Meet Harikrishnan (Hari) Gopalakrishnan Nair
We are Women’s Redeployed offers the WCH community a chance to get to know each other and see first-hand how we are working together during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Name: Hari Nair
Title & Department: Physiotherapist, Toronto Academic Pain Medicine Institute (TAPMI)
On the WCH team for: Two years
- What is your typical role at WCH?
My typical role involves working with TAPMI, providing individual consultations and facilitating group exercise/therapy programs for persistent/chronic pain population. One day of my work week is dedicated to the surgical unit where I help the hip and knee surgical patients.
- How are you supporting WCH during COVID-19? (e.g. where have you been redeployed?)
Currently, I have been redeployed to help at the Kensington Gardens (KG) long-term care facility. I am working as a physiotherapy assistant and I help residents stay active and mobile during COVID-19. Almost all residents in the current unit where I am deployed were isolated to their rooms and lacked the regular physical activity they might otherwise have enjoyed. My role includes, but is not limited to, getting residents to exercise, be more functional as well as provide companionship to those who miss their families and social connection due to the physical distancing measures currently in place. Prior to working at Kensington Gardens I was redeployed to help with the following:
1. Assisted in active screening and support for the hospital, as well as Epic support personnel at the COVID-19 Assessment Centre.
2. Redeployed to Occupational Health and Safety division as a PPE trainer and auditor for physicians and nurses at the Family Practice Health Centre
3. Assisted in setting up a critical care inpatient unit for medicine and essential surgery patients, helping to offload workflow and free up beds from partner sites.
4. Developed and delivered content for the virtual care model for home unit at TAPMI by creating and delivering Open Space - an interpersonal and intrapersonal self-reflection and skill development program for the PT/OT group.
- Are there any positive moments or interactions that have stood out to you during this challenging time?
Meeting new people and making new friends at the hospital and Kensington Gardens that otherwise may not have happened are big positives during these challenging times. The grit and resilience that I have witnessed at all levels, from senior management and peers, is uplifting.
As part of my current redeployment, I get to interact with residents and staff at KG, who joyfully welcomed us into their homes. It is a fulfilling experience to witness true heroics as a routine at KG. It is heartwarming to hear the residents' stories, especially when they recount how challenging the past couple of months has been and how our mere presence makes a tremendous difference to their overall wellness.
Through these difficult times, there are moments when I questioned myself what’s the whole point in striving against this crisis situation (what difference can one person make?). Yesterday, a family member of a resident (who is volunteering as a unit aide), commented that WCH has been a fantastic partner and the support we provide at KG has made all the difference between life or death in terms of quality of life. This made me realize, yet again, as healthcare providers, the purpose behind our existence of why we do what we do.
And to contribute, even in a tiny way to this larger cause, is a most humbling experience.
I am thankful for this experience and look forward to the rest of the days when the sun will shine and together we shall stand stronger and more united than ever before, as an organization and as humanity at large.
By Hari Nair
Why did we volunteer?
It was the need of the hour, and it was the job
We were sure there was help needed and we were best positioned to offer it. And when we went in to KG, we were amazed at the resilience and grit shown by everyone involved with the program. The most memorable experiences are the stories and the wisdom imparted by the incredible residents of Kensington Gardens. We went in to wanting to share our expertise and walked away thoroughly grounded and enriched for the experience. An experience that will stay with us for the rest of our lives.
The following words are in essence a takeaway from the whole experience or trying to sum up a transformational experience
What the residents of KG taught us:
They were frail of body but not of spirit
They were forgetful of names but not of wit
They made us laugh and smile
Through our masks and veil.
We learnt to talk and more often listen
Through words said and unsaid.
Their stories made our eyes moist and glisten;
With their sheer wisdom from full lives lived.
They taught us that a covered face can still shine,
And to smile through our eyes.
We were reminded that we die only but once
So we don’t have to; everyday.
We saw that loss of memory is not so heavy a burden
Lest the memories are but of regrets and angst.
They taught us we come alone and we leave alone,
Time in between is transient.
We realized that born mortal-
Pain is inevitable but suffering is optional.
We witnessed miracles
And it was routine.
We saw heroics
And it was standard practice.
We went in to help
And walked away immensely helped.
Blessed are we that we choose to serve mankind,
When mankind would rather be served.
This moment is etched in history
Not for this one person’s rhetoric;
But for the collective consciousness
That created this moment.
To my teammates and incredible directors- more friends than colleagues, peers and professional practice leaders - mentors and guides, managers and senior management, as well as every staff member who has contributed in their own way to this global cause, this moment is yours and ours.
This is the culmination of a dream I had three months ago, when everything was dark and dusky. Today we stand side by side and yes, the sun is shining.
Irrespective of what the future holds,
We shall continue to stand as one
Eyes up and our heads high
For a job well done.
Onwards and Godspeed.
Thank you, everyone.