I kind of felt like an idiot at Wegmans the other day. After finishing up shopping I went over to the service desk. I knew in real time it was trivial, but I asked anyway. “Why have you not been stocking Cocoa Krispies cereal lately? “
When I got home and told Kim this she half-jokingly said, “You are 63 years old and crying about Cocoa Krispies?”
Kim couldn’t be more correct.
This column takes an in-depth look into various people’s lives. And, quite often, they are ones suffering serious emotional, financial and personal hardships. So, as someone who is acutely aware of other people’s problems, I am worrying about breakfast cereal?
Case in point, this week’s “Bigger Picture” illustrates a local woman’s nightmarish six-month period that started in May.
Jennifer Sandroni, 41, is a longtime Geneva resident. She attended DeSales High School and ultimately graduated from Geneva High School. She went to college, then lived in Virginia and New York City before moving back to Geneva in 2003.
Married with two young kids, Jenn owns and operates the Captain’s Café, which had been her dad’s business. Life seemed pretty darn good ... until it was not.
Some say bad things happen in threes. Well ...
• No. 1 happened in mid-May.
Jenn was looking forward to crossing an item off her bucket list: seeing Pink live in concert. She had two great tickets to see her at Madison Square Garden.
At the concert with a friend, a disc jockey was warming up the crowd with some music while the two friends danced away. Jenn says she didn’t fall but felt something go awry in her foot. She ignored the pain and enjoyed the rest of the evening with Pink.
Having never broken a bone before, she certainly was shocked the next day to see the bruising and swelling around her foot. A trip to the doctor’s uncovered a metatarsal bone broken in multiple places.
After surgery — she had a plate, screws, etc. permanently inserted — she needed to have 2½ months of rest to offer the best recovery possible. Obviously, that’s not the easiest thing to do as a wife, mother and business owner.
• No. 2 came in July.
Anyone who owns a dog knows how special a part of the family they can be. And, when it is time to put them down it can be emotionally traumatic.
Unfortunately for Jenn, she was faced with the unusual task of having to put down both her dogs at the same time, as each was dealing with different medical illnesses. As difficult as it was, she used the experience to teach her kids about the grieving process.
• No. 3 turned out to be a real doozie.
On Sept. 12, just days after turning 41, Jenn was home on a random day off. She was canning pickles. There were two large pots on the stove, each with 6 quarts of boiling water in them.
She grabbed some hand towels as pot holders. As she picked up one of the pots a towel slipped. The boiling hot water spilled on hers, from the waist down to her feet, and also on her hands.
It was a serious situation. As she screamed and her husband came in to assist, she attempted to get the hot clothes off. She could see the skin peeling off much like it would from fire burns.
The couple headed straight to Geneva General Hospital. At the hospital the pain medication did little to relieve her extreme discomfort. With a Mercy Flight helicopter unavailable, she was transported by ambulance to Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester.
She remained there for close to a week. Recovery was extremely difficult and painful. Nurses aggressively scrubbed the tender burn areas daily. Ultimately weeks later, skin was grafted from her thigh for her belly burns, and another skin graft was used for her foot (inset photo). Jenn says it was an extremely painful experience recovering — at home — from the skin-graft surgery.
Aside from the constant pain, there were lots of places that were itchy — but she was unable to itch in order to speed the healing process.
Jenn is finally back at the Captain’s Café, regaining some of her stamina. She calls her husband a saint for the load of responsibilities he took on with the restaurant, children and his own business next door to the café: Above All, a CBD and glass shop. Jenn, who says that CBD oils and products have been incredibly effective in relieving her pain and discomfort, says her husband has in some ways been a single dad since May because of all the setbacks.
While in the hospital recovering, Jenn said the nurses and staff there were tremendous and almost family-like in their care. As testimony to that, last Friday a couple of nurses came to town, and stopped at her restaurant, to see how she was doing.
As friends with Jenn on Facebook, I have been following much of the recent goings-on in her life. I was struck with how incredibly upbeat, strong, positive and stoic she remained throughout the whole six months, and during our interview last week. What Jenn has been through would be enough to break just about anyone.
For Jenn, she is looking forward to general normalcy returning to her life. She wanted to the opportunity through this column to thank all her friends, family and employees.
And, lastly, she wants to emphasize how important it is to use oven mitts rather than dish towels.