Day 204 - Chantalle

Day 204 - Chantalle (2nd person I approached)
July 23, 2014 - Today was a nesting kind of day. Sometimes, when I’m either busy with life’s chores and maintenance, or just feel like retreating, I’ll hit up a busy food court or coffee shop in the lunch hour. It’s easier to find someone on a break from work, hoping they’ll chat with me over their meal.


Chantalle was eating her lunch and reading a book. She also looked very comfortable as she sat with her shoes off and her legs crossed in a yoga-like position. She was running out of time and we determined that if we could chat for five minutes, it would work for both of us. And go!


Born in Kelowna, in the interior of British Columbia (BC), Chantalle is the middle child of three. She has an older brother and younger sister.

“The only kind of middle child thing I was aware of was I always got the hand-me-downs. My little sister seemed to get away with more, but otherwise, it was okay. We’re a close family that have always been involved in sports. Growing up my sister and I played field hockey. She went further with it than I did, getting a scholarship to go to university. I played on school teams. It wasn’t so much the sticks I was afraid of, it was the ball. It’s as hard as concrete and that flying right at, it can really hurt!” she said, from what sounded like personal experience.


After high school, Chantalle went to university in Kamloops, which is  about two hours away from Kelowna.

“I studied Respiratory Therapy. I wanted to do that because once you qualify, you go directly into the field. I work in Intensive Care, the operating room or Emergency Room situations. With nursing, you go to university to become a nurse and then take more schooling to specialize further down the road. I wanted to go right into it,” she said. A Respiratory Therapist is an advanced-practice clinician in airway management. They establish and maintain the airway during management of trauma or intensive care. Realizing that Chantalle likely manages some traumatic scenes, I asked how she knew she would be okay with what she sees.

“You don’t really know until you go into it. The first time I saw blood in an intense situation, I was fascinated with it,” she said.

“I really love what I do.” We agreed that it seems to take a certain, unique type of person to be able to cope with what she see’s on a regular basis.

“I came to Vancouver for my practicum and then got a job at the hospital, so I stayed here,” Chantalle said. She’s been working at the hospital for the last seven years, and enjoys her work.

“I think the only time I get frustrated is when we’re short staffed. Not because it makes my job harder, although it does, but because of the patients, and making sure their care isn’t effected.” 


We talked about how Chantalle winds down after a long day at work.

“I work twelve hour shifts, so I’m usually pretty exhausted afterwards. Sometimes it’s a glass of wine and relaxing, then I’m ready to sleep. My boyfriend is in the process of setting up his own business, so our schedules work out. I spend four days working, and then five days off, so I often go back to Kelowna. It’s so beautiful and I love it there as well. I try to go back whenever I can,” she said with a big smile. 


Looking forward, Chantalle wants to continue doing what she’s doing.

“There’s always the possibility of going into management. But that can become more about administration and you spend less time with patients. That’s really want I want to continue doing. Working with patients.” #notastranger