I was one of the first people to volunteer to be redeployed. I’m a neurophysiology technologist, and having the experience of working through SARS, I knew my department was going to be redeployed in some form or another, so I volunteered right away.
I had a placement watching over patients having dialysis and then as a team leader for the hospital entrance screeners. Unfortunately, I threw out my back and the team leader position became too hard on my body. So I was redeployed once more, this time to support the virtual patient and family visits.
I thought it was a perfect fit for me knowing that my dad – not my biological dad, but the person I consider my dad – had died of COVID-19. He was a Catholic priest who raised me and many others. I was born in Nicaragua and I met him when I was in my early 20s. I had been getting into trouble when I was a teenager. Someone introduced me to this priest and he just stuck around and became this father figure helping to guide and advise me. I partly owe who I am to him.
He would spend half the year here in Canada and then the other half of the year in Columbia doing missionary work. He was in Columbia when he was diagnosed with COVID-19 and passed away.
I knew my department was going to be redeployed in some form or another, so I volunteered right away.
When the opportunity to support virtual visiting came along, it became a very important job to me. I wasn’t able to say goodbye to my dad before he died, but I could give that virtual communication piece to patients and families.
I did it for five weeks and in that time you get to know who your regular patients are. They’re also looking forward to seeing you. It gave me joy to set up the video calls for patients and their families. I felt really honoured to be able to help with this service.
Freddy Paiz is a neurophysiology technologist in the Mobility Program at St. Michael’s Hospital.
As told to Danielle Pereira. Photos by Yuri Markarov. This interview has been edited and condensed.