“Why does it take a minute to say hello and forever to say goodbye?”-Author Unknown
On 3/14/13, I said the first of many goodbyes to come. It involved my first family in Kahana, HI. My arrival to Maui in July produced high stress and a lack of sleep for several days. In fact, it took two months for my body to fully adjust to the five-hour time change. The job offered its own demands; a new computer system to learn, locating its physical address and the employees.
Fifteen years on the road developes not only a thick skin but a vulnerability to any and everything. My past encounter with Filipino workers wasn’t the most pleasant, so you can imagine how distraught I became when faced with the staff in Kahana unit. “Here we go again,” I thought. I prepared to be snubbed for the next three months. “Not a problem,” I concluded. “When it’s all over, I’ll just run, not walk to the airport to hurry back to the mainland.” What I did not expect was to be amazed.
An Open Door, A Welcoming Hand
Day one in the unit gave insight to a joy I would experience to the end of my stay nine months later. As people, we have a tendency to feel each other out before revealing ourselves. It starts with watching and waiting for responses to our questions or actions. The silence finally broke when I blurted out some crazy comment that triggered laughter all around. It started something wonderful, releasing the tension that circled the room.
The team consists of Marivic, Keithleen, Franco, Destinie and Kristine (Domingo) who are fantastic at what they do. The pleasure I derive from my job is the knowledge that they are doing theirs. I could count on them to report patient stats when their stability was in question. Even the simple act of introducing me to the patients helped to relieve their anxiety of a new nurse in the unit.
This group became my first family through laughter, teamwork and kindness. Charge nurses, Aileen, Elvia, Christine (Gumpal) leant their expertise so that I understood protocols and important information to keep up the everyday workings of the unit. Shirley Beidleman, clinical manager, runs the unit with a keen eye, allowing you enough space to become comfortable as you adapt to your duties. Thanks also goes out to the secretaries, Georgena and Gina for pointing me in the right direction regarding the constant paper trail that flowed everyday.
Sadness was not allowed as the group gathered at Hard Rock Cafe in Lahaina, HI. Platters of nachos for appetizers along with wine, beer and sodas started the party. Later, our entrée’s kept us full and happy. Wonderful gifts of journals, pens (after all I am a writer), a tote bag and a photo album for all my treasured memories almost released the water works!
We took to the stage and pretended to be rock stars as we played the drums, air guitars or posed as back-up singers. At one point I posed as an out of control groupie while leaning across the five foot high speaker. As the saying goes, all good things must come to an end so we departed as one big family out of the restaurant. Of course we had to have one more ‘jump photo’ for te road.
So mahalo to my first family. My heart is full due to your love, kindness and much-needed laughter. With a kiss and a wave, I say goodbye to you all. Aloha.
“Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.”-Garrison Keillor