More than Just Flowers

Mar 20, 2019

For Citizens Baptist patient Jennifer Robinson of Talladega, a smile and a brief chat go a long way. Jennifer found that and more when a smiling face dropped by her room with a pleasant surprise.

Jennifer with a flower“We started delivering these flowers (made from a felt-like material) to our patients and it just totally changes the atmosphere,” said Brandi Green, who oversees the gift shop and volunteers at Citizens Baptist. “Every time I deliver one, the patient just lights up and smiles.”

And, Jennifer is one of those patients.

Over the past year, Jennifer has been in and out of the hospital battling several different health issues from heart troubles to clotting in her lungs.

“Just looking at Ms. Brandi come in with that smile on her face, just makes me feel better,” she said with a smile. “She will listen to you if you need to chat. I bet one time she stayed in here with me for 15 minutes.”

But, for Brandi, she didn’t mind. She told Jennifer, “That’s okay, it’s whatever you need.”

Jennifer said she was so grateful for her team of doctors which include Dr. Karl Hofamman, orthopedic physician, Dr. Saema Mirza, cardiologist and Dr. Ryan Kissane, general medicine.

Battling Congestive Heart Failure, Factor 5 Clotting Disorder and Diabetes, Jennifer has definitely had to put up a fight for her health. She said she is grateful for the care she is receiving at Citizens and despite being on specialized diets, she had great things to say about the food.

“From the nursing staff to the housekeepers, this staff goes the extra mile. They are thorough and the food is wonderful. I am on a cardiac diet and all other types of diets, but they know how to prepare a good meal,” Jennifer said.

This new initiative by Citizens Baptist is funded by the volunteers at the hospital. Throughout the year, the volunteers hold different fundraisers such as the Uniform Sale and the $5 Jewelry sale that help to fund projects like these.

Jennifer and Brandi’s friendship isn’t only connected through patient visits and flowers, but Brandi’s husband Jason had a bout with AFIB recently and he landed in the care of cardiologist Dr. Saema Mirza, who also cares for Jennifer.

“I don’t know if people realize we have doctors who work at this hospital, who also work in Birmingham. When my husband went to the ER, I knew there was no sense in transferring him, we have the best doctors right here,” Brandi said.

AFIB is a condition where a person’s heart is out of rhythm and it caused some tightness in Jason’s chest and when he presented himself at the ER with chest pain, Brandi was able to see the Citizens team in action. This time from the other point of view.

“An alert went off and everyone came to his attention. Everyone knew what to do and gave him the best care. I said to myself, ‘I knew yall were good, but I have never seen yall in action like that’,” she said with a smile.

During Jennifer and Brandi’s chat, Jennifer was glad to know that Brandi’s husband was doing better and was back at work.

While the flowers were the physical gift, it’s obvious it was just the spark to something bigger – their friendship.

“It really sets them apart that they care enough to do this for patients. Sending flowers is so expensive for a family to do when their loved one is in the hospital, but with these I still get to receive flowers – just in another way,” she said. “I even have one orange and one blue, so that means I can represent for Auburn!”