I have some good news to share! Due to the great generosity of FSRL supporters, the students will be supported and the bills paid all the way to the end of 2017. Hallelujah!
Now I am up late again, but not because I am worrying. Instead, happily, I am writing thank you notes! WOW!
Some gifts from sources completely unexpected have come in, and some kind souls have dug deep and given again. And some gifts have been promised and on the way.
I have been in tears, and in smiles too, over this generosity.
And I would like to share a small vignette from today that may make you also have tears and smiles….
Five of the juniors have just completed an intense two-week course, supported by the Medi for Help charitable wing of Medishare, on the topic of wound care. Wound care refers not to emergencies that you might see in the ER, but to the phenomenon of long-term chronic deep wounds that remain open for months or years. It’s an area of overlap between nursing and OT and PT. For example, therapists can get involved with wound care because people with neuropathy of the feet due to diabetes can get non-healing wounds on the feet, and that interferes with walking. Or people with spinal cord injuries can get pressure wounds on the buttocks and sacrum from sitting too long in a wheelchair without shifting position.
The first week was in-class at FSRL, on all the factors involved in evaluation of the situation and providing appropriate care. The second week was in Bernard Mevs hospital. The instructors, Bryan Groleau, Christopher Miles, and Judy Coster, emphasized to the students that they must prepare, before going in to see a patient, to relax their face so that they would not show disgust no matter what. The wounds can be disfiguring, and they can smell bad. The students were apprehensive, but wanted to make it work.
They returned yesterday afternoon, and today gave a presentation to the sophomore students, concerning the anatomy of wound healing. Some of the pictures produced disgust from the sophomores, and so I asked the juniors how they had dealt with it so well. Each of them said that they had discovered they could manage their response, and that they found they loved the opportunity to provide so much help, to be of so much use, to the patients.
One of the young men in junior year followed me back to the office just to tell me, with a glowing face, how much the experience had confirmed his vocation to rehabilitation. He said that he discovered that he must have been born a therapist: that the meaningfulness of this felt inborn, as if he must have always known it. He said, “People here suffer SO much. They have so many needs. This is something I can do. When I see how badly someone is hurt, then I think of how I would feel if that happened to me, and I don’t want to turn away. I can help them. I love this. I want to learn more, always.”
This is the kind of revelation that is made possible by the team members back home. I am as always amazed: amazed by the need, amazed by the depth of the human spirit in reaching out to touch that need, amazed by the generosity and vision of supporters that makes this possible. This is going to be a very Merry Christmas!