Recently, I accompanied a good friend for a day surgery at Mt. Alvernia Hospital, Singapore. The nurses are polite. A nurse manager (in red maroon uniform) even addressed me with my name when she told me what to expect (e.g. approximate time when I should be back after the operation is done). I am impressed. For professionals who have to attend to high number of customers daily, I greatly appreciate the extra mile of efforts.
After my friend went into the operation theatre, I turned the volume of my mobile phone to maximum, in case the medical staff needs to contact me.
So, what can we do while waiting at hospital?
1. Be patient-centric
Update concerned family members, relatives, friends of patient.
Recall what the nurses, doctors, administrative staff mentioned. Jot them down so we can remind the patient later on.
2. Enjoy food
I had a brunch of ginger soy milk (SGD $2) and salmon sushi with wasabi (SGD $4). Before that, the sushi stall staff, a middle age woman (whom is called auntie in Singapore - though we have no biological relationships) pro-actively promoted her products. That's why I decided to support her and I was satisfied!
For lunch, I packed a Subway meal, with extra olives please. While munching my meatball marinara sandwich, I thought of a dinner of udon and a grocery list for it.
3. Visit the beautiful chapel
The stained glasses of predominantly blue tone at the backdrop of the altar, with flashes of moving cars outside, look like a serene ceiling-height aquarium.
I also prayed hard. The background music reminded me on quiet moments in Catholic churches in Europe.
4. Admire newborns
Around noon time, there are few very lovely newborns spotted at the lobby, presumably their parents are waiting for transports to bring them home for the first time! New lives are always inspiring, they are so fragile yet full of potential, with many wonderful years lie ahead.
5. Shop or window-shop at pharmacy and gift shops
We love shopping, especially buying gifts for our loved ones and friends. The pharmacy staff was friendly, answering my inquiry politely. We cannot use the Ladies card to shop for formula milk powder, so I ended up window-shopping.
6. Read -- an alternative of playing mobile phones or tablets
At liaison office, I browsed a Mother&Baby magazine (January 2014) and collected a cooler bag with a redemption coupon that comes with my Alvernia's Ladies card. It was on my to-do-yet-non-urgent list for ~ a year. Done. Happy!
I also finished reading a TimeOut book that I packed with me in the morning.
7. Learn a little history
Stories connect minds and souls. Learning the story of Mt Alvernia Hospital makes me think of extraordinary nuns worldwide who have served from their deepest hearts. While Mother Teresa represents them as a global icon of compassion, agape and love, there have been many, if not countless, sisters who have made significant contributions in the betterment of our lives, directly or indirectly.
In 1949, three intrepid young Catholic nuns of the Franciscan Missionaries of the Divine Motherhood (FMDM): Sr Mary Angela McBrien, Sr Mary Camillus Walsh, Sr Mary Baptista Hennessy traveled all the way from Surrey, England* to tropical Singapore. Professionally trained in healthcare, these sisters started to care for tuberculosis patients at Tan Tock Seng Hospital and lepers at "The Leper Camp" in Woodbridge.
Besides caring patients directly as nurses and caregivers, the Sisters also taught and trained nurses. I really love their ideas and actions to empower and delegate others, because everyone has only limited 24 hours but there are many people to serve.
The Sisters have a vision that every patient would be offered comfort and solace at a retreat where gospel values would pertain and persons would matter for who they are, not for what they have. In 1950s, they started door-to-door appeals for donations to build Mt Alvernia Hospital. Finally, with generosity and enthusiasm from all walks of life, the hospital started to admit patients in 1961.
The first baby born at Mt Alvernia Hospital was named Francis Chan, after the hospital's patron saint, St Francis of Assisi, who also greatly loves animals and environment. This little story reminds me on Ren's name which has been inspired by St Luke, patron saint of artists, physicians and students.
Hope this little list makes your hospital wait interesting and less worrying, and please share with me other ideas of yours. I love to hear from you!
* How I miss my Irish Godmother who is living in England! Hope you are doing well. This post is also dedicated to you ♥