Gallaher worked in the night shift at Cusa Valley Medical Center in Alabama – her priority, her son said, so she could refer to younger nurses. Known around the hospital as “Miss Betty”, she loved being his sounding board, personal physician and “work mom”.
She made sure that everyone working with her was fed food every night. He took care of his patients in the same way as he took care of his family and his coworkers, who became family themselves. She was the favorite nurse of all, according to her loved ones.
So when the Kovid-19 pandemic began in March, Gallaher’s concerned colleagues asked her, for her safety, to stay indoors.
But he did not like to sit back. She knew that her colleagues and the community needed her, so she continued to work until Kovid-19 sidelined her in December.
Galher died from Kovid-19 on January 10, a day before his 79th birthday, in the same hospital where he worked a lot for his career.
“She didn’t stand out to do it,” said her son Carson Griar Jr., “She did it because this is who she was – this is her calling.”
She was a devoted nurse and mentor
Gallaher was a nurse for most of her life. He believed that caring for his patients and mentoring his younger colleagues was his lifelong duty, said Grier, a high school basketball instructor and elementary school physical education instructor.
“It was his purpose and the plan of his life,” Greer told CNN. “And she lived it daily.”
“We’ve all worked with Betty now,” Terrell said. “I could never explain to him how much everyone loved him.”
One of the parts of the job that he loved best was working with young nurses, sometimes 50 years his junior, such as Coosa Valley ER nurse and supervisor Nikki Jo Hutton.
“The type of daughter who worries about you as a nurse, as much as he worries about a patient,” Hatton told CNN. “He’s gonna stop you while you’re busy, just to make sure you’re okay.”
Galheer had known the names of everyone in the ER, as well as the names of his colleagues, children and pets. She would show up with a bag of burgers to feed anyone to bring food for her 12-hour shift. If you need it, she will hold your hand and wrap you in a warm blanket. He showed the same love for his colleagues as he had with his family and children.
“That was a treatment for an anxiety attack,” Hatton said.
He worked in the ER until Kovid-19 sidelined him.
Miss Betty was not afraid to act on the lines of a disaster. She worked as a supervisor at a hospital in New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina knocked to power and implicated many of her colleagues.
A few years after the 2005 storm, she told her son that she was retiring. When she asked her what she would do next, she said she would go back to the Cusa Valley, where Terrell worked her way up to director of the emergency department, and came back as an ER nurse.
“She wanted to go back to the everyday grind of the emergency room,” Greer said. “He did it, it was his last days.”
In March, her co-workers tried to convince her to sit out of the epidemic. Heaton said that after a day or two of staying home, the 78-year-old returned to work to resume his night shift.
“He couldn’t afford it,” Hatton said. “She missed coming to work. This is what she lived for.”
On 19 December, Heaton noticed that the usually unsure Miss Betty was short of breath during her time. Hatten suggested that Gallaher be kicked out after his shift was over, but Galher relieved his symptoms as exhaustion.
The next day, emergency responders brought Gallaher to the hospital, although he had not called them, Hutton said – they would check him out of concern. He tested positive for Kovid-19, and would remain in the Kosa Valley until he died.
Even when she was confined to her hospital bed, Gleher’s primary concern was the well-being of her colleagues. On New Year’s Eve, he called Terrell and requested that he buy pizza for the ER staff as a thank-you with his debit card. She refused a transfer to a Birmingham hospital suggested by her carers – Hutton said she joked that she would have no one to style her hair.
Hatton, Terrell, and their co-workers tried to comfort and capture Galher. As she circled throughout the hospital, Heaton stayed in Galher’s room in the intensive care unit and pulled her dog to her door in a dry erase marker or don PPE to show her photos of Galher.
Miss Betty feared dying alone in the ICU, Hutton said. Towards the end of her life, her work family ensured that she was surrounded by people who loved her.
“The day he passed away, all of our ER staff just went and filled that room,” Hutten said. “It wasn’t what we wanted to see him go, but I’m glad we got there.”
Miss miss betty
Hayton’s shift is quieter than usual without Miss Betty there. When the silence becomes too gloomy, Heaton and his co-workers will swap “Betty stories” or repeat that it will make funny jokes. It is therapeutic, she said.
“That was the glue of our ER, or ER matric,” he said. “Looks like we lost our mother.”
Gelahir’s legacy was well known in Silakauga, but Heaton wanted to share Miss Betty with the world. So he created a Tiktok dedicated to Galaheer, who was compiling short clips of the 78-year-old nurse staring around with his colleagues.
“We didn’t want him to be forgotten,” Hatton said. “Everyone deserves a betty in their hospital, and we wanted to share ours.”
Greater loves to remember his mother the way he appears in Hetton’s Tiktok – smiling, playful, always a bag of food in hand. She believes that if her mother had a chance to do her life again, knowing how it would end, she would have done it the same way.
“There was only one way she knew how to live, and that was to help others,” he said. “I hope I get to say that I lived my life the way I wanted her to live, as she did.”
Terrell had already been stopped from preaching at Ghelher’s funeral; A few days before the service, Gryer tested positive for the Kovid-19, though he is now recovering. Giving Ulliot would be both easy and impossible, Taryl said – easy because Geller protected her own legacy in the care she showed to others, and impossible because she loved and missed him so much. .
Before she dies, Galher texts Teryl that she will finally retire after recovering from her illness. The pair loved to relax by painting acrylic sculptures – painting cows was their favorite.
Gallaher never had a chance to retire, and Terrell never got a color in his last time. He knew that he would never slow down in life, so he now likes to imagine him, drawing cows in bliss while the people he touched carry on his legacy of mercy.