Monday, June 25, 2007

COA and Hillcrest

I started out the morning at COA. 6am came and went and we still had no breakfast, Susie, the guys and I were getting a little scared...possibly panicky. We finally got the eggs only to discover they were frozen and it was yet again "oatmeal day". The people we serve aren't particularly fond of oatmeal...but they take it with a smile when you really sincerely wish them a good morning along with a strong cup of very hot coffee.

I've learned a lot from "the guys" down there. Most of them live at COA and are recovering from something or just doing required community service. Enrique, or "chef Enrique Suave" as Susie and I like to call him, is such a cheerful man. He was talking to me today about his job before he was assigned community service. He was the managing chef down at the Hyatt Hotel. He's gone to 5 or so different culinary schools and took such joy in creating a beautiful feast for his guests. He remembers his dad's advice, treat people well and you'll be treated well in return. He used to put on monthly picinics for his emoployees...all food and drinks on him (but if they wanted any alcohol that was on them. ;) He won the Manager of the Year Award and had all of his employees on their feet...and all the other managers wanted to know how he did it. He jokes with Susie and I, and probably protects us just a little. He's got 2 kids and a sparkle in his eyes.
I was confronted with an issue today that I've always been frustrated with. I'm a girl. yep. secret's out. And this frustrates the heck out of the ministry I want to do. There were two incidents today that would have been much easier or non existent if I were simply a boy. I'm still working this out, but I'm grateful for "the guys" that are our brothers in Christ.

At Hillcrest an hour later I faced my fears. I was put in this position because I have a psychology background. But I feel SO unqualified and young to be working with these patients. MS is a weird thing...many times a person's mental capacities are completely in tact well past the time that their legs and arms and facial muscles lose control. So the last thing I want to do is walk in with some sort of patronizing solution for these people who I'm sure are frustrated every single day at their disease. I've done a little bit of research, hoping to have some sort of understanding...came across a few ideas. Remembering various objects by creating stories out of them rather than merely repeating lists. It was going okay. people were politely participating, but it felt like therapy...I felt like a teacher to a bunch of 35-55 year old, intelligent, charismatic, and at the time bored individuals. Lorda the nurse jumped in to play and came up with a ridiculous combination. and then the fun began...I wish I could remember the stories...but I can't...the point is we were all laughing hysterically. I realized that I was taking myself way too seriously. I had come to this with the idea that I had a solution to teach them...and who knows, maybe what I do will actually be useful...but regardless of whether it "works" or will someday be useful, it was wonderful to see a bunch of people really laughing together.

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