Another witness situation was much more intense. We were summoned to a patient's room to witness the signing of a DNR (do not resuscitate) for a patient who was being transferred to the hospice facility. GULP. A family member was signing the form, while their loved one lay nearby in the hospital bed. I'm sure there were some tough decisions being made in that room, and again, while I was happy to provide whatever miniscule help I could to them during that process, it also felt like I was invading a very private situation. It was a somber reminder to me that while we get to see a lot of happy moments downstairs in the gift shop, there's also some way more serious things going on in other parts of the hospital.
Switching gears, a lot of those happy moments involve new babies. It's so fun when family and friends of someone who is upstairs, either in labor, or who has just given birth, come into the gift shop to celebrate-shop. The joy of a new baby is contagious, and I love that I get to share it with our customers. We sell everything - pink and blue bubble gum cigars, balloons, flowers, door announcements, stuffed animals, adorable baby clothing, tiny socks...it's all so cute!
I've had many memorable customers, but my latest involves a very muscular man who came into the gift shop holding a pink-lined infant carrier. Big guy with a tiny baby...or so I thought. He walked in and turned toward our baby section, so I didn't get to see the baby. Well, that wouldn't do! I walked over to him, said hello, and looked into the carrier, only to see two cans of Vienna sausages. That's it - no baby - just food!
Anyway, he told me that this was their fourth child but first girl. He was looking for something to give her, and after answering his questions on a couple of items, I left him alone to browse. You guys. He must have spent at least 20 minutes going over everything, trying to choose just the right gift for his new baby girl. Eventually he came to the check out counter with a soft little teddy bear that was wearing a pink t-shirt with the saying "Daddy's Little Princess" on it. The sight of this giant muscle man holding this tiny teddy bear was so sweet!
(thanks to Google search, I found the exact bear)
I rang up the bear while my co-volunteer wrapped it in a bag with lots of pink tissue paper. As the man left, he said he'd bring the baby by when they left to so we could see her...which we didn't think would happen for a hot minute - let's face it, when you, as a new mom, are being discharged from the hospital, the last thing you want to do is swing by the gift shop to show some random strangers your baby - but it was sweet of him to want to do that, regardless.
I like volunteering at the hospital - it brings me back to a great time in my life, when I was a candy striper in high school. I like that I can still help people, or at least make them laugh or smile, at least for a moment. And I'm grateful that I have the free time available to spend doing this.