Hamilton finds passion in profession
Gary Hamilton’s son, Garrett, who was born almost three months premature, died 16 weeks into his life. Yet the child is still touching his father’s life today.
His son’s death led Hamilton, a Frenship Community resident, into nursing.
The way the nurses treated Hamilton and his family during Garrett’s stay at the hospital affected him for years.
“The nurses ministered to me, my wife and my daughter at that time,” said Hamilton. “They were so caring.”
No one was permitted in the isolation room back then. But a nurse let Andrea, Gary’s daughter, who was almost 3, enter the room in a gown and a mask to kiss her brother on the cheek.
“That ministered to me very intensely,” he said.
Hamilton worked in the 1980s as a master plumber, but the other tasks associated with the job, such as keeping up with the accounting, taxes, and bills, sucked the joy out of his work.
Sandi, his wife, told him to find a new career.
Hamilton then remembered those nurses and his son.
He talked to his sister, Pat Reeves, a nurse, and earned his nursing program credits at South Plains College. He graduated from the Methodist School of Nursing in 1993.
“It was just my way of giving back what was given to me,” said Hamilton.
“My son affected more people than I would have ever imagined. He touched so many lives. I got to thinking, if I can make that kind of impact, then he touches even more lives.”
Gary now manages nurses in the Nephrology Ward on the 10th floor at Covenant Medical Center, a position Hamilton has held for about a decade.
Nephrology deals with kidney transplant and dialysis. It is a difficult nursing position because it requires much love and care of the patient. “You either love them to death or you don’t want to take care of them at all,” said Hamilton.
Dialysis is a temporary solution, he said. Patients go through dialysis, which removes waste in the body three times a week.
“What people have to realize is the kidneys work 24 hours a day, seven days a week. When they stop working, there’s dialysis for four hours, three times a week. It’s very tough on the body,” said Hamilton.giant christmas inflatables
He relates to kidney disease patients to cancer patients.
“We are starting to find cures for cancer. We don’t have a cure for renal disease,” said Hamilton. “When the kidneys die or malfunction, we don’t have a cure. Even transplantation is not a cure. The life expectancy of a transplanted kidney is around 10 years.
Hamilton’s first love is floor nursing, caring for the patients. Other nurses asked Hamilton why he took on the management position. He told them, “If I can bestow on you how I want it done, then I am touching more people.
“Indirectly, my son is touching them. That’s just the way I feel about it.”