Registered Nurse, Emergency Department, Victoria General Hospital; bookworm, optimist, sister, daughter, wife, mother, human
Both of my parents are doctors, and I always thought I wanted to be a doctor, too. But when I went into biology right out of high school, I didn’t like the program. So, I came back home to Penticton for a few years. I’m the oldest of nine siblings, and we grew up on a vineyard, so it wasn’t a bad place to come home to for a little while.
But then my ten-year-old brother, Bruce—the seventh sibling—was in an ATV accident. It flipped on top of his head. I had been napping because I was working two jobs. One of the younger kids came into my room and said Bruce got hurt, but I just pictured the ATV landing on his arm or something. I still feel guilty that I didn’t respond until my mom came rushing into the house and asked where the keys were. They didn’t think he would last long enough for the ambulance to get there.
I’ll never get the image out of my head: Bruce in my dad’s arms, and trail of kids running down the driveway, trying to flag down the ambulance. We actually thought he was going to die at the scene.
Bruce had to be airlifted to BC Children’s Hospital. I just naively thought he would be home in a week. A neurologist told us he would wake up, but didn’t know what condition he would be in. He was in a coma for six weeks. One eye was injured, but the eye that was open—it was like there was no one home behind it.
But, eventually, Bruce started talking and he slowly came back to us. He had to relearn everything—how to eat, how to talk. But he finished high school and now he’s a volunteer firefighter with the Naramata Fire Department. Ten years later, he’s this really great, really cool guy.
Growing up, I didn’t know much about nursing. But when I saw the pediatric intensive care nurses taking care of Bruce, I was just blown away by how intelligent and capable they were, and I thought maybe this was something I would like doing. I stayed home for a year to help with Bruce because he was still so sick. A year after the accident, I decided to apply to nursing school.
“I’ll never get the image out of my head: Bruce in my dad’s arms, and trail of kids running down the driveway, trying to flag down the ambulance.”
“Even though there were a lot of kids, I always felt loved. Mom would quiz me on my multiplication tables in the car, and we’d have dance parties in the living room and crowd surf the smallest kids above us.”
My mom is the best mom. She a really interesting mix of being incredibly organized and hardworking, but also relaxed, funny, and loving. She’s really brilliant. She got into medical school before she even finished her honours biochemistry degree. She was the youngest in her medical school class, and my dad was the oldest. He was eight years older, and that’s where they met.
My mom loves candy and Naramata was 15 minutes away. When we were kids, she’d randomly say, “Let’s go on a Naramata fun run!” And all nine of us would pile into the van and we could each get $2 worth of candy. Even though there were a lot of kids, I always felt loved. Mom would quiz me on my multiplication tables in the car, and we’d have dance parties in the living room and crowd surf the smallest kids above us. Even after my brother was hurt, we still tried to have lots of laughs.
I always tell my mom that she has an endless capacity for love. She’s always trying to take other people under her wing. Unfortunately, my dad passed away from ALS in November 2021, so she’s kind of had to shoulder everything. But it hasn’t stopped her from trying to be there for others. She’s the kind of mom I aspire to be.
My dad was very loved by everyone, and after he passed, many people came forward and said how respected he was. When the pandemic first started and things were shutting down, he went to Denny’s and ordered scrambled eggs for takeout, and he gave the waitress a $20 tip. He said he thought they probably weren’t making any tips and maybe they needed a little something. That’s just the kind of person he was.
I think being human is acting like my mom and dad and caring for people and treating others well—and that’s why I love being a nurse. Growing up with parents who are doctors and seeing them give their long-time patients compassionate care—I don’t know if I could be fulfilled by another job where I’m not interacting with and helping people. I think I was just meant to work in healthcare. Even if I won the lottery, I don’t think I would be able to stop doing this.
My husband is the complete opposite of me. I grew up out in the country on a vineyard, and he grew up in the inner city of Toronto. He’s this big city guy. He’s the youngest; I’m the oldest. I’m very passionate, and my husband is very calm—he just balances me out. We met when I was in university in Edmonton. He was in the infantry, and we got married a few months after I graduated. He wanted to get into marine engineering, so we moved to Sooke in 2019—a few months after our son, Enoch, was born.
When we started dating, I told him I’d have no less than four children. Now, Enoch is four and a half, and we also have Rosie—she’s 20 months old. Enoch is very funny, a bit bossy, busy, and doesn’t like change. Rosie, on the other hand, is messy, easygoing (but fierce at times!), and very artsy. She’s like my sister Rose, who she’s named after. I’m looking forward to seeing what our next babies are like.
It’s just been me and the kids for the last few months while my husband has been deployed. When he’s gone, I take one day of the week and send the kids to daycare so that I can have a day to myself—or at least half a day. I just love having a nice day nap, and then I’ll have some tea and read. I’d always loved reading. I couldn’t tell you how many books I’ve read—maybe 5-10,000. When my husband is home, after the kids go to bed, we’ll chat for a while and then watch some shows together. My favorites are reality shows, which he’ll grumble about but then he gets really into them.
Growing up, I always felt like my mom’s right-hand woman. Now that I have my own family, I think of her parenting style and try to emulate it. I try to make my children feel very loved, supported, and celebrated, all while having a lot of fun and laughs. The other day, my son said, “Mom, you’re the funnest mom in the world.” That really made me feel good. He has already told me that he wants to be a nurse too, “so we can go to work together every day.”
I just want my kids to be happy, and to grow up to be good people. I think they will.
“Now that I have my own family, I think of her parenting style and try to emulate it. I try to make my children feel very loved, supported, and celebrated, all while having a lot of fun and laughs.”
They are humans first, who put other humans first.
More than 7,900 caregivers and staff work around the clock at Royal Jubilee, Victoria General, and Gorge Road hospitals.
#HumansFirst is dedicated to sharing the stories from behind our hospitals’ frontlines. These stories remind us that those who provide care and keep the lights on in our hospitals also have lives outside of them. They have family and friends, they enjoy hobbies and interests, and they have all lived through their own personal triumphs and heartbreaks. Like all of us, they are human, and they have a story to tell.