“I am a Specialty Charge Nurse of ENT and Maxillofacial service in South Tower Surgery at Swedish First Hill. I have been at Swedish for 19 years. I grew up in a country where healthcare is only for the privileged…insurance is a rare word. There’s a pinch in my heart to see patients and families tell stories of having their properties pawned to loan sharks because the only way to get access to care is to dole out cash in a bag-it doesn’t matter how much pain you have, how big and visible your tumor is. Pay up first. It was that unspeakable poverty, it was that deprivation, that inequality, that I was exposed to as a young student nurse. I never wavered in my hope to help out in my own way, someday.”
“Going back to Addis was exhilarating because then I could go back to my old tactics of getting by with bare bone minimum. I get to be at the height of my resourcefulness and patience. Whether it is good for spirituality or emotionally, it satisfies a hunger and the self actualization of my hopes to give back in my ordinary way. Perhaps, it is a way that I can look back to my humble beginnings. The other reason is, although too often used, is the fact that I help people who’s common denominator is humanity. The universal smile in whatever nationality, the handshake and look of relief, although temporary, is very self and soul fulfilling.”
Thank you, Vangie, for sharing your story. SAO is strong because of people like you, willing to share your time and talents. We are very grateful.