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A Happenstance

A Happenstance
By Judy Shapiro

A relative of mine was hospitalized recently with Arrhythmia and I was asked to accompany him to the hospital. I took with me the last ESRA Magazine to keep us occupied in the waiting room. In the duration, we attempted the crossword puzzle, read articles, laughed at the jokes and even used the Reichmann University Loose-leaf page ad at the back to list the items my relative requested I bring the following day. The Magazine did not leave my hands all day and accompanied us into the Internal Medicine Ward.

Toward evening, as I was leaving the ward on the third floor, a young, English-speaking woman named Lisa from the Consumer Department of Meir Hospital came by the bed and asked if we were pleased with the service the hospital gave. Among the positive things I told her about our professional treatment, including amenities—stations to charge our phones, Ezer Mitzyon serving complimentary coffee and sandwiches to those waiting in the Emergency Room—I told her that I appreciated the back copies of the National Geographic in Hebrew left with the nurses for patients and guests to read. I suggested that English speakers would enjoy the ESRA Magazine as well and perhaps copies could be supplied. I showed her mine. She smiled broadly, noted my request and said her parents were active in ESRA; did I know her father, Baruch Tanaman? (Baruch was a former chairperson of ESRA). Small world!

I asked Lisa about her volunteering in the Consumer Department of Meir Hospital, a job I didn't know existed. She agreed to write a vignette for ESRA of her service which ultimately led to our meeting. 

A Volunteer at Meir Medical Center, Service & Information Center since 2016

By Lisa Barry (51)

After my third son was born, I decided not to return to work (I am a registered lawyer), but to be a full-time mom. Once he was a bit older and in school, I wanted to do something more with my free time, something meaningful through volunteering.

There was a time when I wanted to study medicine. I always had a positive feeling toward hospitals, with everyone there working together toward recovery and cure for the benefit of the ill or injured. I felt a special connection to Meir Medical Center since I gave birth there to all three of my sons, and it was our go-to place for any family medical emergency.

At the hospital, I met with Liat Lipsky, today the manager of the hospital's Service & Information Center, and she welcomed me with open arms. For the past eight years I have been arriving at Meir Medical Center twice a week, and each time I make the rounds through two hospital wards. When I enter a ward, my aim is to put a smile on the face of every patient and their caring visitor, to give them the feeling that they are the hospital's welcome and important guests. Other than giving them my wishes for a speedy recovery, my smile, and a personalized get-well card, I ask the patients, each and every one, about the treatment they are receiving in the ward and about their hospital experience in general. I ask if they need help with anything, such as an additional explanation or an action to meet their needs. I receive full cooperation from the hospital staff, be it doctors, nurses, cleaners or other help staff, in complying with the patients' needs and requests.

Sometimes, all that is needed is an attentive ear and someone to stand by their bed and listen to what is in their heart or on their mind. I am privileged to hear stories of heroism, from aliyah to Israel after the Holocaust, to stories of remarkable people who share with me their life's work and events. Through my volunteering in the hospital's wards I have encountered people I otherwise would never have met, and because of this I leave the hospital filled with admiration for these impressive new acquaintances.

Each day in the hospital I learn something new from the patients - a linguistic teacher explaining how to pronounce a word properly, another who tells me the history behind his family name. Every "feel better" I utter, every get well greeting I deliver, is returned as a blessing to me from each of Meir Medical Center's amazing patients. They so appreciate my contact and attention, and the fact that someone takes an interest in them, that they shower me with praise and compliments, and these fill my heart. So that at the end of each day of volunteering, I head home with a feeling of joy and satisfaction.

 

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Thursday, 13 June 2024

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