Stan wrote this story in Dubai en route back from the ASCoN conference to Boston, his hometown. Stan says “The quiet however does make a good place to think and gain perspective.”
Permission from the little boy’s guardian has been received. Thank you Dr Stan for your stories, keep them coming.
This young boy, pictured here with his grandfather, is one of the memories of the past week. He is 8 years old but looks about 4 as a result of malnutrition and poverty. I saw him all week with a huge smile on his face looking for anyone to play with. I remember Fiona, a nurse, playing tag with him as we sat waiting on the bus all watching how excited he was. He was having a ball with the freedom he had just been given.
I am not sure of his whole story but I do know that he became paralyzed about a year ago as a result of spinal tumors. He stayed home in bed for about a year after surgery with no wheelchair and no friends to play with
When I arrived at the spinal center last Monday, he had just been given his first wheelchair that actually fit his small size. He was so excited that you would think he had just rolled into the gates of Disney World on Christmas morning. There was no stopping him. For him, mobility was such a precious gift. At least for those days, he felt on top of the world. Hopefully that will continue with the care he is now receiving. I am so proud that you people understand the importance of his long term emotional well being.
Yet, as I think of this young man, I also realize that if the spinal center had not opened about a decade ago, this guy probably wouldn’t be here today. He would never have had a chance to live his life: no relationships, no love. You gave him that chance. Without the proper care, not long ago these injuries were usually fatal, especially in developing countries with no services.
Thanks to all of you guys who work every day at SIRC with very difficult conditions. We all owe you a debt of gratitude for what you have done for this little guy and for so many others. The care you provide for your patients is very obvious and contagious to the rest of us. Never underestimate the influence that you have on your patients and on us, We learn from you every day.
This is the end of another trip for me but again I go home having gained much more than I contributed. Thank you SIRC staff.