Thursday, October 8, 2009

Membership has its...

When doctors are permitted to see patients in a given hospital, they "have privileges" there.

In the past few weeks I have:

-- heard a person with ALS say "I have hope now" when shown that even though they can no longer move their hands or arms that they can still surf the internet

-- hung out with someone who has the same disease the Elephant Man had, and helped figure out some strategies for him to successfully interview for the job position he wants instead of the job position he has

-- seen someone who had a stroke several months ago realize that he didn't need therapy as much as he needed people to talk to

-- gotten the good news that a former patient who was fired from his job because of his speech impairment, now, over a year later, has a job offer in hand

-- watched graduate students start to put the pieces together that what we do is actually pretty cool and is so much more than working with autistic kids (though that is certainly noble work)

-- had colleagues in my office in tears, laughing hysterically over the things our patients do and say, and thinking through big professional changes

-- breathed a sigh of relief that a long-time patient is 4 short hours away from returning to work full-time

-- comforted a colleague I was observing when her patient told her that her fly was down, and it was

-- met a woman who listed "alpaca farming" as her primary leisure activity

-- heard someone from Columbus, Ohio sound like they were from the West Indies because of their stroke

-- talked with doctors, lawyers, judges, auto mechanics, housewives, office managers, people with fancy homes in Potomac and people with no homes at all

For all the days I want to put my pencil down and walk away from it all, most of the time I have a crazy, wonderful job.

Clearly I too have privileges.

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