When I was growing up back in Montreal I remember that my mother was a volunteer at a hospital. She did it for years and years and years, and she really enjoyed it. She’d come home and always share her day with me and my dad. She’d talk about what she’d done, who she’d helped. Some days were funny, some were sad, all were interesting and rewarding.
With her as an example, I guess it’s no surprise that when I was in high school I volunteered at that same hospital, during one of my summer breaks. They had a program for teenagers (16 years old and up — I was 16) — we were called candy stripers. Our uniforms, baby blue and white striped pinafores that we wore over our own white blouses, should give you a clue as to what inspired the name of the program. Student nurses wore the same thing, only their stripes were pink and white.
Like my mother, I also loved it. We didn’t have one, specific post. We floated wherever we were needed: Taking patients for X-rays or physiotherapy. Delivering flowers to patients. Filing. Taking the mobile library from floor to floor, and from room to room. Stacking towels, sheets and blankets. Feeding patients who couldn’t feed themselves. Filling in for doctors’ receptionists when they were off. Playing or reading to the kids on the paediatric floor (this I remember being very sad. There were some very, very sick kids there). But of all the ‘jobs’ I had, there are two that I remember vividly, even all these years later:
Once, I was asked to deliver the lunch trays. I first had to go to the kitchen to pick up the huge tray carrier and then I was off to the maternity floor. While I don’t Continue reading