“Life doesn’t come with a manual, it comes with a mother.”
Kim Capra is in her 34th year in diagnostic imaging (DI) at Hamilton Health Sciences’ Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre where she works as a senior X-ray technologist in general X-ray and portables. Her long tenure with HHS also includes 16 years in computed tomography (CT) and two years as a temporary charge tech in diagnostic imaging. She was eventually offered the position full-time, but decided X-ray was where she was meant to be. “I missed the patient connection,” she says.
The influence of mom
Kim’s dedication to health care played a big role in son D’Arcy’s life. “Ever since I was 6 or 7 years old, I always wanted to do X-ray like my mom,” he says. D’Arcy is in his seventh year as an X-ray technologist at HHS’ Hamilton General Hospital. He followed in his mom’s footsteps, working in both x-ray and CT until he settled permanently in CT full time. “I love the workflow. Every day is a different day.”
Kim’s daughter, Paige, is a nurse in the intensive care unit (ICU) at Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre. She’s been with HHS for two years, starting out in medical oncology and – like mom, Kim – diagnostic imaging. But unlike D’Arcy, Paige’s interest in the medical field began later in life. “When I was younger, I didn’t have an interest in health care,” says Paige. “But in high school, I did a co-op placement at Grace Villa where I worked in wound care and with patients with dementia. I loved it.”
“Working through this together”
With the Capra family working at different units in different hospital sites, each have had their own experience with the pandemic. “There’s increased demand, stress and fears among all healthcare workers – not just me,” says Kim. “There’s been an increase in portable X-ray in DI. With more occupied beds, it means more bedside requests. It’s been tough on the team, but we’re working through this together.”
The amount of cleaning DI equipment between patients has also added up. “We were already cleaning all of the equipment before,” says D’Arcy. “But with COVID, it’s only made us more conscious of how well we’re doing it. And with so many portable X-rays, we’re doing everything we can to make sure we’re following precautions. We take a lot of pride in how well we’re maintaining our cleanliness.”
Paige says that while working in the ICU is stressful, especially during this third wave, it’s the caliber of ICU staff that makes all the difference. “All staff, both regular and redeployed, have stepped up to the plate and really shown their professionalism,” she says. “We’re working under conditions we’ve never seen before. Although this is really challenging, the ICU team has been so supportive.”
Families are the compass that guides us
This Mother’s Day will be different than the last and even more so than the years before. For moms and mother-like figures who are feeling the pressures of COVID, Kim says not to lose sight of what’s most important. “The pressure is on everyone right now, especially the mental health pressures on kids. Do your best to be on top of it and hopefully you have that connection where your kids feel comfortable going to you for support.
“My support has been both my regular family and my work family. I have a wonderful husband and children. My work family has been there for me for the past 33 years. They’ve all touched my heart, especially during this past year.”
D’Arcy and Paige say their mom has been their rock. “For me, I’ve always wanted to make sure I give back,” says D’Arcy. “My mom has made so many sacrifices. Little things can mean a whole bunch. Just being there for her lets her know you’re thinking of her.”
Paige adds that despite not being a kid anymore, her mom’s support has never wavered. “She’s been my guiding light, especially over this past year with all its challenges. I found this quote that says ‘Life doesn’t come with a manual, it comes with a mother.’ And that’s how it’s been for me.”