Altru Moment: Better than Bobby Pins

Betty Mock didn’t have time to deal with a collapsed lung. Her husband of 28 years, George, was returning from a six-month deployment in Iraq, her daughter was graduating high school the following weekend, and she was preparing to leave for a family reunion in Kansas. But, she listened to her body when it told her something was wrong.

After an ambulance ride to the emergency room in Langdon and then a transfer to Altru in Grand Forks, Betty was shaken. “It was hard to deal with,” she said. “All I kept thinking of was my husband coming home, and here I was in the hospital. I didn’t want him to see me this way. It would be the first time I wouldn’t meet him at the airport.”

Wanting to freshen her appearance for George, she asked a nurse on 3 West if she could find some bobby pins. “The nurse came in and said, ‘I found something better than bobby pins. I found Elizabeth,’” recalled Betty.

Elizabeth Washington, a patient care technician, delivers spa services to patients needing a pick-me-up. Free of charge, services range from makeup applications and nail painting to washing and drying hair.

“Working with patients like Betty really makes me feel like I am making a difference in their care,” said Elizabeth.

“Before Elizabeth came in, I was shaky and crying,” said Betty. “When she was done, I felt relaxed and calm. I felt like George was going to see his wife, not just a patient in the hospital.” Betty had her hair washed and dried, makeup applied, nails painted, and legs shaved.

When George walked in the door after being deployed for six months, he told Betty she looked beautiful.

“I felt better than myself when Elizabeth was done,” said Betty. “She made me feel like I was somebody again, and you deserve to feel good about yourself even when you’re in the hospital. She changed my attitude and how I was feeling. It made a huge difference in the rest of my stay.”

“Elizabeth brought the feeling of being pampered at a spa right into my hospital room,” Betty continued. “If this service can make people feel this good, it’s a good service to keep around. The nurses and doctors were all helpful and nice, but Elizabeth and her spa services were wonderful.”

Watch Betty tell her story in her own words:

Sometimes it’s the little things that make the greatest impact. When you’re feeling under the weather, what makes you feel better? 

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