Tuesday, December 7, 2010

What a wonderful experience

Today I had a truly wonderful experience at work. This morning I was at the neurology ward trying to find a patient that I was supposed to examine. But this patient had just been picked up for his MRI, and I was on my way upstairs to our office again, when the physiotherapist and occupational therapist stopped me asking me if I wanted to join them with Mr. A., a 30-year-old patient from India. Mr. A. has been on the ward for almost a year now, when he came he was in a vegetative state following mengingitis and emergency brain surgery. Now, he is slowly starting to wake up more and more, he is starting to be responsive to touch and sound and is able to follow simple instructions. Mr. A has only been in Austria for 5 years, he has no relatives here and for the longest time our physiotherapists and occupational therapists have only spoken German with him, when one of them decided to try out speaking English to which he responded a lot better. Unfortunately their English is limited, especially when it comes to giving directions needed for their therapeutic work. Riding up in the elevator with Mr. A and the occupational therapist I told her that I speak English really well, and if she wanted I could help her with it - something that she really appreciated.

What really touched me was seeing Mr. A's eyes light up and his face slowly being drawn into a smile when I started chatting with him in English. I told him about the cold weather and the snow, I translated all the instructions given by the occupational therapist, and seeing him smile and giggle simply made my day.

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