We began our day a bit late. Wanted to rest up after our 15-year celebration of working in Vietnam. Our destination was of course a bit further then expected but reaching the home of a sweet 62 year young lady, who suffered a stroke 3 years ago.
Le Thi Huu has been for most part grounded... She was stoic talking with our youth, explaining how she continues to do therapy in hopes of one day regaining full mobility but so far no improvement. Huu is able to take a few slow agonizing steps with use of a walking cane. I admired her for fortitude.
She shared she is able to borrow a neighbors white wheelchair 1 or 2 times a week and get to go up the street. But other then that her world consists of primarily her home and on occasion the front yard to "practice" her steps...
I was saddened to learn that the govt. had offered her a wheelchair a couple years ago... but unfortunately she was unable to get to the distribution which I hate to admit is our requirement. This is so they are properly fitted and the chair is adjusted correctly.
|Watching as her chair is put together
I knew in my heart of hearts, this is not the first case like this. I thought back to how I felt hearing this had happened to others but it was always "those other organizations!" Not us, right? But this time clearly it was we. How many had GIBTK built hope up for and then did not get them the gift of mobility. Brings a wave of emotion. Anger... At who? Yup me! I called Tam over and said we can't let this happen. We must do what it takes. Once a needy recipient is identified and told they will receive their chair, we must be sure to get them their chair!
Plan is to require all our partners to get us lists of those who don't get chairs and get staff out there, even though it means getting extra staff and transport costs. At what cost is mobility worth?
I wish I could say I left it at that. But I knew I had to ask the question that I feared would break the stoic emotional wall. I reached out and held Huu's hand and said I have no idea how you feel but it must be very sad to not have mobility.
That's all it took, she said through the tears; "I was always so active, I was always moving, I took care of my family and my husband. Now when I see something that needs to be done I'm unable to do it. I must count on my poor husband to do everything including bathe me and take me to toilet. I'm not even able to visit my neighbors. "
I guess I sorta related, being a person who does not do well sitting... Fear grips me to just think about it. I looked over at her husband and said must be difficult. He nodded yes. I said you're a good husband.
His answer floored me. "be husband one day means to be husband for life..." Wow!!! What a contradiction from what I experienced just 2 days ago at our heart interviews.
Our meeting for families seeking funds for hearts was particularly tough. Maybe toughest I remember. One girl holding her baby close, who was brought by her great grandmother, shared her story.
Her mother had died when she was 13, her father left (abandoned) her to go live with another woman. Her great grandmother took her in. Finally she married, became pregnant. Hours after birth of her child they were told the baby had a bad heart. Her husband (AKA WIMP!!!) left her the same day..... I dare not put into print what my thoughts were / are... but those who know me....
|Post surgery, no need to crack chest! Yea God! all are doing better!
What a difference from "one day married, married for life" to this last situation. At this writing the baby had heart surgery and is doing well in her mothers arms. Our hope is to make an exception and bring her into The Father's House, our unwed mothers program. Give her help and training with her new born and hopefully she will stay for the duration and get an education, and be able to raise her child with financial dignity and pride!!!