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Family present is best present

December 26, 2002

Janine Marnien

Many Glendale residents spent Christmas morning with their

families, unwrapping gifts and beginning to prepare food for meals to

be served later in the day.

Larry and Josie Sacino spent it in the hospital.

Josie Sacino had been a patient at Glendale Adventist Medical

Center for exactly three weeks and counting on Dec. 25. She remained


in critical condition on Christmas Day, a result of complications

from hip surgery and her Type 1 diabetes.

The holiday began quietly for the couple. Larry Sacino slept in

the bed next to his wife on Christmas Eve, and did so again on

Christmas. A few holiday decorations adorned the room -- stockings

were hung on a bulletin board, and a miniature tree stood below.

The Sacinos watched some television and wondered when sons Jeffrey

and Laurence Sacino would stop by with their families. There was no

gift exchange -- that had been done the night before, over coffee.

Larry Sacino gave his wife of 55 years a pair of pajamas.

Granted, Christmas wasn't the same as in years past. Normally, the

"whole gang" would be over at the Sacino's Glendale home.

Josie Sacino, 80, would be cooking spaghetti and meatballs for

Christmas dinner. Jeff Sacino would bring the turkey. The food isn't

quite the same at Glendale Adventist, Josie said.

"I miss having the works," she said. "There's no sausages, no

desserts. I wish I had something homemade."

The weeks leading up to the holiday also hadn't been easy. Larry

Sacino, 80, suffered a heart attack while visiting his wife. He

underwent double bypass surgery, and a four-day hospital stay.

Despite the bleak hospital setting, the couple didn't mind

spending Christmas at Glendale Adventist, they said. There were more

important things to think about.

"It's just another day for me," Larry Sacino said. "It doesn't

make any difference. We're taking it one day at a time until she gets

out of here. All she wants is to go home. Every time the doctor comes

in, that's what she asks him."

The circumstances also hadn't dampened the spirit of Christmas,

the Sacinos said. After all, they could still spend it with family.

"Having my family around makes me feel better," Josie Sacino said.

Said Larry Sacino: "The meaning is still the same. We know we've

got our family. We can't be together all the time, but we're together


Doctors were unavailable to discuss Josie Sacino's prognosis.

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