What is the role of a health care coordinator? They get to know our patients and their families, and they become a personal part of their path to health and well-being. This process can be rewarding, heart-breaking, and deeply intimate.
Mishelle Sadick, one of our health care coordinators, has spent the last eight years, developing a trusting relationship with Thien, his wife, Oanh, and their three children. Sally, their middle child, is 12 years old and suffers from cerebral palsy, global developmental delay, seizures, and severe scoliosis. Her spinal cord curves in a way that produces excruciating pain and stiffness; she cannot walk; and she has limited verbal communication made possible with a speech device.
Mishelle helps Thien navigate insurance; researches equipment to make caring for Sally easier; manages her nursing, physical, and occupational therapy; and most importantly, she keeps their family connected, despite Sally’s physical limitations.
But there was one wish above all others.
But there was one wish above all others: Thien and Oanh wanted their daughter to meet her family in Vietnam and experience her heritage first-hand–an impossible dream.
So, Mishelle advocated for and guided Thien through an application to Make-a-Wish Foundation, which was granted! Sally and her family flew to Vietnam to be embraced by extended family for an entire month. This was a precious gift because, as you can imagine, flying is not a simple ordeal for a wheelchair-bound child.
Over the years, Mishelle helped Thien apply for funding to install an elevator in their home; buy a handicapped-accessible van; and build an extensive lift and track system throughout their home that lowers into Sally’s bed, lifts her out, and transports her into different rooms of the house so that she can still spend time with her family, no matter where they are.
In June, Sally received extensive surgery at Boston Children's Hospital to correct her spinal cord. The surgery was incredibly complicated, and coordinating recovery during a global pandemic added another layer of difficulty. Mishelle guided the family through each step pre- and post-operation. Although Sally will never walk, this corrective surgery vastly improved her quality of life and helped ease the immense pain that had become this little girl's reality.
Since Sally requires extensive, precise medical care, Thien and Oanh cannot have just anyone care for her. Mishelle has coordinated multiple stays for Sally through Cedarcrest Center for Children with Disabilities. These stays provided safe care for Sally in addition to an important reprieve for Thien and Oanh; they were able to attend two weddings, remaining connected with their family. Most importantly, they trusted that Sally was safe.
Today, Sally is happily recovered and attending school in-person, with the help of a registered nurse. When Thien was asked what he enjoyed most about working with Mishelle, he gave a huge grin and said, "I love Mishelle. She has done everything for my family. Everything. She is family to us."
We often take simple moments with our family for granted. But Thien, Oanh, and their children cherish the magic of shared family time in the living room. For Sally, the equipment to move freely with her family in and out of their home, and the love behind their acquisition, is a lifechanging gift.
Mishelle and the Special Medical Programs team here at Amoskeag Health advocate for families, working hard to create and preserve these special moments together.
Your contributions help us continue to make wishes come true, not just for Thien and for Sally, but for each and every one of our patients. After all, we consider them our family, too.