Enabling The Disabled

, , | Hopeless | May 25, 2016

(I work for a disability lawyer as the receptionist, so I’m often the bearer of bad news. We have a client who has just gone before the judge for a hearing a month earlier, and is waiting to hear if he’s going to be given disability or turned down for a third time. This man is homeless and had a rough life, but he has kept a sweet disposition through all his tragedies.)

Me: “Thank you for calling [Law Office]. How can I help you?”

Client: “This is [Client]. I was told I’d gotten a letter in. It’s not bad news, is it?”

Me: “Let me look you up in our system… It seems that we got the response back from the judge yesterday, Mr. [Client], and you were found fully favorable.”

Client: “What? I got it?”

Me: “Yes, they’re awarding you. That letter you got was either from our legal assistant telling you all about that, or from Social Security’s office telling you the good news. Congratulations!”

Client: *breaks into tears* “Really? I really got it? I get to go to a doctor now?”

Me: “You really got it. I’m happy for you, sir. Go get that letter and have a great weekend, okay?”

Client: “Thank you. Thank you all so much. Y’all are my guardian angels. I was praying that something good would happen.”

(I was quietly crying by the time we ended the phone call. Sometimes it’s a blessing in itself telling someone whose life has been debilitating that it’s turned around for them and humbling at the same time, because we take such things as a simple doctor visit for granted.)

1 Thumbs

Food For Thoughtfulness, Part 2

, , , , , | Hopeless | May 20, 2016

(I have just gotten out of ballet with my sister. My parents pick us up to take us to a well-known Asian take-out place. My sister has been feeling sick, but she goes in to order anyway since I am still in ballet clothes. She’s in there for a few minutes before a man comes out to our car.)

Man: “Excuse me; are you the parents of the girl inside?”

Mum: “Yes, is something wrong?”

Man: “Come inside, now.”

(Both my mum and my stepdad run inside, while I stay with my brother, who is also sick. A minute later, they come out supporting my sister. The man and a woman come out. My mum explains that my sister has been feeling sick, but she should be fine. The woman talks to my mum, handing us a cup of Pepsi for my sister.)

Woman: “She passed out inside. Take this drink. It’s thin, and should be good for her. Make sure she drinks it slowly.”

(My mum agrees, and the woman walks away. An employee comes out, with the food that my sister ordered.)

Employee: “Here’s your food. It’s on us. Make sure she gets better, okay?

(My mum insisted on paying, but he refused and went back inside. My sister and I were regulars at this place, and the employees were always so great. It made me happy that even after all the awful stories I’d heard about employees being awful, this employee in particular was awesome enough to get our food packed and bring it out to us for free, as well as making sure my sister was okay.)


1 Thumbs

Making Sure The Survivors Are Surviving

, , , , | Healthy Right | May 19, 2016

(My family is 100% German, and came to the US around 1900. Shortly after WW II ended, my grandma, who was working on getting her nursing certification, decided to volunteer at an aid center for recently arrived Holocaust survivors. My grandma was born in Chicago, and English was and is her first language, but she spoke German because her parents and grandparents spoke it, and had a slight accent. She’d been bullied about it all through the war, and was worried it’d be the same at the center, but decided to volunteer anyway. Sure enough, some of the other nurses started making snide comments, until one of the patients, a woman in a wheelchair, beckoned her over.)

Patient: *in halting English* “You… German?”

Grandma: “No.”

Patient: *disappointed* “You no speak German?”

Grandma: *in German* “Ja. I speak German. My parents are from Germany.”

Patient: *in German* “Oh, thank the Lord! English is such a hard language, and everyone here is so brusque, and there are no trees anywhere! I miss the mountains! What part of Germany are your parents from? Do they miss it? Have you ever been?”

(As soon as they found out my grandma spoke German, all of the other survivors came right over and started chatting away, completely dumbfounding the rest of the nurses! To my grandma’s relief, none of them held it against her that her family was German; most of them just wanted to talk about their homes and families, and were relieved to find someone who spoke their language. It wasn’t long before some of the other nurses and the aid center director asked her for help learning German themselves!)

1 Thumbs

Kindness Has Real Staying Power

, , | Healthy | May 17, 2016

(After avoiding any kind of surgery for the 35 years of my life I end up in the ER on Monday with appendicitis. I am very, very scared because of the aforementioned lack of surgeries. One of my roommates comes with me and intends to stay with me all night.)

Nurse: “We like people to go home and not stay here all night. It’s not comfortable.”

Roommate: “That’s okay. I want to stay.”

Nurse: “Well, in a shared room you have to get the permission of the person in the other room.”

Roommate: “Well, then, ask them. I want to stay.”

Other Person: “Let her stay! If I had someone here with me I’d want them to stay.”

(I was so out of it, and so scared, but the other person, also there with appendicitis, was so kind to let my roommate stay with me and it helped a lot. My roommate literally held my hand all night so every time I woke up I could feel it. If she hadn’t been there I think I’d have been inconsolable. I’m healing fine, and the other person in my room was able to go home without needing surgery at all!)

1 Thumbs

Why Nurses Should Rule The World, Part 9

, , , , | Healthy | May 17, 2016

(My family is visiting my grandma, and we like renting bicycles to ride around the gated community where she lives. My mom and two younger siblings are just on our way back to the house. It’s a very hot day and I’m wearing a dark shirt.)

Me: “Hold up a minute. I feel woozy.”

(I pull onto the grass and sit down, panting, as my vision swirls with purple-green clouds. Usually they clear in a few moments, but they’re not going away. I can’t get back on the bike until I can see, so Mom is about to send my brother on ahead to bring Dad back with the car, when a car pulls up next to us.)

Little Old Lady: “Do you need help?”

(I’m a little fuzzy on the details after that point, but it turned out that she was a retired nurse! She offered to drive me back to Grandma’s house. I was doing a little better in the air-conditioned car, but I was still woozy and she talked to me to keep me awake. When we got to the house, I had to lean on her shoulder to get inside; my dad told me later that he thought I was helping her at first! She helped me into a reclining chair and got a cool, damp washcloth to put on my forehead before she left, with instructions to drink lots of water and not move for a while. She left before I could thank her, but I sent a thank-you note when I was better. Even after they retire, nurses are awesome people!)

Why Nurses Should Rule The World, Part 6
Why Nurses Should Rule The World, Part 7
Why Nurses Should Rule The World, Part 8

1 Thumbs