A Truly Inspiring Person


Patrick Sweeney, News Editor

I have known Mrs. K for my entire life. She is a very kind person who will always look out for her family. She is also very selfless and will always think of others before herself. I have been on many trips with Mrs. K over the years. We have become great friends and thoroughly enjoyed our time spent together on those trips with her husband. Mrs. K told me many stories on our trips. She told me that she had some bad experiences when she was growing up because of something she was born with – a knee issue. She told me stories about hurting her knee when she was in college. She had to complete her school work from home because of the treacherous conditions walking into school. She only went on campus for exams. It is very difficult for someone to maintain positivity about their education when they are doing it all from home. However, Mrs. K remained positive. Her group of friends looked out for her and provided her with the materials, notes and textbooks necessary for success. Because of all this hard work, Mrs. K graduated on time with her class and maintained excellent grades. Mrs. K knew how difficult her injury was and that it took a significant amount of time to recover. This is why she always told us that we “have to be careful of my knee” when we were out in public. We travelled around New England as a group for many years. Mrs. K was always on the lookout for possible holes in the road or divots on sidewalks. She walked defensively to prevent any injury to her knee. She worked extremely hard for years to keep her knee in excellent shape. However, there was one downside for me. I was not around when Mrs. K hurt her knee in college and therefore did not know the severity of the situation. 

September 12, 2019 began as an ordinary day for me. Actually, it was a very happy and upbeat day. It was Mrs. K’s wedding anniversary. She and her husband planned a wonderful and fun-filled day to celebrate their anniversary in Northampton, Massachusetts. I was also in a great mood. I had just begun high school and I was attending Holyoke High School North Campus. I had a wonderful first week and was looking forward to meeting new people and learning new concepts. Before I went to school that morning, I wished them a happy anniversary. I got dropped off at school and went about my day. I had six classes that day and they concluded with Health, an elective that all Freshman were required to take. It was early afternoon and I had settled in for the last class. Our teacher began presenting the material and we were taking notes. Partway through his presentation, his wall phone rang. He excused himself and went to answer it. I continued taking notes and reading out of the textbook. Shortly after, I heard the click of the phone being put back in its place. The teacher looked up at the class and said “Patrick Sweeney, please report to the Assistant Principal’s office on this floor.” I suddenly became very nervous. We had not been in school for more than a week. I had not done anything wrong or violated any rules. What could the Assistant Principal have to tell me? On top of all this, I had absolutely no idea where the office was. I exited the classroom and began walking through the halls, asking for directions as I went. I found my way to the office. The Assistant Principal said there was a phone call for me and handed me the phone. It turns out that my anxiety was for a good cause. 

On the other end of the phone was Mrs. K’s husband. He was very upset and his voice was shaking. He told me that Mrs. K had hurt her knee when they were shopping in a store. They had just finished eating their lunch and were planning on going into some shops before heading home for the day. He told me that she was going to the hospital. I was very upset about the situation. What are the odds that she would hurt her leg on their anniversary after it was doing so well for thirty two years? I went back to my Health class very shaken. I could not believe what just happened. I do not remember anything about the remainder of my Health class. Some of my friends at school knew Mrs. K very well and were very upset when I told them what had happened. I began to have a very difficult time focusing on my schoolwork. I was constantly thinking about Mrs. K and how she was doing. I began to think back to the days that we were out together. Mrs. K’s voice kept popping into my head. “We have to be very careful of my knee because if something happens, it will be a serious problem.” I went home that night not being able to think about my homework. What homework? In addition to all of this, I had a Spanish test scheduled for the next day. I had to personally talk to the teacher and ask her if I could take it on a later date because of the situation. As the day went on, I heard more information about how Mrs. K was doing. She was in a lot of pain and nobody was helping her, which made everything worse. She ended up leaving the hospital late that night and I was able to see her the next morning before I headed off to school.

