An experience with a friend yesterday provided a personal introduction to an 811 nurse, three Cowichan Valley paramedics and our local Emergency health care workers at Cowichan District Hospital. It was all good!

My friend woke with tightness in her chest, across her arms, feeling “unwell”, balance issues, nausea, extremely high blood pressure and hand tremors. I wanted her to go to the hospital but she said she was “fine.” She didn’t want me to call 911 but finally agreed that I could phone 811 (nurses hotline).

I had my friend on my landline and called 811 on my cell phone. While the wait was longer than anticipated, the nurse was gentle, respectful, professional, and asked my friend pointed questions. She wanted my friend to agree to let me call 911 (and advised her not go to hospital by car or even go downstairs to wait for the ambulance), but my friend disagreed. I asked the nurse to please repeat what she had just said and the nurse spoke quietly but directly again. My friend agreed.

It was a strange experience – holding two phones, but it worked! I hung up, drove to my friend’s home, opened it for the paramedics, told my friend that I was in the house as she waited upstairs in her favourite chair. The paramedics (3) were wonderful! Fully masked, they spoke directly to my friend – crouching down so they were eyeball to eyeball as she was in her chair. Soft spoken, reassuring, calm while doing the testing they needed to do, it was clear they were not only professional but compassionate. Once they gently got her on the stretcher, off they went to the hospital.

My friend is now back in her home, with gratitude for being so well-cared for in Emerg and on the ride to the hospital. She said she felt extremely well cared for – and safe.

In the midst of this pandemic, a senior who was beyond-stressed, unwell and frightened, experienced Cowichan Valley health care providers who each had “a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.” That’s the definition of greatness, according to Martin Luther King Jr.

On this day that our American neighbours are marking Martin Luther King day, when so many are deeply concerned about Wednesday’s Inauguration of the next President/VP of the U.S., the increased COVID19 numbers and fewer available vaccines than predicted, it is good to know that there are people serving, selflessly, because they have “a heart full of grace … a soul generated by love.”

Thank you front line workers whoever you are and however you serve. You are models of greatness.

“Everybody can be great. Because anybody can serve.You don’t have to have a college degree to serve.You don’t have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve. You don’t have to know the second theory of thermodynamics in physics to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.” <Martin Luther King Jr.>

© June Maffin

© June Maffin