04 December 2013

One Story I Couldn't Tell

A friend of mine in the US has been using a lot of creative and energetic means to generate funding for and interest in our little therapy department.  One of her ideas was in the form of family Christmas presents . . . the gifts for her loved ones: stories from patients, in their own words.

I use this blog as a space to tell stories . . . my stories.  The stories of my experience as an Occupational Therapist in a decent sized mission hospital on the south side of the enormous Sahara desert trying hard not to screw up too much as I wade into the murky waters of cross-cultural, trilingual living.

I tell my stories, because they are the ones I know.  But every once in a while, I'm given permission to tell someone else's story.  So, my gift to you is E.'s gift to her family: a story from a patient, in her own words.

One of those stories comes from B., a woman you met in October (don't remember her? No worries! Click here).  At that time she couldn't walk and could barely speak.  But, that was just the first chapter!  Her story hasn't finished yet!

B. is in her mid twenties and had a severe stroke just after delivering a stillborn baby, leaving her not only with empty arms and an empty heart, but without the use of the right side of her body and the inability to speak.

The second time she came for treatment in the therapy department at Galmi Hospital, we had a visiting Physical Therapist who specializes in neurologic conditions such as strokes. She spent time with our patient as well as my assistant, teaching them the types of exercises and treatments she would need to be doing over the next months to help facilitate her body's return to function.

B. began to walk with a hemi-walker and a lot of assistance. Her right leg was very spastic making it hard for her to bend her knee in order to step properly and it was nearly impossible for her to keep her balance.  
But she refused to give up!  
Each time she would come we would see a little more progress! And because of the great distance between her house and the hospital, her family could only afford to come once a week for therapy . . . but it was clear she was doing her part at home, without her faithfulness to the exercises she wouldn't have been making progress!
After a month, B. graduated to walking with a cane! She said she couldn't have dreamt that this would have been possible! And today, only two months since we began treatment, she is walking short distances WITHOUT the use of a mobility device! Despite some mild slurring of her speech, B.'s even been chatting it up a little more each session!
B. and her beautiful smile as she walks without a cane!
When asked how she felt about her progress, B. repeated "I am so thankful to God! So very thankful!"
I asked her how she felt the first time she came to Galmi Hospital after her stroke: "I wasn't happy. I couldn't walk . . . I could do NOTHING! It was as if I was already dead, because I couldn't function at all. We weren't sure the hospital could help, but I have found that this is an amazing place!"
What did you think the first time you came to therapy and I didn't give you medication, but instead told you that you had to do exercises and movements that your body wasn't able to do? "I thought this had to be a work of faith, because I thought it was impossible! And we thought what you said was crazy . . . and so did our neighbors. Every time I did the exercises they said so! But now everyone in my village sees how [therapy] makes a big difference!"
And now how do you feel? "It's not like before--but GLORY BE TO GOD!!--everything is better! My heart is full!"
What is different about our hospital from the two others you went to first? "They said 'She'll get better' but they did nothing. You told us that if we did nothing my body wouldn't get better, but if we worked with you I could learn to do things again, and now I have!"


elizabeth said...

amen!!! beautiful and redemptive. thanks as always for sharing.

mamastouff said...

Praising God for His perfect plan to so His love through you! Encouragement for us all to keep on trusting and following His plan.