By Molly May, Surgical Services Manager
I had one of those days. You know, one of “those” days. Actually, it had been a series of four consecutive “those” days. Staffing constraints, equipment failure, personal crisis with frozen pipes and flooding in my already temporary housing.
I was feeling overwhelmed, stressed and disconnected, but pushed through to the end of my late day. I scurried out of the hospital, caught up in my own head, as I ran through the events of the days past and what was left undone. I blasted out the door and onto the road home. Because I was moving so unconsciously, I realized about halfway home that I had left behind some important items in my office. Frustrated, I turned around and headed back.
Once again, I found myself barreling toward the West Lobby in a rush toward home. This time, however, I noticed something. I immediately slowed down and regained “consciousness”.
I noticed an elderly couple had pulled up to the entrance of the West Lobby. The driver was an elderly, handicapped gentleman who walked with a cane and braced himself with his free hand along the hood of the car as he rounded to the passenger side where his wife was seated. I realized he was heading in for a wheelchair to escort her inside. I asked if I could help and questioned if he needed some help with a wheelchair.
He tried to dismiss me and stated, “It’s okay, we do this all the time.” He was lovely, friendly and lovingly referred to his wife as “Mama,” and she responded to him with “Pops”. I explained I had time and would at least help her inside so he could park the vehicle. He smiled and thanked me as he said I could just “park her inside the door,” and he would be right back.
I assisted her to the wheelchair and “parked” her inside as he asked while he actually parked. They were both quite fragile, and I wondered how they managed this on a regular basis. It occurred to me they do manage and, rather, quite well, actually.
On this particular day, I needed a reminder. This is such a simple story and a simple gesture, as we all provide care well above a wheelchair transfer. But this gesture of caregiving brought me back.
It’s so easy to get caught up in the demands and stressors of our jobs that we forget why we are here. This simple act of caring was reflected back to me as a clear reminder of how blessed I am and why I do what I do.
This time, I drove home with renewed peace and appreciation with a final “thumbs up” to the gentleman returning to his wife parked safely in the lobby.
Media Contact: Nancee Long, 503-338-4504
Copyright © Columbia Memorial Hospital