There are moments in life that examine our dedication and passion for our purpose and profession. I am honoured to have witnessed this in two of our HCA’s staff. Both underwent two different and difficult ordeals in the same weekend. Here are stories of both our stars:
One weekend, I was woken up by a soft beep from my phone and with blurry eyes, I unlocked my phone to read an incoming Whatsapp message from my staff Janice*: “My mom RIP early this morning and I will be taking leave for the week”. I was sad, but it was expected, as Janice’s mom had been critically ill. I said a little prayer for Janice’s mom and reminded Janice to take care.
A few hours later, my phone beeped again. A Whatsapp message from another of my staff Nola*: “I was admitted to Ng Teng Fong Hospital for TIA. Sorry unable to attend Ops meeting”. TIA or Transient Ischemic Attack is a brief episode of neurological dysfunction caused by a restriction in blood supply to tissues, resulting in a shortage of oxygen in the brain, spinal cord, or retina, without tissue death. In short, a TIA is like a minor stroke. This was unexpected. I was shocked. Why were such events happening to both of my staff on the same day? I reminded Nola to take care as well and not to worry about work.
Both Janice and Nola were going to be out of action the coming week. I tried hard to figure out how I could manage the situation. Janice and Nola were each other’s backup. Meanwhile I alerted our Human Resource team to inform them of Janice and Nola’s situations.
Subsequently, I found out that there was going to be a patients’ outing and Janice was in charge. However, my concerns were unfounded. The rest of the HCA team had swung into action and had already identified someone to cover for Janice.
On Monday, back at the office, Janice had called and insisted that she would meet the group at the place of outing to purchase entry tickets for everyone. She wanted to ensure that everything was going to be in order, before returning to her mother’s wake. True passion and dedication to HCA!!
I then got in touch with Nola’s husband, Danny*, who related to me what had happened to Nola. The Friday afternoon before her hospital admission, Nola had felt some numbness on her left hand and found it difficult to hold a pen. She even dropped her mobile when she held it in her left hand. She felt she wasn’t walking straight, but she attributed it to tiredness. She continued to work in the office till late to complete her work. She was also worried that a fridge she had ordered, would not fit into HCA’s new office space. She finally went home at 8pm and on the next day, was still adamant that she was fine. She began to slur, and Danny noticed a slight droop of her lips. It was only then that they decided to go to the hospital, where she was immediately warded. Nola missed the “5-hour” golden time and it meant that recovery was going to be much harder. She continues to be warded and will have to undergo daily rehabilitation.
Two different staff under two distinct and difficult circumstances. But both showed tenacity, dedication and passion to HCA’s cause. I am so honoured to have Janice and Nola as our staff. So proud of you both!
To all of us, whilst we love HCA and our cause, we must remember to look after ourselves and our families first. When we are well, we can look after our beneficiaries better. Take good care!
*not their real names
© 2023 HCA Hospice. All Rights Reserved.