Wheelchair in hallway

Behind the Lines
Story 139

By Scott Nariyoshi

In 2021, after 33 years in healthcare, I became a full-time patient rather than a full-time professional. Confined to a hospital bed for months, my relatively uneventful life became a series of life-altering episodes – ones that allowed me to see behind the scenes of the industry I have supported for my entire career.

In January, I broke my right leg in a motorcycle accident. A few weeks later, I began chemotherapy for lymphoma. Due to my compromised immune system, I developed a major infection from the system to set my leg and fell at home. Over the next three months, my routine became a blur of chemo, surgeries, wheelchairs, and X-rays.

During this time, the demands of my health and recovery took me to three different hospitals. But the one that I reflect on warmly is Dameron Hospital. I remember it fondly not because of the technology, the facilities, or the lifesaving drugs, but the people.

Scott Nariyoshi
Scott Nariyoshi

When I first joined Adventist Health in 2020 as a communications professional, our mission statement – “inspiring health, wholeness and hope” – sounded like a fantastic brand. Through my experiences, I’ve come to realize that it’s not only aspirational; it authentically describes what we stand for and deliver every single day as an organization.

As I passed the days in a hospital room under COVID-19 visitation restrictions, the sense of isolation and vulnerability I experienced was oppressive. Daily interactions with my caregivers took on a larger-than-life meaning because they reminded me of my significance: I was worthy of their attention and compassion. Whether they realized it or not, those little snippets of conversations, smiles, and kind words brought me joy at a depth that is difficult to describe.

Some moments loom larger in my memory than others. One was when the staff encircled me in prayer. Another was when a nurse went to her car to bring me nail clippers for my fingernails, long overdue for a trim after two months of hospitalization. This same nurse once brought me a Spam musubi after we discussed the sentimental value of this dish from my home state of Hawaii.

Healthcare is a special and interesting place to work, and my experiences in 2021 added color to my perspective on the remarkable people who serve in it. In my time of need, the professionals I depended on were shining beacons of hope, charity, and love. I have a newfound respect for caregivers and their power to heal body, mind, and spirit in so many ways.