In just over a year, the definition of what makes a hero has expanded greatly. From the masked grocery clerks bagging our COVID comfort foods to the couriers delivering our socially distant birthday gifts, frontline employees have been working around the clock to keep society functioning as ‘normally’ as possible.
Of course, healthcare has always been the realm of life-savers, and now more than ever, these heroes need quality rest to keep functioning themselves. Buoyed by a generous donation of mattresses from Endy’s Healthcare Heroes initiative, two Canadian healthcare workers share their experiences on the hospital floor, and the benefits of resting in a world of rapid testing.
Dr. Sadiq Abdulla, Anesthesiologist, B.C. Women’s Hospital and Associate Program Director of UBC’s Anesthesia Training Program
Pregnant women are starting to become more affected by the variant strains of COVID-19 than the original strain, and critical-care beds are filling up with pregnant women, too. So my job as an anesthesiologist is to be a primary caregiver for patients in critical situations, providing airway management, but also life-saving resuscitation overall. We continued that work throughout the pandemic, just with more restrictions.
A lot of support that women have during labour and the postpartum period is basically gone, as family members aren’t allowed to congregate in hospitals. We’ve really taken it upon ourselves to be that support team, particularly in the operating room — and especially when women are alone. It’s been a bit more challenging for us to provide the same level of personalized care with PPE on, but we’ve taken up that challenge.
It’s a necessity to have a rested physician, especially at the height of the pandemic. We’re all working longer hours, and fewer of us are in the hospital at any one time to try to limit exposure.
Before Endy’s donation, we really didn’t have any comfortable places to lie down and get rest. I reached out at the beginning of the pandemic, and they were very generous in providing us a number of mattresses. Now, my entire department speaks to me about the change in our sleeping environments. We’re actually able to fall asleep quickly for the hour or two that we have available before the next emergency comes in, which is really rejuvenating.
Outside of work, my pager still rings, but I’ve attempted to stretch and head outdoors — even to walk around our beautiful hospital campus to get some fresh air. I’m spending some time teaching my daughter to ride a bike — she’s pretty good now.
Dr. Colette Rutherford, Corporate Chief and Medical Director, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Scarborough Health Network
I’m the administrative lead for my department, doing corporate and program planning, but I’m also an obstetrician and gynecologist. I wear two hats, really. Particularly early on in the pandemic, there were a lot of unknowns: People weren’t sure how safe interacting with other staff and other patients would be, whether we’d have enough PPE, and all the concerns shared by most people in health care. We have all our gear on, so it can be really hard to make a personal connection when we can barely even see your face. We’re in Scarborough, which is one of the hardest-hit communities. I speak to other people in other parts of the city, and they say, “I don’t know anybody who has COVID.” And I say, “I know of people who have COVID. They’re my patients.” We’re all just trying to hang in there.
I try to take one day off a week. I have kids that are in middle school, so I do try to distance myself from my work as much as possible. As an obstetrician, one of the things that we learned early on in training is that sleep is really, really, really important. It’s one thing I’ve never failed to appreciate since getting into this line of work, where we work shifts between 12 and 24 hours-long.
Endy mattresses were given to the call rooms for our obstetric, anesthesia and pediatrics departments, and they were really appreciated — on more than one level. As a regular person, you get a mattress once every few years and feel, “Isn’t this fantastic?” But for healthcare workers, it’s the recognition, a sign of appreciation. We know that if you need time to relax, there’s a place for you to do that comfortably. It’s easy enough to throw around words like ‘heroes’ but it’s amazing when people make that acknowledgement beyond just the verbiage.
Endy has donated over 10,000 mattresses to charity, and with the new Healthcare Heroes initiative, they are doubling down on outfitting Canadian hospitals and frontline medical professionals with comfortable mattresses and bedding, so they can get the rest they deserve. Canadians are encouraged to nominate their local hospital for a call room transformation at endy.com/donations.