More Stories from the Clinic

December 20, 2013

“No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.”
― Charles Dickens

I don’t believe I can accurately count the number of times that someone has informed me that Christmas is a time of giving. I should be the last person to remark that the statement has almost gotten old. At the Clinic, we get to witness the art of giving on a daily basis, but I can imagine that those who make giving a priority over a lifetime experience bouts of “giving burnout”. I know I have.

Many times over my years of volunteerism I have wondered, “Does what I do even matter?”, or “Do my efforts really make a difference?” Other thoughts like these have filled my head from time to time, and I have struggled with moments of doubt. I realized something one day, though, and now I don’t have these thoughts any more. I came to the understanding that if just one person has an easier day due to my efforts than I have succeeded. If one person learns to give from my example, then I have been rewarded.

I am surrounded by these good examples every day here at Health Partners, and the stories of our patients become a gift to those who give. Stories like the one of Dominic:

Dominic has been a 2 pack/day smoker for over 15 years now. He has heard all the warnings from the media, doctors, and even the cigarette companies themselves but that information doesn’t stop the incessant cravings. However, Dominic may not have heard that of the estimated 2 million amputations in the United States annually, 54% may be due to Peripheral Artery Disease caused by smoking. Luckily Chris, our nurse practitioner, did know this and when Dominic presented to the Clinic with an ice cold left calf she feared the worst. Chris ordered an ultrasound of the leg that was provided to Dominic at no cost. Chris was right to be concerned, Dominic’s main artery in his left leg was 96% closed and without surgical intervention he would lose the leg. Dominic was immediately transferred to Cleveland Clinic for arterial bypass surgery. This surgery was covered under the hospital’s HCAP program and was done at no charge. Several months later, Dominic returned to Health Partners to follow-up on his care and also to thank Chris. He told her that the surgeon at the Cleveland Clinic said that if Chris had not caught this then he would have surely lost the leg.

Dominic has his leg today, because of the efforts of our volunteers. A team of caring individuals contributed to this miracle for Dominic. From the office staff that set his original appointment to the surgeon that saved his leg, he had many hands lifting him up.

There are many other examples of behind the scene players that help change the lives of those who come through the Clinic doors.

From Pharmacists:

Sharon had been cutting her regular dose of Amiodarone in fourths in order to utilize what little supply she had left when she came into Health Partners. Though she had never stepped foot into the facility before this day, she was lined up with an appointment that following week and the Clinic was able to secure a continued supply of Amiodarone for her. Sharon had not even heard of Health Partners before this day, and now she can return to taking her recommended dose

To Social Workers:

Mr. Brown had no clue of his Medicaid eligibility when he walked through the doors of Health Partners. Like many of our patients at the Clinic, he did not understand the qualifications, or the process to find help due to either lack of education or cognitive disability. Mr. Brown met with a Social Service volunteer during a Thursday night open clinic, and she was not only able to inform him that he was eligible for assistance, but also helped him submit the necessary paperwork.

The army of volunteers here at Health Partners keep our community safe and these stories serve as a love letter to their efforts. So now when that little voice starts filling my head with doubt, I just tell one of these stories to the anyone who will listen. I don’t believe there is any better feeling than what giving provides.