My name is Crystal and I’m a Care Coordinator with Synapticure, and very gratefully so. My nursing career began in critical care working in hospital ICUs, caring for those at their most vulnerable. I liked the thoroughness of the role, the attention to detail, and the teamwork. I appreciated being present with those in such a vulnerable and often high-anxiety state. But, when the pandemic hit, and after eight years traveling around the country, I was ready to leave the hospital setting.
Soon, I found myself in an entirely new role as the Clinical Director of a small-but-mighty home health agency in San Diego County. It was there that I was given the task to provide an educational presentation to our staff of caregivers and nurses on how to care for patients living with ALS. I went to work educating myself and eventually found a delightful podcast called “I’m Dying to Tell You” by Lorri Carey. Lorri is living with ALS, and on 5/11/2020 hosted a conversation with one Brian Wallach. I was immediately impressed by him and drawn to his energy, like many of our patients and caregivers. I wouldn’t forget him.
Fast forward a couple years and it was time to leave my beloved job in California to move out of state and closer to family. I had reluctantly been coaxed back into an ICU position, but more than ever found myself disillusioned with a broken healthcare system and resources so limited in the hospital setting that it felt all odds were against us to provide the quality of care that patients deserve. I left.
Around the same time, I found myself wondering what Brian was up to and how he was doing. I put his name in the podcast search engine and found a new conversation with him and his wife Sandra discussing their newest creation – Synapticure. I immediately Googled the company and found they were hiring care coordinators. I figured it was a long shot, but why not try? I soon learned that the company is filled with incredible staff, the greater majority of which have personal and professional experience with ALS and other neurodegenerative diseases. Somehow, I convinced them to hire me, and I’ve been working in gratitude ever since.
A handful of reasons I love working at Synapticure:
- Place – It’s not the hospital. Can I get an amen? It’s our goal to keep you out of there too!
- Purpose – We are encouraged to meet the patient where they are, see what is missing from their care, do our best to meet that need, and at the very least, show them they are not alone with our actions.
- Passion – The hurdles of healthcare are inevitable, and we are not immune, but we are provided an atmosphere that encourages us to be proactive, think outside the box, defy the limits when necessary, and partner with patients and their care teams to see what we’re capable of.
- Proximity – Synapticure was designed from a patient perspective. We have a team of passionate and motivated individuals, each with their own expertise, committed to this community. And we are constantly morphing to meet our patients’ needs and requests.
- People – Getting to know the patients and their caregivers is by far my favorite part. If anyone hasn’t been introduced to this community yet – you don’t know what you’re missing. They’re incredible. The diagnosis has given them a focus, a drive for life and making an impact with their families and in the community. Ram Dass would say that facing death is like a lifting of the veil, a dissolving of boundaries, an opportunity for opening and expansion, and an impetus for conscious living. This is the way I want to live, because after all, aren’t we all in this together?
At Synapticure, I want to be yet another example of someone not directly impacted by ALS but deeply involved, and aware that this is a fight that affects all of us. Improving treatment for one will help create pathways for the others. This is everyone’s fight. This week I hope every nurse finds the passion in their work that I have found here at Synapticure. Happy Nurses Week!
"Death does not have to be treated as an enemy for you to delight in life. Keeping death in your consciousness as one of the greatest mysteries and as the moment of incredible transformation imbues this moment with added richness and energy that otherwise is used up in denial.”