I love being a Blue Lady!
Dorothy Brown has been volunteering with the ‘Blue Ladies and Men’ for an amazing 25 years this May. Her efforts began in the old Orange Base Hospital and she is now the longest serving member in the group.
“I moved back to Orange from Sydney and I thought to myself I have to do something. I saw an ad for the Blue Ladies in the paper and I came along with a friend (we were friends for many, many years) and that’s how it all began, we both started on the same day,” Dorothy explained.
The Blue Ladies and Men help patients and nurses by arranging flowers, washing clothes, shopping for patient needs, posting any letters that need to be posted and creating cannulation packages- basically the team are there to make life easier for both patients and nurses. They work in many different areas of the health service including; Intensive Care, Coronary Care, Dialysis and Respite Care.
“Back then we did a lot of what we do today, although we had to take patients’ washing home to our own homes and wash them, now we have washing machines and dryers on site. We have more to do here than we did at the old hospital…more responsibility which is great, we have a swipe that will get us into certain areas which we didn’t have before. We used to wear a smock at the old hospital and now we have aprons which are much more comfortable.”
When I asked Dorothy why she volunteers her answer was simple, “I enjoy it…I enjoy coming here, meeting people and helping people, and look at my friends *points to volunteers* how could you resist. Over 25 years, I’ve made some nice friends. Just recently I could not find my car keys, I said to the girls ‘I’ve lost them,’ I looked in my bag three times, emptied everything out and they weren’t there. When Jenny went out there my keys were still in the door of the car, so we had to call off the search, they look after me out here and at my age, it’s nice to have someone looking after you,” Dorothy laughed.
The Blue Ladies and Men’s 50th Anniversary is coming up in June, a group that started out with 15 members in candy-striped smocks (a familiar sight around the hospital), to now boasting 36 volunteers, and always looking for more. “Do it, volunteer- you’ll enjoy it, you get a lot of satisfaction out of doing it. I volunteer at a lot of other places (Orange Civic Theatre, Choir Member and Anglican Women’s Association) and this one I really look forward to coming to,” Dorothy said. “If I wasn’t out volunteering my time I would be bored to snores- as they say. You go home, and you think, I’ve done all of those things, that was a great day.”