A story fit for a Queen

briar boyceUncategorized

It’s Our Hospital
Briar Boyce, Senior Development Officer, PECMH Foundation

In honour of National Nursing Week, we want to express our sincere thanks to the incredible nurses we work with at Prince Edward County Memorial Hospital. We often hear stories about the wonderful care they provide to our patients. Today, I want to tell you a story of how one nurse went above and beyond for my family.

My office is an eccentric place. Colourful unicorns with inspirational messages adorn the walls and there are fun things to look at. Directly to the right of the unicorns is a more sophisticated display – a letter from Buckingham Palace. Turns out, the letter on the wall is more than just a note from the Queen, it’s a nod to my grandmother.

June 27, 2017.

The day started out like any other. The Foundation had finished up its June events. Things were quieter as we looked forward to summer.

The quietness was soon broken when Anita Young, a registered practical nurse in the PECMH Emergency Department appeared in the Foundations’ doorway, short of breath and in a hurry. My 91-year-old grandmother had just been brought by ambulance to PECMH and things didn’t look good.

My grandmother’s health had been failing for months. In and out of the hospital, we knew her time with us was coming to an end.

Anita and I ran into Emerge. My grandma was being offloaded from the ambulance and was wearing an oxygen mask. Muffled through the mask she said to me, “hi, honey”. Those were her last words.

She was wheeled into room 5 and my dad soon arrived. He and I sat beside my grandma and I held her hand as she closed her eyes and took her last breath. It was fast and peaceful. Anita was there to wrap my grandma with a warm blanket. She had tears in her eyes, too.

The quiet returned. My dad and I sat until other family members arrived. Anita, Dr. Josh Colby and Nancey Lough, RN, kept checking in on us. I remember thinking, how grateful I was to work at PECMH. My grandma wasn’t alone. She was among family. She was surrounded by my amazing, compassionate co-workers, who are an extension of my family. PECMH was where I held my grandma’s hand for the last time.

A few days later I received a fancy envelope from Buckingham Palace. My grandma enjoyed following the Royal family. Writing to the Queen had been on my bucket list. I finally got around to penning that letter (which was about growing up in Wellington and our mutual affinity for hats) that May.

When I opened the letter, it was dated 27th June 2017. The day my grandma died. Part of the reason I wrote that letter was for her. She would have gotten a real charge out of it. It’s why I display it proudly in my office – it reminds me of her.

Every donor has a reason for giving. Every patient has a story to tell. This story is about the exceptional care my grandma received at our County hospital during her last moments with us. I am sharing this story to inspire others to step forward to share theirs with us.

I felt vulnerable writing this. But sharing stories about positive care experiences in our hospital with our highly-skilled and dedicated staff and caring volunteers is a great way to encourage others to talk about their health care journey.

When more people share their stories, it helps more than you might realize or ever know.

What’s your story?

For information about our hospital, or to make a donation call 613 476 1008 ext. 4502, or visit the Foundation’s website at www.pecmhf.ca


Briar and her grandma, Vera Boyce, pose for a photo.