From Patient to Friend
Christina Meyer, a 35-year-old stay-at-home mom of three, never thought a family outing to a roller rink could somehow lead to both trauma and triumph.
“My husband Michael was driving our Town & Country minivan on our way to the rink in Virginia,” the North Carolina resident explains. “Another driver flew through a flashing yellow light and smashed into us.”
Their three children weren’t seriously hurt, but Michael broke an arm and a leg. Christina’s spleen ruptured, four ribs broke and one lung collapsed. They were treated at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital and Sentara Nursing Center-Currituck. Michael’s recovery lingered as Christina made progress, and eight months later she wanted to reconnect with the Sentara Nursing Center-Currituck staff and residents.
“I missed my people,” she says. “I was so sedated that I don’t remember being treated in Norfolk. I was better at Currituck. The physical therapy and occupational therapy staff helped me walk again. They were great.”
Christina submitted a volunteer application, and Sentara Nursing Center-Currituck Activities Director Robert Smith approved it. Nearly a year later, he’s glad he did.
“She immediately embraced the Sentara commitments,” Robert says.
The commitment “always treat you with dignity, respect and compassion” is top of mind for Christina.
“She is so loving and caring toward everyone,” Robert continues. “She is all about making life better for our residents.”
Every Friday, Christina volunteers.
“I have a couple of residents who wait at the door for me,” she says. “I like that we have a bond.”
Her dedication to fun created the strong relationships. Sometimes Christina leads a small group of residents in painting or collage-making. Other times, she coordinates bingo or balloon volleyball.
“We roll the balloon on the table back and forth, “ Christina explains.
Whatever activity she plans, Christina supplements the action with listening.
“A lot of the residents seem to be forgotten about by their loved ones,” she says. “I like to talk with them. I usually stay longer than I’m supposed to. I’m going to keep volunteering for as long as my body will allow.”