Pamela GradyManager of Emergency and Patient Flow - PRHC
Pam's Story :
From my earliest memory I wanted to be a nurse. I cared deeply for people and almost as deeply for animals of all kinds. I guess overall you could say that I just cared; about everything, a lot. I grew up on a beef farm in Ennismore surrounded by a wonderful extended family, and many animals. I felt more. I felt more emotionally, physically and spiritually; I felt more (or at least it seemed to me) than my friends growing up. When I reflect now as an adult, I can honestly say it was in my DNA to just care.
In June of 1988 I graduated from Fleming College with my Registered Nursing Diploma. I was ready to take on the world and, in some regards, save it. After experimenting with working on a few different nursing units, I settled into the Emergency Department. To say I loved my job was an understatement. I learned so much every day; a vertical learning curve for a young nurse. To be able to share in the worst moments of someone’s life was both an honor and a privilege and those experiences no doubt helped shape me into the woman I am today.
My nursing career progressed in the Emergency Department; weeks turned into years and many patients and their stories, good and bad, wormed their way into my heart; I was branded by them,
imprinted and forever changed. Some of the families and their losses never left me, and I continue to be impacted by them to this day but one day I shard an experience with a family that forever changed me.
It was a warm May evening, the kind of spring evening when the frogs start peeping early in the evening and their croaks increase with intensity as night falls. I was working the three to eleven shift and it was a typical busy shift in the Emergency Department. That was all about to change when the paramedics called to advise us, they were bringing in little girl who had been hit by a car. All hands were on deck and we prepared for the arrival of this Trauma.
When this little blond-haired angel arrived doctors and nurses were waiting for her. They tried so hard to save this little muffin. I was assigned to the family; to bring them to the trauma room to explain what medical staff were doing, to provide an update and support them as much as humanly possible. The emotional pain felt physical and was branded in my heart forever. This family left the ER that nightwithout their beautiful daughter.
Last spring 2018 I was telling my aging father about some of the patients that have stuck with me forever; imprinted in my heart and life. I was telling him the story about the sweet little girl who was
killed on May 2, 1995 while she collected tad polls in a pond by the roadside for her kindergarten “show and tell”. We continued to ponder life and the unknown grand plan for Gods children and when I was leaving, while putting on my boots, (which were placed on an open newspaper as a means to collect the unwanted leftovers from a trip to the barn, a practice passed down from my mother and maintained by my father) I noticed a familiar face on the newspaper below my feet which was open to the “in Remembrance” section.
The year on the paper was 2017. Somehow, she found me, a year after the memorial was published by her family. Somehow on this day when I was remembering her so fondly, sharing her story, she found me. There was the sweet innocent faced girl staring up at me from the newspaper below; the girl who never got to show her tad polls to the rest of her class so many years ago.
I reached down for the newspaper I was standing on and carefully tore her sweet picture out. I had the strangest feeling that she had wanted me to remember her, that she was letting me know she was close by, and this was her way of passing that message along.
She now resides ever present on my fridge and I say hello to her every morning. I was blessed to be part of her story as sad as it was. I was honored to be with her family and she will forever be part of my family, smiling softly on my fridge.