It’s 8:30 a.m. on a warm, sunny morning in late August and Registered Practical Nurse Louise Principe is readying her red, flashing LED light at the nursing station on the CP1 Medicine unit at the General campus. It’s not the sort of device you’d expect to see in a hospital, but for the staff and patients on CP1, Louise’s red light signals the start of a very special part of their day – the What’s Up Wheezie message.
Over the last two months, Louise (a.k.a. Wheezie) has been delivering a brief news, sports, and weather report over the P.A. system on CP1.
“A lot of our patients on CP1 have longer stays and I thought this would be a great way to add something different to their day,” said Louise.
Louise produces a What’s Up Wheezie report for each shift she’s working. She searches out interesting, lighthearted news items, and – with the help of her husband – includes the top sports stories. Her broadcast always ends with a song that corresponds to one of the news items.
“For instance, one day I had a story on bees, so I played “Let it Be” by the Beatles,” explains Louise. “Another day, there was a story on tigers so I played “Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor. And on Father’s Day, I played the duet “Unforgettable” by Nat King Cole and Natalie Cole.”
Louise – who has worked at TSH for 35 years and on CP1 for the last 17 – comes in early before the start of her shift to put the finishing touches on her message.
“It’s such a bright, cheery message,” said CP1 patient Diane Ellis. “There are cute stories and music from when I was growing up.”
“I love it,” added patient Bob Morgan. “I can’t wait for it every morning she’s here.”
Although she’s retiring in February 2017, Louise is considering coming in as a volunteer to continue her What’s Up Wheezie messages.
“I’ve always loved geriatrics and I’ve learned so much from the people I’ve cared for over the years,” said Louise. “They’ve taught me everything from gardening to how to take care of my car. What’s Up Wheezie is a small way I can give back and provide our patients a positive start to their day.”