Friday, September 4, 2015

Wheelchaired: Ending on a high note.

When you do a project for a month a certain routine an arrogance kicks in. But then life once again teaches you a lesson, brings you down and makes you humble. Last week we were set to interview two of our last Wheelchaired for A Day Challenge participants. We were all tired and stressed and then figuring out the schedule to have them come in and share their experiences became an issue. The logistics of picking up and dropping off the wheelchair really takes a toll on you after a while- especially since one of them asked not to be filmed on the first day and then both got sick and we were texting frantically back and forth to figure out who was coming back and when with a new scenario emerging every twenty minutes. I appreciate all of the people who took the Challenge, I really truly do. The stories that they shared were incredibly and surprisingly moving and some of the footage they shot was mind blowing. But we were ready to be done and I have to say, with all the complications a thought crossed my mind and I said to myself :"Do we really need it?" In my own arrogance I thought, "Well, maybe they don't need to come back, what can tell me, what can they show me that a drag queen and a Mayor of a local town haven't?" "How can you top that?" And as it turned out, in their own way, they did. We also thought we may have made a mistake scheduling two trauma nurses in a row, once again, wrongly assuming their experiences would be similar. My project manager, Susan felt we should finish the month by getting a teacher to do it, but we didn't give him enough time. And there was a slight disappointment- between all the hot and humid weather and riding on two city buses to get there she wanted to make the last one powerful.As we plan to expand the challenge into schools we thought this would allow it to end on a "high note". As a preview of what may come. But we did end on a high note, because we were not prepared for what the nurses told us. Often we gear up for yet another routine interview, but then something happens that blows us away. And I'm not just saying simply because everybody's story is important and everyone's perspective brings something new, which is all true.  Both of our nurse participants live together and work at the trauma unit. First one told us about her grandfather who had polio and worked for NASA. They way she remembered him was always in his wheelchair, that was his normal state for her. And he arranged his entire workshop so he can operate it from that position. She then decided to get a sense of what it must have been like for him so he took the chair to do crossfit.

As if that wasn't moving enough her roommate told us about her work. Since they live and spend most of their day together we thought their stories would be similar. Boy, were we wrong! She told us  that as a neuro trauma nurse she sees a lot of people coming in with injuries. On many occasions she knows that her patients will need a wheelchair for the rest of their lives even before they do. For her, it was a gesture of solidarity, but also to get a feeling of what that perspective would be like, although for them it's not a day and not something they signed up for. We were blown away by that statement and it's unlike anything any of our other participants could ever told us. We can't wait for all our videos to come our you will then understand- we could not have hoped for a better outcome. But then- that's our life lesson: Don't get jaded- you might just be amazed if you let yourself be surprised, and don't ever stop being humbled by what others share with you.

No comments:

Post a Comment