This is my true story of compassion that I have experienced six years ago while working for HPCA in the capacity of a palliative care development officer in the North West province.

I was scheduled for surgery which was supposed to only take me away from my job for at the most ten days. But God’s plans are not ours and I ended up being away from “active” duty for almost 10 months after serious surgical complications.

It was during that time of illness and recovery that I experienced the meaning of the word compassion from the managers and my colleagues at HPCA. This all started in the month of October when contracts are usually renewed. My contract was renewed in spite of the fact that I was unable to perform, with willing colleagues just taking over and attended to the mentoring needs of the member hospices for which I was responsible.

We all know that patient care is not just taking care of the physical needs, but that emotional, spiritual, and social needs are equally important. While the hospital staff took care of my physical needs in an effective way, my palliative care colleagues took care of my other needs in kindness and generosity. They kept me informed, washed my hair, deposited air time to my husband’s phone, prayed with me and for me, attended to a small bedsore on my ear, sat with me on Christmas day and New year, told me jokes, cried with me, and supported my husband and family. I received flowers, cards, messages and above all, love.

It is six years later, and the compassion is ongoing. Concerned colleagues still hold my hand and feel with me when I go for check-ups. Compassion is love in action and I will always be grateful for my HPCA family who knows the meaning of the word.

Nelia Drenth

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