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Saturday, December 6, 2008

National Jewish Medical and Research Center; Were you a patient? Tell me your story

Before I left NJH/NAC (now National Jewish Health) when I was 15 in 1985 I made what we called a Good-bye book and had all my friends, nurses and counselors sign it and give me an address.

Just about every one wrote me a nice letter. The bad part was that life happens and kids grow up to become adults and move. Now, 23 years later as I work diligently to write my story of my stay there, finding my old friends has turned out to be a difficult task.

I did manage to find one person via a good Internet search, but the rest of the gang is hiding out amidst all the other similar names. For example, one of my friend's name was Tim Johnson. Okay, so there are hundreds of Tim Johnson's out there. I certainly can't send all of them a letter saying, "Hey, are you THAT Tim Johnson?"

I never was and still am not a very social person. Usually I make one or two friends and hang on tight. In 1985 I was no different. Still it would be neat to get in touch with the few friends I made. It would be neat to find out what they are up to today; how is their asthma; how have they benefited from their stay at the asthma hospital.

When I stayed at NJH/NAC their were ups and downs. It was a great experience, yet at the same time it was traumatic. Can you imagine being 3,000 miles from home, isolated from the rest of the world because you had a chronic illness that your doctors had no clue what to do about?

I know my story. You can read my story as I publish it in the next few months. Now I would like to know your story. Did you stay at NJH/NAC? Or, did you have TB and have to stay in an institution for it? What did you think about it? Do know of a person who stayed at a place like this?

You don't have to give me your real name, I just want stories good and bad.

I'm sure some of the stories will be success stories from top to bottom. Yet, I know for a fact that some people had traumatic stories. I know that it must have been hard for most kids, like myself, to be so far from home and not only deal with homesickness but with different personalities.

And then to see psychologists who try to convince you and your parents that you have psychological problems because of your asthma, and then to stun you one day that you will not be going home when you thought. Man, that was hard.

Did you work at a place like this? Do you now? What did you think about it? I want to know. I want to talk with you. Tell me your name or stay anonymous. And even if you tell me your name I will keep in anonymous.

I have searched the Internet and cannot find your stories. Leave a comment below or Email me at


Amy said...

I hope you get some stories--this is fascinating. Being a teenager is hard--I simply can't imagine going through what you did on top of that.

amanda moore said...

I was a patient at NJH/NAC in 1980 and 1982. I went for 3 months and then a few months later stayed again for about 9 months. I too had good and bad experiences. I have thought so often through the years about the kids and staff that became my family during that time and would love to know how they are now.

john bottrell said...

Thank you, Amanda Moore, for sharing your story. They actually had a reunion back in 1998, and I think it would be neat if they did it again. I was unable to attend, but when I called to ask about it I was given a booklet full of stories from other patients at NJH. Unfortunately, none of these were from the children I got to know.