My favourite part about my trip home was that a man, stunned to hear my children’s ages, asked me how old I was, and said, “You look nineteen. You’re f— gorgeous.”
The next day, I got this e-mail:
Hello Dr Yuan-Innes, Dr Baitz, Dr Isserlin, Cynthia, Sam and Andrew!
You are a Healthcare Hero!
The Healthcare Heroes program at CCH has officially launched!
The Healthcare Heroes program enables PATIENTS to recognize staff and physicians at CCH who were involved in their care by making a donation to CCH Foundation in their honour. Once a nomination is received, each Healthcare Hero will then be presented with a special pin to acknowledge their efforts in delivering “exceptional care, always.”
Our very first patient who has donated to the Foundation in your honor will be here on Thursday March 3rd, at 13:30.
I always like working with RN’s Sam and Cynthia. Smart, efficient, yet warm-hearted. Cynthia’s kids go to the same elementary school as mine. I lent her all our Buffy DVD’s, and she told me that after my miscarriage, she prayed for me. Sam never seems to give up, even in the face of terrible cases, yet she doesn’t seem to judge in any situation (Sam: You’ll have to see this patient who was held for serial troponins. Me, afterward: That patient has the flu and should never have been held for serial trops in the first place. Sam: Yup).
Dr. Baitz recently celebrated his 80th birthday, yet still works constantly both in Cornwall and at the Glengarry Memorial Hospitals.
I’ve only met Dr. Isserlin once, but I was really happy that a surgeon-intensivist had joined our hospital.
I know RN Andrew from the Christmas party. Good dancer and obviously a commendable nurse.
So I’m in excellent company.
I wanted to post compliments on my Facebook wall, but didn’t want to seem like I was bragging. As my protagonist, Hope Sze, put it in Stockholm Syndrome, “I’ve seen other girls use their looks to get ahead. It’s never been an issue for me. Not because I’m so heinous-looking, I think, but because it’s only in the past few years that Asian beauty has gone mainstream, that I’ve outgrown the ‘Flat nose! Four eyes!’ comments, and because I’m really focused on school, not beauty pageants.”
Then I heard a story on CBC Radio’s program, Unreserved. Artist Elizabeth Doxtater described the “story of a corn husk doll who came to life to help take care of children while their parents worked in the fields. As she moved from village to village, people raved so much about her beauty that when she caught sight of her reflection in a pond, she became spellbound and forgot to do anything else except admire herself. So the gods removed her face.
Doxtater said that this was strong medicine—she prefers the term medicine to punishment—as a reminder that you have to do your duty.
Obviously, this story reminded me of Narcissus, except the corn husk doll didn’t die. She lived on, but without a face.
This tied everything together for me. The fact that the corn husk doll has to adapt to a new life, one that is changed and scarred, absolutely resonates. That’s what medicine is all about. We may save your life, but often your life will never be the same.
As for gorgeousness, people may or may not admire my looks, but for me, true beauty is not only about facial features, but about intelligence and kindness and working toward a higher purpose, all of which I see every day in the emergency room.
Congratulations to our glorious past, present, and future heroes.