Thursday, July 22, 2021

Lending a helping hand

Haley-Jane wrapped in a blanket provided by paramedic Marilee Morrison Haley-Jane wrapped in a blanket provided by paramedic Marilee Morrison

A more than 12-hour stay at an Emergency Room is tough, add in a sick seven-month-old daughter and it’s not how anyone would want to spend a day.
Tired, worried and exhausted are words that come to mind.
However, Kay LeBlanc managed to find a silver-lining to her recent visit to the Dr. Everett Chalmers Hospital in Fredericton: the hard work, dedication and compassion of the staff – particularly one paramedic named Marilee Morrison.
Around 7 a.m. in the morning – after arriving the day before at 6 p.m. – she was waiting in the back hallway of the ER when a pair of paramedics entered.
“My partner, Dennis Boyce, and I were in ‘offload delay,’ waiting for a bed to transfer our patient into,” said Morrison. “Dennis was the primary attendant to our patient, so I was just sitting there beside him.”
Sitting a few seats away, Morrison noticed LeBlanc and her infant daughter Haley-Jane and began talking with them. She was surprised at their good spirits despite the wait.
“The baby had a smile on her face and the mother was filled with love for her,” Morrison said. “It was nice to see. Usually, people are grumpy and exhausted after waiting so long.”
She did notice the little one was down to her diaper. The reason was despite bringing extra clothes, the baby had thrown up four times meaning LeBlanc had no more outfits for her.
“I was waiting for my husband to deliver another one. MARILEE WENT ABOVE AND BEYOND!!,” LeBlanc wrote in a Facebook post about her interaction with Morrison.
It started with Morrison getting a warm blanket for Haley-Jane. After another throw up, Morrison went and got cloths to help clean her up. When the new set of clothes arrived, she continued to help.
“Later I noticed her struggling to dress her baby, as there wasn't really any place to lay her down and she seemed to have her hands full, so I came over to lend a hand,” Morrison said.
Next, she asked LeBlanc if Haley-Jane was teething and got a damp cloth for her to chew on to try and alleviate the teething pain. She also got a sandwich and some water for LeBlanc.
“The whole time we were sitting in that hallway she kept my daughter smiling. Marilee I hope you see this post and know how greatly appreciative my family is for you,” LeBlanc wrote. “You are one of a kind!”
For her part Morrison doesn’t think she did anything special.
“They seemed like a nice little family and I was just trying to make things a little easier for them,” Morrison said. “When you are in offload delay as often as we are, you look for things to do and ways to help. It keeps you occupied and hopefully helps someone in some way. I think any one of my colleagues would do the same. In fact, I've witnessed it.”
As for the Facebook post, it’s been viewed more than 1,700 times and generated 190 comments. Morrison wasn’t even aware of the online outpouring for her work until after her shift.
“I remember I was sitting in the Walmart parking lot trying to read though all of the things people had commented,” Morrison said. “It was very overwhelming. The post had kind of snowballed into other people sharing their positive experiences with my colleagues and different stories of how their lives were saved or changed.
“I couldn't believe it and before I knew it, I was holding back tears. I read every single comment I could find.”