53 leland.jpg

Ft. Lauderdale, FL

“When my dad died I suffered from agoraphobia. I had it for about a year and a half - I was actually housebound. Once, I had to have the dentist come to my house. It was really bad. I couldn’t leave home, I really just couldn’t. Over a period of time I got a little bit better. But, the first fifteen years after my dad died I had anxiety and panic attacks.  I think it was actually one of the best things that ever happened to me. It gave me compassion, a lot more compassion, in my nursing than I think I would have had before. I think when I got agoraphobia it gave me a level of compassion that I hadn’t been able to access before because it was...uh, crippling. And I don’t think people really see it sometimes, like “oh yeah you’ve got a little anxiety.” No, I’m talking about crippling anxiety and panic attacks. Where you feel like you’re having a heart attack. Like you can’t talk yourself back out of it. Like you have symptoms so bad that you, you know...but I think after I learned how to cope with them it was so much better for people. I think that’s why I went into surgery. When people are getting ready to go in they’re so anxious, they work themselves up. And that’s why I’m great at the work I do here. I’ve been a nurse since 1983. Well I was actually a nurse since ‘79. But got my license in ‘83 and I think when I first started I wasn’t...I was more about the adrenaline. I’ve worked in the emergency room, I’ve worked in a 1200 maximum security men’s prison, and I’ve worked in operating rooms! Everybody says, “When are you going to retire?” and I’m like, this is my fourth retirement! Haha, this really is my fourth retirement! I’ll always be in service to the public and the community. I can’t imagine not being in service. Even if it meant working at Home Depot. You know, when I go to Home Depot I always think, this would be a job that I could do in my retirement!”