To the editor:
It was one night last July when we first had the opportunity to talk to our superhero, Abigail Knowlton, not knowing at that time that this very special nurse would remain in our hearts forever.
My husband, Carl, had been suffering some serious health issues and the UMASS hospital had referred him to Blueberry Hill in Beverly for rehabilitation, as his illnesses had left him confined to a bed for a long period of time.
Because of OOVID-19 restrictions, Carl was placed in quarantine and we were not able to see him. This was devastating to all of us, as Carl and I had been married for 37 years and had never been apart. He felt alone, tired, frustrated and confused and we spent lots of time on the phone with him trying to help him with what he needed as we assured him that he would be okay.
Nights are always the toughest for patients and staff, as staff have a heavier load and patients need more help. Carl was always in a tremendous amount of pain due to his congestive heart failure and shredded bladder. His legs were bursting with fluid. We called for help and talked to Abigail, a nurse in another unit who took the time to help Carl, made him comfortable, gave him the medications that he needed and then went back to her own unit.
Abigail Knowlton, a recent nursing grad in 2020 is a totally dedicated, passionate, hard-working, empathetic, level-headed nurse who is there to do the best job she can do and it showed.
After Carl’s first couple of nights, a friendship formed with Abigail. She would stop by, even just for a few moments, to make sure Carl was doing okay, even though he was not one of her patients. They would laugh and joke as Carl was a great storyteller. My family would breathe a sigh of relief when we knew Abigail was on the floor. She understood Carl and she became Carl’s guardian angel.
Carl ended up back in Beverly Hospital on his birthday, Aug. 28. His heart was failing and the fluid built up immensely throughout his body. Care Dimensions Hospice, a totally supportive and caring group of people, stepped in and Carl headed back to Blueberry Hill.
This time, he was in Abigail’s unit. Because he was now in hospice care, we could finally see him and see the amazing care he was given. During those last few weeks, Abigail was always around to make sure Carl wasn’t in pain and had his favorite grape soda. She spent time listening to him while taking care of a lot of other patients.
We arrived at Blueberry Hill to sadly find out Carl had slipped into a coma. Our family stayed the day and into the night until we finally had to say our good-byes. Abigail came in and said that she would stay with him for as long as she could. As my son and I left the room, I turned around and walked back into Carl’s room. What I saw will remain in my heart for the rest of my life, as there was Abigail, sitting on the floor in the dark, holding Carl’s hand and praying. It was the most moving moment of my entire life! For she cared about her patient, my husband, to make sure he wasn’t alone at the end of his life.
Carl passed away in the early morning of Saturday, Sept. 26. We found out afterward that Abigail had stayed with him after her shift, until after 1 a.m. With so much happening in the world these days, everyone has their own superhero like Abigail in their lives – someone who has gone above and beyond their limits to take incredible care of people in our lives.
Abigail is our superhero and we thought everyone should know about her, for as her life journey continues, she’s going to rock our world!
We love you, Abigail!
Christine, Rick and Victoria Gemme