Maureen Stachnick


In high school, and shortly thereafter, there seemed to be no lofty goals for women in that day. Most women's ambitions were as secretary, housewife and the highest goal was a teacher. In my 9th grade yearbook in San Francisco, no woman said she would be a doctor. I started out in the medical field and became a medical assistant and then a medical transcriptionist. About l0 years later I went to work for SLAC as a secretary- transcriptionist. Two years later I went back to school for respiratory therapy and worked for hospitals in Hayward, Stanford and then the Kaiser system in Redwood City and San Jose where I worked for l8 years until my disability retirement. With all my jobs I worked 33 years. My parentsŐ financial situation influenced my career path as I chose a trade school (medical assisting) instead of college. Later I took many courses at local junior colleges.


I have lived in the San Francisco Bay Area my whole life. I was born in San Francisco and moved to San Bruno and attended Capuchino starting in the 10th grade. We moved to San Carlos in 1963. I purchased my first home in San Mateo in 1976. I then moved and purchased another home in San Jose to start a job for Santa Teresa Kaiser Hospital. I have traveled greatly through the years to Hawaii twice, Mexico twice, a cruise and a trip to Europe, Western Canada and many states through the US. Before my disability I visited my cousin Paul in Atlanta each year.


I have never married. I never wanted children because of my family history of diabetes and I didn't want to pass the gene on to any children. I have the most side effects of the disease at this time. I have prosthetics and I'm able to walk short distances with a walker.


I helped my brother raise his daughter and son after their mother died from cancer when the children were very young. They are grown now and my nephew has married and has three sons, the last are twins. I enjoy seeing them and watch the boys grow. Both my niece and nephew are teachers, Amy at Bel Aire in San Bruno and Eric at Willow Glen in San Jose. My interests have been music, I taught myself the organ, and I listen to musicals, opera, light symphony and everything else. Before the disability I liked sports including tennis and volleyball. I love movies and have a large collection of tapes and DVD, and CDs. I love gardening and liked to plant roses. I have a plum, apricot and apple tree in the back yard. My care giver and Ii canned plums this year.


Civic organizations include Lions Organization for the Blind, and Center for Independence of the Disabled


 My Pet cat was named Tweedie. She was very special especially through my illnesses. She passed away a year ago July at 17 and I had her buried at the Pet Rest Cemetery in Colma as she was so special to me. She was a long hair white cat with pink ears. We still have a dog named Katie, a dachshund, cocker mix.


Favorite movies include Gone with the Wind, The Quiet Man, The Sound of Music, Meet Me in St. Louis, and Sense and Sensibility.


I attended CSM, and Bay City College for Medical Assisting, passed a certificate for Medical Assisting at Bay City College for respiratory therapy. I also passed tests for a certificate in Respiratory Therapy Certified Technician and Certified Pulmonary Function Technologist. Lately I have learned the computer and explore knowledge in different fields. It has been a great help, post disability.


I paid the bills by working in the medical field of respiratory therapy for the 20 years up to 1995. Since then I have been on Social Security Disability and then Social Security. I also had a pension from Kaiser and other investments.


My retirement started with a disability from work and the transition involved a lot of paper work to gain a social security disability card. It eventually came through. I always had the Kaiser Health Plan and thank God for them as they took care of all my surgeries and hospitalizations these past 16 years.