Shortly after her injury, Mrs. K had many appointments scheduled to ensure that she was healing well. She saw several doctors in the area and hoped that they would help her. It did not work out that way. The doctors were giving her information about her knee and telling her to do surgeries that she was not comfortable with. Another piece of advice I learned from Mrs. K was to trust yourself. She always said that “people can tell you something, but you do not have to agree with it. You know what is best for yourself, nobody else does.” This is exactly how she was feeling about doctors she saw. She was very brave to go against their word because she knew it was not right for her. Mrs. K also attended some physical therapy in the area to try and build up strength in her knee. However, the knee dislocated twice when she was going to physical therapy and she knew something was not right. She was not getting the help here, so she and her husband looked for other doctors. They found one in Connecticut, but did not get a large amount of success. Throughout all of these trials, Mrs. K remained positive. She always had a smile on her face and never complained. She was laid up for a long time before she received the help she needed. Her attitude helped her get through one of the more difficult times in her life.

In late 2019, Mrs. K and her husband decided to look into doctors in Boston. The doctors in that area have great reputations and the care there is unparalleled. They reached out to an individual they knew from the area who gave them a name of a doctor. Mrs. K and her husband went to see him shortly after. The appointment was a success. They finally found the right person to care for Mrs. K’s leg. He told Mrs. K that she did not need major surgery like previous doctors had mentioned. He also noted that her leg was not in the most terrible of shape. In order for her to get back on her feet, they would need to perform surgery to remove some of the scar tissue in her knee that was causing her pain and they also had to make several other repairs. Mrs. K had surgery on her leg on March 10, 2020. It was also very successful. When she and her husband were waiting to go into surgery, they happened to notice the television in the waiting room. The news was on and everyone was talking about Harvard closing down (not far from where they were sitting) because of a virus that originated in China. If Mrs. K had not gotten her surgery done, it would have been postponed when everything closed down due to the coronavirus pandemic. After her surgery, Mrs. K had to work hard to keep her leg from dislocating again. The doctor gave her a list of exercises to do. She had to keep her leg in a tortuous bending machine for eight to ten hours every day for a few weeks. She also worked with physical therapists to learn and practice new exercises daily. She did a remarkable job pushing through and staying positive when she was in so much pain. 

Mrs. K did not let her injury stop her from helping her family during the coronavirus pandemic and the days of the lockdown. She decided that it was too risky to eat out and get take out for fear of contracting and spreading the virus. Because of this, she decided to cook every day, three times a day. She came up with various new recipes to try, from savory dishes to desserts and frozen treats. She cooked every meal when she had her leg injury. She stood and prepared meals for her family so they would not risk getting sick. It was amazing for me to hear all of the hard work she was doing even while nursing a leg injury. Mrs. K also worked hard to keep her house neat and clean during the pandemic and made sure to decorate for holidays. She was able to assist in the putting up of two Christmas trees. She also taught her son how to drive and took him on the road with her to learn and master driving skills. On top of all this hard work, Mrs. K stayed on top of her exercise routine and never complained or missed a day. She is truly an inspiring person who looks out for her family. She works so hard and never misses an opportunity to spend time with her husband and son.  

What amazes me the most about Mrs. K is the fact that she has remained so positive during this difficult time. She is always smiling and rarely gets upset about the situation. Many people who have an injury feel depressed and do not feel like going about their daily routines. Mrs. K is not this way. Even after her surgery when she was in so much pain, she always remained upbeat and saw light at the end of the tunnel. I am happy to report that Mrs. K is doing extremely well. She is able to walk outside and is seeing a physical therapist in Boston. She is getting back to doing what she used to do before the injury. Mrs. K is my mom and her husband is my dad. I am truly proud to be her son because she is such a positive person who never lets anything get in her way. With all of her hard work, she is inching closer to resuming her normal activities. Not giving up is such an important part of life and my mom epitomizes that. As Dale Carnegie once said, “Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.”