“A not-so-funny thing happened on the way to X-mas, I ended up in our local hospital,” began a recent post by a Campbell River man in a community Facebook group.
We usually know how that goes: someone rants about their holiday being wrecked.
But then Allan Finnbogason–who spent most of Christmas in pain from an infection, in a bed stuck in a busy hospital hallway–wrote something unexpected.
The experience “showed me there’s still love in the world … and gave me hope,” he said.
The severe staffing and bed crisis–and a jump in respiratory illness–has forced reductions in hours, occasional closures of rural B.C. emergency departments, long wait times, and just prompted B.C. to re-open special emergency services. One Island Health report, leaked to CBC, even recommends that the emergency departments in Port Hardy and Port be merged to pool staff and resources. Every few weeks, health authorities issue notices of emergency department closures “due to limited staff availability.”
But Finnbogason, a 55-year-old former construction worker living on a disability pension from a work injury, did not complain about the shortages or say that the ordeal ruined his holiday. Instead, he wrote, “Yes our medical system is broken, but it is still better than the majority around the world,” and thanked “the incredible staff at the Campbell River Hospital, every single employee and volunteer that chose to continue caring for everyone thru the pandemic and beyond.”
What prompted him to post his experience on Facebook, Finnbogason told West Coast Now in an interview, was spending weeks in the hallway watching the overworked hospital staff trying to help everyone, and listening to some patients and their visitors complain and being rude to staff. “The selfishness was what really triggered that post,” he said. “It was disgust about people showing no appreciation for the awesome staff. People have just lost sight of the good.”
Finnbogason did have one gripe though. “I didn’t get a lovely oceanview room (thanks doc, again you’re not gonna like my Tripadvisor comment for that),” he wrote in a funny spoof of tourist-site reviews.
Then he thanked what he called “the Campbell River hospital resort and spa,” and asked everyone in the community to show appreciation for healthcare workers. “Make them a meal or 3, rake their leaves, wash their car…give them kindness and love. Everyone has had a challenging few years now, but a smile can go a long way.”
Finnbogason’s Facebook post got a lot of attention.
“Thank you for this!” wrote Dawn Summerton, one of several healthcare workers who commented. “I happen to be a healthcare worker and I truly appreciate your sense of humour and your gratitude for our hard work. It is true, we are on daily but I like to think the good outweighs the bad.
And just for good measure she added: “sorry you didn’t get the room with a view maybe reserve one a few months in advance .”