. . . the little lady who cleans one of the wards I go on each day at work. She has been doing her job for about thirty years and she is retiring soon. Keeping the wards clean can be a strenuous task and she looks weary. Very weary. She walks with a bit of a limp and she stops work sometimes to lean on her mop and catch her breath. She has no children and she lost her husband a few years ago. That’s really all I know about her.
She is kind and jolly to the patients. She makes touching little gestures like placing their Get Well cards and family photographs where they can see them. Or placing their water jugs and tissue boxes within their reach (some nurses place the patients amenities on the bed trolley and then forget to move the trolley up to the bed which is really kind of useless for patients who aren’t very mobile). She chats with them while she cleans around their bed area. She even softly chats to the semi-conscious patients telling them what she is doing as she’s working . . . I’ll just pop this towel on the rail for you love . . . I’m just going to clean under that chair . . . it’s warming. She senses that although the patients are unable to respond, a quiet human voice is comforting for them.
Often the healthcare staff walk over her freshly mopped floor but she never complains. It can’t really be helped. We have to get to the patient. But I always apologise . . . I’m so sorry sweetie – I’m walking all over your hard work . . . she just says . . . eeh lass, don’t apologise. You ‘ave to get your work done too. Bless her. I yell at my kids for doing this on my gleaming but wet kitchen floor.
She is lovely. Every time I see her, I want to put my arm around her, kiss her cheek, sit her down and make her a nice cup of tea.
I hope she has a long, happy and restful retirement.