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Where You're At: Hospital Volunteer And Retiree


We at KBIA have found strength in our community during the COVID-19 crisis. In our series “Where You’re At,” we’re calling our neighbors to see how they’re coping during the pandemic.

It you want to share your story, email KBIA at news@kbia.org.

Here’s Tina Tan’s call with Helen Golden, a retiree who volunteers at St. Mary’s Hospital - Audrain in Mexico.

Hello Helen, this is Tina. Hi, how are you?

I'm doing alright.

Great. So where are you at right now?

I'm at home.

So what have you been doing at home to keep yourself busy?

Well, I've been doing some word searches and I've been doing some crocheting and cleaning house and throwing things away. I mean, I get a little bit tired being inside. Cabin fever is getting bad. I go outside once in a while and sit on the back porch.

So who are you with at home?

I'm by myself. The youngest granddaughter – she’ll text me once in a while but other than my son-in-law that comes over and works out there in the garage on some stuff. They’re the only ones I've seen.

So how has your everyday life changed specifically because of the pandemic?

Well, I'm not out visiting anybody or talking and not working. I’d see a lot of people there in the gift shop when I worked up there, but just don't have that touch right now.

I heard that you've been volunteering at a local hospital for nearly 50 years.

Uh-huh. I've been at the hospital for 49 years, but I've only been volunteering since ‘84. Well, when I've gone to the hospital, I work in the gift shop, I'd go to lunch and then I'd go work at the gift shop for four hours because we have four-hour spot there that we fill. And then, of course, once a month we have a board meeting that I'm secretary for. We have different fundraisers that sometimes that go in and help with.

Do you enjoy it?

Oh, yes. Just being around the people and doing what I can to help out, raise money that we go and use for different things for the hospital.

I've heard that that has been changed recently. Why is that?

Well, because they didn't want any of the volunteers in the building that was over 60 years old. So they've said no volunteers at all. So we can't even enter the building.

Are you expecting to get back there soon? Or is it going to take a while?

I'm not sure. They said that we're still out until further notice, so I don't know when that will be.

How does that feel like, I mean, taking a long break from volunteering?

It's a little bit lonesome and stuff. Sad. Yes, just you know out with people and stuff, but I miss all the church people because we haven't had church for four weeks now.

So is there anything you're worried about specifically?

No, just hope I don't catch it. I've got too many other health issues, so I don’t want to catch anything.

So what do you think life will look like after this?

I don't know, hopefully it'll get better but it won't be back exactly normal because they're saying that there'll be another bout of this around the fall. So if it comes back around again, hopefully, they'll be more prepared.

Alright. Thank you so much for sharing, Helen. I hope you have a great day.

You too, Tina. Thank you.

Kristofor left KBIA in fall of 2021
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