The following is a combination of two posts from Dr Stan Ducharme, and with his and Ram’s kind permission, I am reproducing it here.
Dr Stan worked directly with Ram in the aftermath of last year’s earthquakes at SIRC, and on Dr Stan’s current visit to SIRC and Nepal, Dr Stan was keen to accompany Prajwal (the senior community-based rehab specialist) on a visit to Ram’s home in Dolalghat, Kavre and see how he was doing some 17 months later.
Dr Stan says “A home visit is a community event. Half the village turns out to welcome you and to check out these strangers from another country.”
Ram’s story is a reminder of the great work SIRC does, in providing multi-disciplinary rehabilitation to those with spinal cord injuries here in Nepal. In addition to the medical & nursing care, physio, occupational therapy, provision of wheelchair and other assistive devices as needed, one thing that differentiates SIRC’s care is the counselling provided by staff psychologists and peer counselors – those who have previously sustained an SCI and who can provide practical support to the patients … afterall, they have been through the trauma of an SCI themselves.
Patients do extra well when, combined with what SIRC provides them, the patients themselves have the inner-strength and determination to live a wholesome and full life. This is one such story.
Posted with both the permission of Ra and Dr Stan Ducharme Ph.D, September 15, 2016.
“I first met Ram in June 2015. He had suffered a spinal cord injury at the L2 level during the earthquake of April 25, 2015 when his house collapsed on top of him. Sadly, his grandmother died in the devastation.
Ram is a 27 year old married man. His wife was 4 months pregnant at the time of his injury. Prior to injury, he was the sole support of his family and took great pride in his ability to care for his wife. Like all expectant parents, they were thrilled to be having their first baby. However, that excitement abruptly ended during the night of April 25th.
During rehabilitation, Ram attended our group and individual counseling sessions. He worked tirelessly in physical therapy and pushed himself to the limits while encouraging other patients to do their best. His goal was to return to his village as soon as possible in order to be the father that he had wanted to be for so long.
Sure, Ram received some of the best rehabilitation in this part of the world. But it was his enduring spirit, desire to fulfill the traditional male role in the family and refusal to admit defeat that allowed him to overcome overwhelming odds. He persevered with a focus and a mission.
Today, you will find Ram running his own roadside business selling corn to his neighbors in this remote mountain village. You would also see him playing with his son, both with a smile, and encouraging his son not to fear the wheelchair.
What is perhaps most inspiring of Ram is that each morning and evening you would find him next to his new home working out on his parallel bars. You see, Ram does not give up nor does he accept less than his best. He has built parallel bars from local branches and twigs along the side of his home. For him, rehabilitation has not ended.
Ram, thank you for letting us into your life yesterday. You inspire us every day to do the work that we do. Enjoy your family, your son and the fruits of your independence that you have worked so hard to achieve.”
Dr Stan is currently on a short trip to SIRC and in addition to making this home visit, he is also upskilling the Peer Counselors with some additional training. As you can see, he is rather pleased to be working with this group!
Dr Stan’s words: “These 9 people with spinal cord injury will help newer SCI patients and families through their own example, positive lifestyle and their ability to support people during difficult emotional times. This level of communication about emotions is generally unheard of here. Not anymore; at least not at SIRC. Go you guys. Proud to work with you.”
I think that says it all, don’t you?