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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic

never miss an opportunity with someone

Ever since I could remember I always felt drawn to people, I could always feel empathy towards my neighbor, and is not until recently that I realized that I just love helping people. I recently volunteered at a hospital called resolute health; I can honestly say that I have never been at a hospital that genuinely cares about its patients as much as this one. They don’t see people as customers but as actual human beings, they know how much a regular person hates being at a hospital so they try to get them out by making sure all of their needs are met whether they have insurance or not.

Resolute health is very proud of what their doing as their trying to change the way the healthcare system by “keeping the patients out instead of in” as they say, and are starting to receive very good recognition around the community of New Braunfels.  The application system for volunteers was very much like a job I certainly didn’t expect to go through a drug test and an interview. Once I got through the interview process they told me that I needed to attend a two day orientation, both days lasting 8 hours.  When  I heard 8 hours for each day I thought to my self, these are going to be the longest days of my life but what I got out of those two days will be unforgettable.

When I first arrived in the orientation room I saw the most diverse group of people, each with their own unique stories and experiences. The orientation session started off as any other as every individual stood up and introduced him or herself.  After everyone was done introducing him or herself  the instructor asked those who  were going to work in the surgical floor to raise their hands, then she asked those who woked in the ER to raise their hands, then she asked those who worked in dialasis to raise their hands, then she finally said those who are volunteers to raise their hands so I did.

There where only 5 volunteers in that room including me, and elderly couple, a retired woman and another college student just like me. The instructor then asked us why we volunteered. The elderly couple said that it gets them out of the house, the retired woman said she wanted to give back to the community and the other college student said she needed volunteer hours for medical school. The sharing stick finally came to me and my answer was simple “ I like helping people” it was probably the most cliché answer I could give but it was the truth.

Through out the whole two days of orientation we learned to trust one another and how important it is to have hope and how important it is to believe in people. What really stuck with me after orientation was when the head doctor came in and talked to us about clinical errors, he told us about a story about how important it is to do our job right because the people depend on us to ring them good health and what good are we if we cant even do that for them.  After that day I left a different person, I was focused more with the feelings of other people rather than my own more than ever, which was good because what happened next is something that I wouldn’t trade for anything.

On my first official day of the job I was put in the medical and surgical floor, that’s where all of the people who just got out of surgery or just got out of the ICU are put until they are discharged. When I reported to my supervisor to see what my job was she said to go around and make sure that all of the patients are comfortable and have everything that they need. As I went around doing my rounds with the patients there was an older gentleman laying in his bed I asked him if he needed anything and he said “someone to chat with would be nice.”

As I sat down to talk with the old man he introduced himself, his name was Ray and this guy was filled with stories. He had just had gotten out lung reduction surgery to treat his emphysema. As we started talking he asked me what I did out of the hospital and I told him that I went to school full time trying to get my degree in biology and that I’m going to medical school when ever I do. He told me that is was good that I was trying to get an education and never to loose sight of my dreams. I then told the man that I was thinking about joining the navy since they have a good medical program and the man paused and said “I was once in the military.. I served in Vietnam.”

I had never talked to a Vietnam veteran or much less any veteran in my life, he told me that Vietnam was the cause of his emphysema due to being exposed of Agent Orange. He told me he was recruited due to the draft and he said that since he was joining the army that he wanted to be trained by the best so he joined the marines.  He told me how he went through the training and how much of a hell that was but he came out stronger and with a confidence that couldn’t compare to any other. Ray told me how he was well respected around his unit but once he was deployed he faced a major issue.. he couldn’t find himself to shoot another human being.

His sergeant had a major issue with that due to the fact that he was a soldier and how can you be a soldier if you cant fulfill your duty as one. The old man told me how they would tie him up to a tree and beat him due to his lack of obedience. So they made him in charge of communications, he told me how he had to carry the big radio on his back to communicate with the other units and how he had to dunk for cover when the fire fight started. Once he got back home he said he didn’t know what posed him or what came over him but he re-enlisted.

After his re-enlistment he was in charge of the fresh marines that came through boot camp prepping them for their PT test. Apparently none of his cadet’s never failed a test and was well recognized because of that and was awarded the rank of sergeant major. As he finished telling me about his military life he told me of how I reminded him a lot of his son since we both shared the same taste of adventure. So I asked him where his son was and he replied.. ”His dead..” with utter silence I said to the man “’I’m sorry about that sir.”

The old man told me that it was okay, life doesn’t always happen as planned.

With one last breath Ray told me never to loose sight of what I want and no matter what happens to keep moving on in life, no matter what pushes me back to push back harder, and more importantly to never stop smiling. Soon after he finished his sentence a loud noise started coming from the room and doctors and nurses came in rushing into the room and told me to leave immediately. Old man ray died that evening due to cardiac arrest. I dint know what to feel, I barely knew the man but at the same time it felt like I’ve known him for a long time.

I learned many things that evening but most importantly I learned that whenever someone ask you to stay and chat with them because.. you will never know when your last moment’s with that person will be. After that experience I will definitely be coming back to help out in the hospital in any possible, whether its greeting guest as they come in the hospital, picking up dirty trays from patients rooms, or staying and comfort the patients that need someone to talk to like I did with my old friend Ray. Hopefully someone will come and treat the patients the way I do when my days of a volunteer are over.

I wont be far from the hospital though if everything goes as planned I should be a doctor in the future as time goes by, taking care of my patients both physically and emotionally.  Hopefully someone will stop by and talk with me too like I did that day with Ray.

Submitted: December 04, 2014

© Copyright 2021 levi117. All rights reserved.

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Maggie Williams

Wow, this touched my heart. The way you placed each statement, and wrote each word, was just exquisite. Wonderful job. Tell me when you post anything new:)

Fri, December 5th, 2014 1:49am

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