Posted by: Duke Raleigh Hospital | March 27, 2019

Team Gives Colleague Gift of Hearing

Fifth Floor Surgical Oncology Unit Staff.

For most of Nicole Medley’s life, holding a simple conversation has been difficult.

“Every day was a struggle communicating or having a conversation with anyone,” said Medley, a Duke Raleigh Hospital NA/HUC, who has suffered from hearing impairment since childhood and was recently diagnosed with moderate to severe Bilateral Sensorineural Hearing Loss. “I have trouble with high pitches, low pitches, communicating in a public place with other people talking, soft spoken people, and women’s voices.”

She’s relied on reading lips and asking people to repeat themselves or talk louder to communicate with others and deliver patients care. But Medley was recently given the gift of hearing, thanks to the fundraising efforts of her teammates on Duke Raleigh Hospital’s fifth floor surgical oncology unit.

“She is such an inspiration to me and to this entire floor,” said Ashley Green, a NA/HUC, who works alongside Medley weeknights on the floor. “We had to do something. The poor thing couldn’t hear!”

Green and Aleisha Richardson, clinical nurse III, RN, CMSRN, started a project to raise money to buy Medley hearing aids in November 2017 after noticing Medley trying to understand what they were saying by reading their lips. They sold badge reels and used word of mouth to raise funds. This month, the team surprised Medley with the money to purchase the hearing aids.

“When I was surprised with my hearing aids, immediately I started crying, not because I was sad but in happiness,” Medley said. “I couldn’t believe my amazing coworkers could do such a kind and selfless act for me.”

The gift, Medley said, has changed her life. She hears sounds she hasn’t heard since she was a child—birds chirping, the wind, wheels against pavement. She no longer has to occupy the front row in her classes at Vance-Granville Community College where she’s pursing her RN degree because she can actually hear the lectures. And there’s no more reading lips.

The gift, Medley said, makes her grateful beyond words.

“It’s such an amazing feeling, honestly, to be able to hear. I don’t think there’s enough words to say how it makes me feel,” she said. “They have truly changed my life forever and I will never forget the kind, selfless act they have done for me. I couldn’t ask for a better work family.”

For her team, giving the gift was just as rewarding.

“I have known Nicole personally for about a decade and she has been through so much, and it was just so rewarding to feel like I’ve played a small part in making her life a little easier,” said Green. “She deserves this more than anyone that I know!”

–By Erin McKenzie

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