Refresh Flowers SG X KKH Children’s Emergency
Several months ago, my good friends, Beks & Cheryl, first told me about Refresh Flowers. They repurpose wedding flowers for those in hospices. Consequently, beautiful blooms that would otherwise have been thrown out after festivities bring joy to those who need it. Livia, the founder, and I mulled over how best to collaborate.
Livia understood that I have been pushing strongly for junior doctors to bond over activities other than work. Our work in the front line puts us at risk of Melancholy & The Infinite Sadness. Often patients and their caregivers are upset before they even enter the consultation room. The long waiting time can add to the tension, regardless of the Presenting Complaint. As a result, our junior doctors & supporting staff (eg nurses) are exposed to abuse. Hence I wanted them to feel appreciated.
Floral Therapy For The Weary Physician
Eventually, we decided to involve the doctors in creating bouquets for patients, with extra flowers to be gifted to the hospital staff. And so today, on a rainy Sunday afternoon, the Children’s Emergency was transformed into a floral jamming session. The junior doctors were invited to participate because floral arrangement is therapeutic. In fact, the moment Livia and her volunteers from Refresh Flowers laid out the salvaged roses, carnations & anthuriums, we all felt a sense of excitement. The flowers were in such pretty hues!
A Good Start
First we began with a round of introductions. Livia & her volunteers shared what brought them to this session as did the junior doctors. Dr Amanda, one of our paediatric residents, shared about the ward whose patients we would be gifting the flowers to. Then, Livia showed us how to make a little bouquet to be laid on the patient’s bedside tables. Our target was to make enough bouquets for the entire wardful of patients.
After sorting the flowers by type and colour, we tidied the stems and sliced the thorns off. Some of flowers were slightly bruised but once we removed the outer petals they looked perfect. Whenever we had problems the more experienced volunteers helped us. Livia guided us along so that we managed to make our target in time. Later, she kindly spent time with the junior doctors, teaching them how to wrap a bouquet to bring home. They were delighted and some planned to give them to their families.
The Big Finish
We were fortunate enough to have plenty of flowers left over. Hence while the team of Refresh Flowers volunteers went to distribute bouquets & balloons to the patients upstairs, led by Drs Amanda & Katrina, I stayed back.
Refresh Flowers For Our Wonderful Nurses
Dr Shiela & I then carted a boxful of flowers around the department to give to the nurses. It was quite challenging looking for them all, as they were working hard at different assignments all over the deparment. In fact, we appreciated them even more for the various ways in which they support us.
Refresh Flowers For Allied Health Workers
Our delivery team was increased by 50% when Dr Luna joined us in giving flowers out to staff who supported us, such as pharmacists, clerks & radiographers. We felt like Santa Claus, busting into the pharmacy & X-Ray room bearing gifts. In fact, one of the pharmacists was celebrating her birthday today. Her face lit up when we showered her with more flowers.
Refresh Flowers For Our Tired Doctors
Incredibly, there were heaps of flowers left over. It felt like the magic porridge pot from the Ladybird Book series. Hence Dr Charlotte & I went around giving those out to the junior doctors who were on shift & couldn’t join our activity. It was awesome to see the smiles on their faces, even though the remaining posies were quite humble.
Happily Ever After
Finally, with our remaining flowers, we gave them to the patients who happened to be near us in the waiting room. At first I was worried about their reaction. They looked quite upset sitting in the waiting room. What if they asked why doctors were busy giving out flowers instead of attending to their kids? It would be awkward even if I explained we were doing this on our personal time. Nonetheless, I was completely wrong about it and they were so happy to receive our simple gifts. The children’s faces shone and the parents thanked us profusely. What a magical transformation these flowers brought about. In just one afternoon, the team from Refresh Flowers brought joy to the entire department.
And that’s how flowers refreshed our Sunday, and quite possibly our spirits.