Years ago, I had the privilege of being an Administrator of a Home for the Aged in Ontario. It was a position, which not only held high esteem in the community but the responsibility of caring for 175 ladies and men. Indeed, it was a humble Royal calling.
So it fell to me one day to speak to a gathering of resident relatives about a health concern, which had taken place quite unexpectedly. Public Health demanded a facility such as ours be closed when any communicable sickness was taking place.
It was during my first month on the job that I faced this crowd in our main foyer to explain why the facility must be closed to the public for a period of at least three days.
Flanked by my Director of Nursing and Assistant Administrator, I began "Welcome" I said. "Except under these circumstances, I must inform you we have several cases of Rabies in our Home."
"Rabies!!" a chorus of voices roared back from the gathering of a dozen horrified visitors.
"Yes, Rabies," I replied with the most understanding voice I could muster under these trying circumstances.
Just then I felt a hard elbow jab in my side, from my Director of Nursing. "It's Scabies, not Rabies," she whispered.
"Oh excuse me," I managed to say to the on-the-verge-of fainting guests. "I meant to say Scabies."
"THANK GOODNESS!!" erupted from the mouths of sons and daughters and other loving relatives.
I remember with thankfulness the rest of our meeting went very well. Everyone seemed quite relieved it was not Rabies, something much more serious.
My staff was very gracious to me for the next few days while our Scabies incident was being eradicated. From then on, I asked our Director of Nursing to respond to further Health announcements.
* * *
Richard L. Provencher
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