they've waited months to hear. If he did, she could ring the bell patients get to ring only on their last visit.
The I-Team was there for Linda's appointment Friday. Dr. Sachdeva checked her wound and gave his blessing.
"I wanted this to happen two weeks ago but the doctor knows best, but I'm sure it will be today," Linda said. "I hope."
"You're healed," Dr. Sachdeva said.
So Linda rang that bell, then shared hugs with the nurses and other staff who had helped her these past three months.
That hope became a reality. Then came the hugs and the thank-you's. Thanks to the nurses, the doctors and to the community who saw a need and then pitched in to make a difference.