January 5, 2011
As Linda Page cut up her husband’s “colorful” T-shirts, she cried her eyes out. Today, they hang in the form of a quilt in Kenmore Mercy Hospital’s pulmonary rehabilitation gym, where Phil Page spent much of his recent years as a patient before passing away from a pulmonary embolism in the summer of 2010.
“It’s unique to the people here because it’s what Phil wore all the time,” said Connie Denneny, one the many patients who meet at the gym three times a week for pulmonary therapy.
The Pulmonary Rehabilitation program provides structured exercise and education to help patients increase stamina and manage their lung disease. It has also become a place where patients can talk to each other, sharing ideas and experiences – the unofficial information that is so valuable in day-to-day living.
“He was very angry when he was first diagnosed with his disease,” said Mrs. Page. “This group helped us better understand what Phil was going through. It really became his solace and helped him be happy again.”
Mr. Page, who suffered from emphysema and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), was with the group for three years during which time he developed a special bond with his fellow patients, especially Marguerite Augugliaro to whom the quilt was gifted.
Augugliaro describes Mr. Page as “a shy man” whose t-shirts – from tie dyes to jokes about duct tape and beer – spoke volumes about the personality they all grew to love.
“We’re a very close knit group, like a family,” added Augugliaro, a COPD patient who has been in the Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program for 13 years. “When we don’t see someone for a few days, we start to assume the worst.”
Mr. Page is one of several “family members” they have lost over the years. This quilt of many colors reminds them all not only of him, but how sometimes many different people can come together to make something beautiful.
Linda Page (right) made Marguerite Augugliaro (left) a quilt created from her late husband's T-shirts.