This was the slogan of the commercial I worked on while in South Bend to speak to the Leadership group at Memorial Hospital of South Bend.
When I was first asked to speak to this group, I was devastated that I was not able to make the original date. Thankfully, an October date was on the schedule and I jumped at the chance to attend. I share my story all the time, giving thanks to those who helped me along the way (although, often time this is just in theory). How awesome to be able to say thank you to those who actually cared for me!
At Memorial Hospital I experienced Compassionate Care; I was cared for as an 18-year-old college student, not just as a patient. My needs were different than those of my rehabilitation floor counterparts, and those needs were met by Memorial’s staff in a way that showed how much they valued my physical and emotional well-being. They guided me not only to walk again, but to heal in all ways.
Life is a journey. And the journey I experienced at Memorial was a healing one, and uplifting one, and a blessing in so many ways. What an honor to thank those who serve, from Memorial’s CEO (who has been there over 20 years) to the doctors, therapists and nurses who continue to serve. Even if I wasn’t their patient, I know they are touching lives- saving lives - each day.
I had every intention of blogging again from Iowa last week. But there is so much to say (!!!) and soon I found myself in Indiana and then anxious to get home to my family after four days of travel. And what a four days it was!
After my talk in Cedar Rapids, I drove two hours due west to Des Moines (with a stop along the way for a Diet Coke at McDonalds, as I promised my children I would pick up McD’s Monopoly pieces in the Midwest – thinking that might increase our chances at winning!)
I arrived in Des Moines in the early afternoon and thought I would explore the city. After all, how often would I visit Des Moines in the future? I walked downtown and found a pay-as-you-ride bike rental station. $2.00 later, I was off and riding along the river, taking in the sites of the city and noticing that I had no particular destination in mind, nor any idea where I was.
Three hours later, I was back in downtown – at a different bike hub – happy to be walking again back to my hotel. It was an awesome and unexpected afternoon, and I was thankful I had taken the opportunity to explore the unknown.
The following morning I would experience a different unknown experience and blessing. I was a guest at the Mercy Medical Center’s Rehabilitation Unit: invited to meet with patients and speak to the staff. It was awesome.
While I have visited with specific patients in the past, I have never visited with unknown patients, nor spoken to a group of patients experiencing much of what I experienced when I was learning to walk.
When I am planning each talk, I begin by thinking about my audience. And when planning for my visit to the rehabilitation floor, I had to revisit my time as a rehab patient. But even with all that preparation, there is nothing like visiting…seeing, watching, smelling and experiencing rehab first hand. I was reminded of so many aspects of my hospital stay that one tends to forget: the repetitiveness of the day, the small gains that are the result of great effort, the excitement of a visitor, and the patience one learns (or is forced upon) as a patient.
The rehab patients at Mercy Medical were awesome. Once again I was inspired by those I was meant to inspire. A young-at-heart gentleman, Doyle, who had a stroke two weeks ago, was working on his arm strength because he wanted to be active again. He shared with me that a friend of his had a stroke ten years ago, and “she didn’t do anything about it, so she still can’t do anything; that won’t be me!” You go Doyle! And he will, because he wants to and because he is choosing to.
What does one say to rehabilitation patients who are struggling with various challenges and are at different stages of their recovery? There is no one-size-fits-all solution; but there is a common message I like to share: this may not be the path in life we chose, or would have chosen, but it can still be a good path.
This is the gift I can share with them – having gone down the unchosen path and knowing how good it can be.
Thanks Des Moines! Your inspiration was exactly what I needed as I would travel to South Bend that afternoon in preparation for my presentation to those who guided me through rehab.
Fall is a busy time for everyone, and we are no different - as indicated by the fact that I haven’t blogged since September 20th! And the only free time I find to write is when I’m on a plane (like now) and do not have internet access, cell access, kids who need rides, or 10 errands to run.
Last month, when a good friend introduced me for the Harvey Foster Award at Notre Dame, he read off my October schedule as an indication of the “work” I do. Even I was surprised listening to my calendar this month, although I schedule my own talks (so it should not have been a surprise).
Today I flew to Iowa and, as a musical theater fan, I couldn’t help but sing “Iowa Stubborn” from The Music Man most of the day:
And we’re so by God stubborn we could stand touchin’ noses for a week at a time and never see eye to eye…
You may know the tune. But I have to say, I have only been here for five hours and Iowans have been great! Thanks for the warm welcome, Cedar Rapids! I look forward to Sharing the Inspiration tomorrow at the LIFG/Transamerica Iowa National Sales Success Seminar.