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  • Sharks

    Posted by Barrett<script language="JavaScript1.3" type="text/javascript"> document.write(timestamp(new Date(2004,3,21,9,28,0), dfrm, tfrm, 0, 0, 0, 0)); </script> (Member # 67) on 21-04-2004 16:28<noscript>April 21, 2004 09:28 AM</noscript>:

    It’s been a quiet week in Cuyahoga Falls…

    It’s not really therapy, not in my opinion. The list of things I’m supposed to remember to do just to get a patient into the system is neither set nor definite. The forms contain blanks that must be filled but exactly what should go there remains unclear to me. The papers pile around me and I feel as though I’m swimming in unfamiliar waters most of the time. I sense that there are sharks nearby.
    The route from my office to the nursing home passes by an “Ameritemps” building. Here outside the dilapidated front door men gather beneath a large “No Loitering” sign smoking and looking at the ground when not at each other with suspicion. Their clothing matches the building’s state of disrepair.
    I’m told that I should see whether some guy at the other end of the building needs a new orthopedic boot for his remaining foot. The one he has is patched together with about ten feet of surgical tape and I’m wondering why someone with my training would be required to actually assess this. Twenty minutes later I find myself in the middle of a power struggle between three different departments over who is to do what about this man’s care. I can see that my suggestion about ordering a new boot has opened an old wound here and now every side in the controversy is waiting to see whom I will support. I can feel my efficiency diminish as the battle rages and I shrink away. “I’m just the contract guy,” I say and withhold other things I know should be said as I pack up for the day. Once again I feel I’m choosing to be less than what I could be in this place but weigh that against the price I would have to pay for doing what I know is right. As I leave I feel even sorrier for myself than I did the day before.
    Marshall glides through the hallways of this large building in a perfectly silent electric wheelchair. I’ve never seen him without a large shawl extending from his knees to his neck, covering his arms and torso like a fresh blanket of snow. There must be some slight but precise hand function remaining beneath that material but I’ve never actually seen it. Marshall just floats through the hallways again and again, always a pleasant expression on his face and a slight nod toward my simple greeting. Someone here looks after him, but I don’t know who it might be.
    I’ve read and reread Timothy Miller’s wonderful book “How to Want What You Have” and always find something here that helps me. He says that looking at the plight of others isn’t the best way to truly appreciate our own life. He feels that such an approach toward real gratitude lacks depth and will not lead to an enduring transformation. I agree.
    But during those moments when I approach the building that has proven so difficult a place for me to enter, I look carefully at the men staring at the ground waiting for work and it makes me grateful in a way I know is easy for me to forget. After I arrive and dive once again into this pool of paperwork and try to deal with the Byzantine politics of the entrenched camps set up long before I appeared, I see Marshall-cool and calm and in charge of his own movement, such as it is. I remember that I can leave in a few hours, and he will remain here.
    It helps.
    Last edited by bernard; 30-12-2005, 06:04 PM.
    Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. L VINCI
    We are to admit no more causes of natural things than such as are both true and sufficient to explain their appearances. I NEWTON

    Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not a bit simpler.
    If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough. Albert Einstein