It has been said that you rarely meet a strong person with an easy past. Too true. In our everyday lives we meet adults and children who have achieved the impossible, overcome incredible hurdles and gone forward with courage and determination time and again. Lately, we’ve seen a lot of examples of this—youngsters brave and bold have been featured in the recent Toronto SickKids VS campaign; and the tough and ready athletes of the Invictus Games, who are called out as having “remarkable grit and camaraderie,” also come to mind.
Sharing the load
Yet behind every one of these heroes are others: The families and the professionals who have helped to carry the load and many who will never make it to the podium. So, as we celebrate, let us never lose sight of the daily life of the average “rehab warrior” or home care client. There is nothing fancy or drum rolling about their daily lives.
Think about the stroke survivor being helped by March of Dimes Canada; the cancer patient struggling through yet another round of chemotherapy at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre; or the older gent and his wife from a rural part of Atlantic Canada who have just learned that his double diagnosis of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s means a move from home into a care facility.
A new path
As the work begins, as you professionals know, better than anybody, it is an uphill climb. A challenging journey—perhaps the most difficult they have ever faced. It’s full of recovery, healing, learning and it requires 100% patient participation.
There are trials, tears, moments of despair and moments of gain and victory. And you, their health care providers, are their lifeline, their hope whisperers and navigators. You give clients and their shattered families the strength, nurturing and support they need to carry on. You count their successes not their losses. You coach, cajole, encourage and push. You stand beside them with your hand out to help regardless of circumstances and even when they are their own worst enemies. You try and try and try again to make things better.
You are the ray of sunshine and that glimmer of hope in their darkest clouds. You, I believe, are the ones that are equally incredible.
Caroline Tapp-McDougall, Publisher