Oct 28, 2021
4 mins read
This delivery was another one of those ones that has a special place in my heart so this will be a longer update. Thanks everyone who came over from Twitter or Facebook that normally consume the updates on the respective platforms.
At no time do I in the past, present, or future represent AHS or affiliates as I deliver these cards as a citizen.
The adult waiting room had only a few chairs empty when I arrived. I said hello to the screener (a super sweet lady) and the safety coordinator (I think?) that was stationed at the door. I have an old friend that's an RN here and she was quite insistent that I said hello while I was there. I let the screener know that and that I'd texted her to say I was there. She offered to have me stand to the side while I waited.
The WMC Emergency department is an important place for me - I was admitted here after I was hit by a car at a marked crosswalk in July 2020. First, it was emotional to see my own name on a wristband I'd previously printed hundreds of test wristbands with test patient names on. I'm fortunate in my time that I've very seldom had to seek care. The ER nurse that took care of me from the X-ray room to the trauma room to the CT scanner and in between was amazing. I'm a severely acute needle-weenie and his efforts to have me relax (dragging in an ultrasound cart to show me the veins in my arm would have been cool if I didn't know he was about to poke me in one of them) were damn slick. The ER doc encouraged me to go for a CT scan for peace of mind and thankfully I did - they'd found my brain had bruising on both the front and back. After a referral to neurology I was assured that things were okay and I'd just need to take it easy for a few days.
The safety coordinator asked me what my friend's name was and went over to check to see where she was working tonight and offered to go over and see if she could find her. I obliged and off she went quickly returning telling me that they said to just come back into the unit.
So off I went to the back of the pediatric side of the department. The pediatric waiting room also only had a few empty chairs to spare. Someone down at the back called to me and said "Hey are you Chad? Come back here, this is [friend's name]'s stomping grounds." She was in with a patient collecting blood for the lab. There was a couple of RTs and nurses in between patients doing some quick charting at computers and everyone seemed to be in pretty good spirits. It was a smooth night so far.
My friend finished up and came out of the patient's room and we chatted and caught up for a few minutes. After handing her the stack of fifty cards she said that her manager had planned to distribute a few tonight and then set the rest up for a draw. I took the liberty in making sure she took one for herself. I guess when my friend told her I was coming she excitedly asked "oh is that the guy from the news?!" (This isn't the first time since CityTV and CBC aired their stories on #CoffeeforHCWsAB that I've been recognized out and about. If you missed them, they're saved on the blog linked at the bottom of this post.)
As I understand it, this small gesture means a lot to these folks. Amidst this fourth wave we have seen folks protesting outside of hospitals while they're inside pouring their hearts out caring for their patients. Hospitals are inviolable places: humans take their very first and very last breaths within the walls of these facilities.
Mental health is a real concern right now for healthcare workers while they're asked to pull overtime after their usually twelve hour long shifts or being called in for mandatory overtime. Receiving these little pages of gratitude from 165 Albertans goes beyond the $5 on the barcode.
That said, for any HCW reading this, the EAP (Employee Assistance Program) is a free service for any AHS employee. Please use it. Edmonton doc Neeja Bakshi shared an important thread on this today very worthy of a read:
I'd regret it if I didn't share this AMAZING little mascot at the nursing station on the pediatric side of the department, Coronasaurus Rex! I wouldn't DARE cross this guy!
And with all that out of the way, someone found the poorly hidden donate button (thank you!) and our total is now up to $5657.73 from 165 donors. I have ~8 depts worth of coffee left with 830 cards ($4100) delivered to 27 departments. As always, the full and up to date story is here: https://chadohman.ca/coffeeforhcwsab/
Tomorrow night I'm visiting the Royal Alexandra Emergency dept with 50 cards. Nominate a department here: https://chadohman.ca/nominate-a-unit/
I'm so thankful I've been able to facilitate this project and humbled to share the journey. Thank you to everyone who contributed to this effort.