Every day I witness heroes and angels within the walls of Advocate Christ. In my time here I have seen so many gifted, caring, and talented people. Whenever I think someone has raised the bar and demonstrated compassion, another angel spreads their wings and touches the heart and spirit of those in need. This particular nurse, who has been a nurse at Christ for over three decades and needs very little introduction, is Elizabeth Berls, also known as the “General.” Betty happens to be the most compassionate, caring, and loving nurse I know.
Betty has a true dedication to the ministry of nursing. She is a mentor to the novice nurses who are trying to complete their daily tasks before someone realizes they are shaking in their scrubs. She is a team player to her colleagues with years of experience who sometimes just need a helping hand, a hug, or an ear to listen. She is leader for the team when things need to get done. She is the image of Florence and the light within her gives comfort, knowledge, and sometimes tough love that cultivates and makes nurses be the best that they can be. She demonstrates such kindness and care for patients and their families that it brings joy to watch her live out her calling.
Being a patient is one of the hardest things anyone has to encounter, especially when you have been healthy most of your life. I've never had to depend on anyone as I was the one everyone called on. I was always the life of the party, and the one who made everyone feel good with all my silly jokes and words of wisdom. A few weeks ago I was admitted into the hospital in the NCCU. I had headaches, and I thought it was the stress of life and all the money I was spending on my son. I found out that I had a brain bleed and would need to stay in the ICU to have surgery. I did not have an option to go home and come back. This was a problem for me because I had plans for the weekend. This head problem was devastating because I received this diagnosis just two days before my son’s wedding. The stress of how could this be happening at this time left a pit in my stomach.
While I knew that I should be doing all that I could to relax and stay positive, and to be grateful that it was discovered, it was hurting me more to know that I could not attend my only son’s wedding. With the stress and fear of my condition and worrying about the wedding, in walks Betty. She will never understand the magnitude of my respect and love for her and nurses everywhere. Of course she provided excellent care and was compassionate, however, what she did within an hour of me being admitted to the NCCU has made me have a deeper love for the profession of nursing. Betty rallied the troops to begin investigating if it was possible for me to participate in my son’s wedding via my hospital stay. She kept saying, “we will figure something out, let me talk to my manager.” Although I would not be there physically, she worked with her management team, media, IT, the nursing staff, and many others to have the wedding skyped into my room. Betty and the team made sure my family brought my tuxedo for me to put on, in which I thought I was looking pretty sharp. Betty even put yellow socks on me and we laughed and talked about how patient safety comes first even if you’re in a tuxedo. What made it really moving was that my son and daughter in-law came to see me before the wedding and we took pictures. Now some may say it’s not good for the groom to see the bride in her wedding gown, but my children and the entire wedding party came to see me before the wedding and after. We did not have any bad luck but experienced a miracle. This could not have happened without the love and support from Betty and the entire team. Although I had known Betty for only two days, she made the most memorable event in a father’s life possible while I was in the ICU. She was my angel and I could truly see her wings. Thank you, Betty, and the entire team in the NCCU.