Sonny Christie would rather not have suffered a ruptured appendix, but now restored to health, he has nothing but praise for the care he received at Kaitaia Hospital.
He was particularly grateful to enrolled nurse June Cherrington, and he returned to the hospital yesterday to thank her with flowers and morning tea to share with her team.
Ms Cherrington said she had just done her job, but the Pukemiro School teacher (who wasn't sure if his pupils were glad to see their "grumpy" teacher back at work) was having none of that. She and her team were angels, he said, and his stay had been "absolutely fabulous".
He now had a real appreciation of the pressure under which medical staff worked, and the English language did not have the words to express the positive impact these "true professionals who manifest care and a genuine interest in their patients' well-being" had had on him and his whanau.
The discharging of a fellow patient, whose home environment had not been conducive to healing, had been delayed for two weeks until medical staff were certain that he and his wife had decent accommodation to go to.
"That made me cry. It wouldn't happen anywhere else," he said.
"The support staff were just as amazing. It was great to have Raewyn Noa and Phoenix Pivac ensuring my needs were met. Hey, even the food was good," he added.
He had also seen how some people treated staff with rudeness, aggression, arrogance and ignorance. He described a young patient who displayed all those qualities as a "foul-mouthed piece of work".
"I just want the staff to know that they are appreciated, even if they are under-valued by some of the less favourable individuals in our community," he said.