Working Through the Pandemic

Hello Sunnyside Neighbors! My name is Lorraine Henriques, and I am the Secretary to the Board of the Sunnyside Neighborhood Association. I work as a Licensed Hearing Aid Specialist for HearingLife in Southeast Portland. I love my work; helping people hear better and improving communication between my patients and their loved ones is a privilege and an honor. For as long as I have been doing this work I have never been more challenged than I have been through this pandemic – to keep myself, my family and my patients safe is a serious responsibility I do not take lightly. I’d like to share with you some of the silver linings I have experienced in these challenging times.

I found out in late March I was the only Hearing Healthcare Provider who was seeing patients in Portland. I was very busy, but at the end of each day, I felt like I had played a part in relieving some of the stress people experienced.

My patients were grateful I was able to come to their vehicles and do “curbside” service on their hearing aids, dispense supplies or anything they needed. For those who ventured in, they found shields, barriers, spaced seating, and other precautions in place. But the enthusiasm for our services came front and center; people who had been resistant to getting help for their hearing realized how much they had been missing and how vital staying connected was for their happiness. Hearing is what keeps us truly connected to others. When those who have hearing loss cannot hear properly, they are truly isolated and cut off from their loved ones. The joy in a patient’s face when I give them their hearing aids back after service performed is priceless. The thanks I received from patients who heard well for the first time in many years was balm for my soul. People expressed appreciation that I was at work, and could help them.

To all the essential healthcare workers out there who worked through the pandemic, I am sure you feel how much you are needed and appreciated. I never realized quite how much I was needed or how “essential” my services were until this pandemic hit. It has brought a renewed sense of purpose to my profession. When we are all faced with fear and uncertainty, it is so healing to remember we are so important to one another, and we need to stay connected to one another. I’d love to hear your stories if you’d like to share them with me at [email protected]. Stay safe and well!

Lorraine Henriques