Bill McQuarrie is back with a special edition of North Island Rising. Have some thoughts? Write a letter to the editor at editor@northislandgazette.com and we will publish it online and in print.

Bill McQuarrie is back with a special edition of North Island Rising. Have some thoughts? Write a letter to the editor at editor@northislandgazette.com and we will publish it online and in print.

An act of kindness goes a long way

‘This woman, this nurse so obviously cares and is so unlike the people I most often write about’

Sometimes when I write these columns, I feel like the Grinch Who Stole Christmas. The stories are often about humans doing the wrong thing for the wrong reason. They are the people whose actions more often than not seem motivated by nothing more primitive, inhumane or vulgar than greed and sleazy self-interest.

So a few weeks ago when I witnessed an act of kindness and caring that rose above the crassness of 2020, I was reminded that the world we seemed to have lost this year is actually not lost. Perhaps hard to find at times but still here. Let me explain.

It happened a few weeks ago when an opening came up at the North Island Hospital Campbell River, for some needed repair work on my knee. It was a simple day surgery kind of thing where five or so hours after you arrive at the hospital, you are on your way home.

As I checked in early on the morning of my procedure, eagerly anticipating that stylish wrist bracelet, I noticed a mother with her young child also being processed through admitting. Other than thinking that both appeared calm and relaxed, I didn’t give them much more thought than that.

Little did I know we would again meet up a few hours later nor that those moments would give me hope that the world could survive 2020 better than I imagined possible.

Being first up to bat with my surgery meant I was the first in recovery and once awake, I was able to spend time watching a day surgery unit in action. It was all as it has been with previous knee adventures until a young child was wheeled out of the O.R. and over to a quiet corner in recovery.

It would turn out to be the same young child I had seen earlier in the morning and the tender gentleness of the transfer to recovery was something that would make the most jaded of us smile… which I did.

But then things began to change as a nurse, possibly the charge nurse for the unit, pulled a chair up to the bedside of the young patient, sat down beside the bed and simply watched and waited. Waited for the effects of the anaesthetic to begin wearing off. Waited for the first flutter of eyes opening. Waited and waited some more, so that the very first thing this child would see was a real person, likely the same one this young patient saw on the way into surgery.

It was obvious this nurse was determined to insure her young charge would not be alone, so there was no multitasking and no distracting diversions. There was simply a patient needing her and I imagined there had been a promise made to be there when the anaesthetic first wore off.

Now the cynical will say that this is what nurses and medical staff are supposed to do. It is what they are paid to do and it’s no big deal.

But it is a big deal because what I saw was more than a well-trained and experienced nurse simply caring for her patient. This one was caring about her patient and there is a difference in those two terms.

I saw a nurse doing what I think she must have originally dreamt nursing was about. She did it quietly, professionally and without any expectation of recognition.

Except maybe from a young child who saw someone keep her promise to be there when it mattered most.

This woman, this nurse so obviously cares and is so unlike the people I most often write about.

She is not looking for re-election or the power of office.

She is not manipulating facts to fit her ambitions. She is not pretending to be something or be somebody she is not. She is instead, someone quietly trying to make the world a better and safer place.

When we awake from this nightmarish-like 2020, it is people like her that I first want to see too.

Bill McQuarrie is a former publisher, photojournalist and entrepreneur. Semi-retired and now living in Port McNeill, you can follow him on Instagram #mcriderbc or reach him at bill@northislandrising.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

ColumnistOpinion

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Emma Garriott is releasing her second album titled ‘Sad White Girl Angst.’ (Emma Garriott / Facebook photo)
North Island musician releases second album titled ‘Sad White Girl Angst’

“When you hear it, I want you to feel like your best friend in the whole world is sitting beside you’

North Island mayors say their voices should be heard by DFO before final decisions are made about fish farms. (Black Press file photo)
Mayors asking to be let in on fish farm consultations

DFO evaluating 18 Discovery Island fish farms and transitioning from open-net farms

Broughton Curling Club. (Clint Fiske photo)
Broughton Curling Club might end season by mid-December

The club is weighing the options and will see what the turnout continues to look like week by week.

A woman wears a protective face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as she walks along the seawall in North Vancouver Wednesday, November 25, 2020.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
911 new COVID-19 cases, 11 deaths as B.C. sees deadliest week since pandemic began

Hospitalizations reach more than 300 across the province

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

West Vancouver Island’s Ehattesaht First Nation continues lock down after 9 active cases were reported today after a visitor tested positive last week. (Ehattesaht First Nation/Facebook)
Ehattesaht First Nation’s COVID-19 nightmare: nine active cases, a storm and a power outage

The Vancouver Island First Nation in a lockdown since the first case was reported last week

The Ahousaht First Nation confirmed its first case of COVID-19 on Nov. 26, 2020. (Westerly file photo)
Ahousaht First Nation on lockdown over COVID-19

“Emotions are high. The anxiety is high. We want our community to pull through.”

Screenshot of Pastor James Butler giving a sermon at Free Grace Baptist Church in Chilliwack on Nov. 22, 2020. The church has decided to continue in-person services despite a public health order banning worship services that was issued on Nov. 19, 2020. (YouTube)
2 Lower Mainland churches continue in-person services despite public health orders

Pastors say faith groups are unfairly targeted and that charter rights protect their decisions

A big job: Former forests minister Doug Donaldson stands before a 500-year-old Douglas fir in Saanich to announce preservation of some of B.C.’s oldest trees, July 2019. (B.C. government)
B.C. returning to ‘stand-alone’ forests, rural development ministry

Horgan says Gordon Campbell’s super-ministry doesn’t work

Freighter anchored off Kin Beach in Chemainus. (Photo by Don Bodger)
MP to host expert panel for virtual town hall on freighter anchorages issue

Residents can participate through MacGregor’s website or Facebook page Dec. 3

Lake Cowichan’s Oliver Finlayson, second from left, and his family — including grandma Marnie Mattice, sister Avery, mom Amie Mattice and dad Blair Finlayson — were all smiles on Nov. 16 when their pool arrived, thanks to lots of fundraising and the generosity of the Cowichan Lake community. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Cowichan Lake community comes together to help family get vital pool

Oliver Finlayson, 9, has Duchenne muscular dystrophy and hydrotherapy is a big help

Most Read