‘The care was genuine, from the heart’

‘The care was genuine, from the heart’

After 35 years as a postmaster, Steven Saylor was nearly ready for retirement. He wasn’t ready for a stage 4 lymphoma diagnosis, let alone eight weeks in the hospital. It’s enough to make anyone a little grumpy.

“I was a bit of a complainer, to be frank,” Saylor admits. “My entire life I worked in management, and I saw things that could have been done better and I pointed them out to the manager, Rebecca, and honestly speaking she took my suggestions to heart. Rebecca and her team did a fantastic job. I can’t speak enough to the team and how well they cared for me.”

Saylor recalls how special it made him feel that the night shift nurses would remember when he liked his evening coffee, and often, they stayed to offer comfort.

“I didn’t sleep much in the hospital, there were nights I would sit up and cry because of the reality of what was going on” he remembers. “But the nurses would come in and talk to me and build me back up. The care was genuine, from the heart.”

During his last week at the hospital, the team signed a poster board with well wishes and asked Saylor to let them know how everything turned out for him, explaining that it’s not often patients come back to tell them how they did.

Despite being a self-proclaimed “grumpy cat,” Saylor says his experience with the care team was second to none.

“You really get to know the team and develop a relationship,” Saylor reflects. “To me, it was important to come back and recognize the team for the great job they did.”

To show his appreciation, the veteran postmaster returned to the hospital with a special delivery to thank his care team for their amazing work. Saylor also shared the best gift of all – news of his remission.

“We spend a lot of time with patients like Steve who are being treated for cancer; we get to know them well and they become part of our family,” says Rebecca Howat, nursing manager of oncology care at Advocate Sherman Hospital. “Knowing our care for a patient made a difference in their life fills us up and serves as a reminder of why we chose this profession. Steve’s remission is the best news we could receive.”

When asked what’s next for him, Saylor says he’s enjoying his new lease on life and wants to return to his role as a postmaster before beginning a well-deserved retirement.

“When I found out I was cancer free, I canceled my retirement,” Saylor shares. “I have 35 years of service at the United States Post Office. That’s not the way I wanted to leave. I want to go out on top.”

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About the Author

Elizabeth Blasko
Elizabeth Blasko

Elizabeth Blasko is a public affairs coordinator with Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care. She studied public relations and nonprofit leadership at Western Michigan University. Elizabeth previously worked at Bernie's Book Bank, a nonprofit dedicated to increasing book ownership among underserved children.