Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Too Much To Do

Now that we’re in the middle of our long stretch in Delhi (another 8 days) we’re getting a better sense of what work there ahead of us and what role we can play here at the Indian Spinal Injuries Center (ISIC).

ISIC is where Jon received surgery after his fall four years ago. Since then, he or his mother has been back in Delhi to visit the hospital about twice every year. This means they have a lot of friends (doctors, therapists, staff, and patients) happy to see them roaming through the halls. Unlike an American hospital, the Sigworths seem to basically wander in and out of any room in the complex without any official permission. We spend most of our time in the large open physical therapy gym.

During the day, the room is always busy with 10-12 patients being attended to by different staff people, training on mats, standing frames, weights, parallel bars, and wheelchairs. Vicky is constantly running back and forth between different groups of people, introducing herself to new patients and their family members, offering therapy advice, pointing out her son Jon from across the room and telling his story, asking about their rehabilitation, seeing if they have plans for getting rehab equipment at home after they leave the hospital, asking about their religious views, giving away copies of the film, etc.

Literally within the first half hour of arriving at the hospital Vicky was returning from a crowd of people to introduce Jon and I to a 19-year-old paraplegic boy who was just days away from being released from the hospital as well as to the family of a 13-year-old pianist whose accident has left him the same level of mobility as Jon. The older boy was very confident and talkative (spoke great English), a Christian, and before his accident was an athlete of many sports. He very much reminded me of many of my high school friends, or even myself, and was thus very easy to relate to in during our weekend visits.

The older boy has since left ISIC (we hope to deliver one of our donated active wheelchairs to his home) and Jon has been showing the younger boy how to play the harmonica (to encourage his musical abilities in light of his new physical capabilities). These stories are just a brief view of the relationships that Jon and Vicky are building every day.

In addition to the time spent in the rehab gym I am putting myself to work as a homemaker in the guest house that Jon, Vicky, Joy, Karen, and I are staying in. To avoid eating greasy hospital cafeteria food for every meal we’ve stocked our apartment’s kitchen and I have taken charge of running to the local market for bread, cheese, juice, peanut butter (basically any simple food that gives us a rest from Indian spices).

In the midst of the craziness of working around the hospital, meeting with Rahul and Raman, filming, connecting patients with one another, planning for future initiatives, showing the film, and planning for future travels it really helps calm my mind to be able to keep our kitchen and rooms at home clean and organized. This really just has to do with my personality but I hope that this bit of order in our living space helps to free up Jon and his mother’s minds from clutter and stress and enables them to focus their energies on the good work they are committed to.

For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

Romans 8:24-25

1. Jon demonstrating rehab techniques for a group of quads in the ISIC physical therapy gym
2. Jon and Vicky visiting our 19-year-old friend's hospital ward
3. (from right) Rahul, me, Jon, and Rohit (Rahul's younger brother and caretaker)

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