Mom, Jean Gordon, lived to the ripe old age of 97. Dad, Arthur N. Gordon, her husband, lived to age 95, preceding her in death in 2000. He was a year older than she was, so Mom had several years after Dad died to be on her own. She never complained though. She always said she had him for so long — they were married over 71 years — she couldn’t complain. And that was her strength and her creed at the end of her life.
Cora and Ernie Peco, from the Philippines, were their devoted caregivers. Swedish Covenant Hospital, and the Chicago Fire Department, were Mom and Dad’s saviors. Back in the 1940s, Mom and Dad built a home in the 5700 block of North Kedzie Ave, not far from the hospital. At that time, Swedish Covenant was a small, modest Evangelical Covenant hospital, which served the Scandinavian and German immigrants scattered around its sparsely developed Budlong Woods neighborhood. Today’s huge Swedish Covenant campus, with its bustling community and multicultural clientele was unimaginable back then.
With two elderly people living at their home, the Fire Department Ambulance Crew grew to know Mom and Dad and their routine. After calling 911 for help, Cora would ride over to the hospital in the ambulance with Mom or Dad, and Ernie would follow behind in Dad’s car, while telephoning one of us. And soon, we would all be assembled at the Swedish Covenant Emergency Room, where, having been there often before, we were greeted like old friends.
And then, either Mom or Dad, whoever had been taken sick that time around, would get the best Swedish Covenant Emergency Room care, before being transferred over to Dr. Feinzimer, their geriatric-care specialist, and Dr. Chou, their cardiologist, and to the wonderful Swedish Covenant nursing staff, and into a room upstairs in the hospital proper. Occasionally, Mom and Dad were hospitalized at the same time, but in different rooms on different floors. When that happened, the nurses would wheel one of them in a wheelchair over to the other’s room, or even once, Dad, in his hospital bed, to Mom’s room, so they could hold hands together. No wonder hospital beds have wheels! What lovebirds Mom and Dad were. Holding hands together right there at Swedish Covenant Hospital. “Arthur,” she would tenderly call to him. “Yes, Jen,” he would answer.
We are grateful for the excellent care they received over the years at Swedish Covenant Hospital, and for the competence and interest of the Swedish Covenant staff. We believe it all went together to extend their years at life’s end, and to make those years for Mom and Dad as pleasant and as comfortable as possible.”
– Lawrence N. Gordon