Warm receptions still make Jackie's day

AGED 75, Warrnambool Base Hospital receptionist Jackie Day is proof that age is just a number, working five days a week and travelling the world.

Mrs Day has worked at the hospital for 37 years but confesses she never intended to work for so long.

“I was going to retire at 55 but I’m still there. I love my job, I’m lucky,” Mrs Day said.

Mrs Day has become a permanent fixture at the hospital, and says her motivation came from helping people every day.

“My father used to say I was born to talk so perhaps that’s it,” she said.

It hasn’t always been smooth sailing for the Warrnambool local, however. The reality of hospital  life sometimes gets the better of her.

“I was born here and I find it difficult when someone I’ve known all my life passes away, or the family are there and I think ‘I can’t do this any more’.” 

“It happens all the time but you’ve just got to deal with it,” she said. 

Mrs Day has also managed to raise three children while caring for her husband, Alan, who suffered a stroke when she was in her 40s. 

“Alan never walked or talked again. 

“People said that he wouldn’t make it to six weeks but we managed 19 years.”

She said the hospital had been good to her, allowing her to take time off to care for her husband. 

“I’ve been very fortunate.”

Mrs Day said one of the highlights of her years at the hospital included the time when a man whose mother was an inpatient bought her flowers.

“He said ‘you always smile and say hello to me when I come in and even when things are tough, it’s not so bad’,” she said.

“That’s what keeps you going to work.”

Over the past few years, Mrs Day has also indulged in her love of travel, visiting Vietnam, Europe, the UK, Canada and America.

She has also been to Hong Kong 12 times and is heading back in May.

A woman of many talents, Mrs Day has also tried her hand at being a tour guide, taking eight of her colleagues to Hong Kong.

She said she was fortunate to have such a social life.

As for working until 75, Mrs Day said it wasn’t for everyone but it certainly was for her.

“I think some people can work until they’re 75 and others can’t. It depends on what job you do.

“It makes you get out of bed in the morning and I just love it.”

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