Sunday, October 18, 2020

Further Reach

About ten years ago, I started speaking at local colleges. I had been going to area Christian schools to talk about disability awareness and serving God with whatever tools we're given. I now had this new contraption of a diaphragm pacemaker and thought it would be something helpful for students.

I have been a regular speaker now for students studying physical therapy, occupational therapy, EMS, respiratory therapy, and occasional nursing classes. However, all the classes have been within driving distance from home. The furthest I have gone was two hours away, and didn't really want to go that far for an hour-long presentation.

With this year's pandemic, everything shut down and many things, like college classes, moved to meeting virtually. This summer, I did a couple of my regular classes, but through webcam. It wasn't the same as in person, but still went pretty well. Leading two virtual classes with local schools made me wonder about trying other colleges that are too far away to physically visit. Therefore, I contacted a counselor friend from camp who teaches OT in Indianapolis. It took a while to find a willing group, but I did a virtual class Thursday with an occupational therapy student organization.

The first 15 minutes of the hour were taken by a business meeting. Therefore, I had 45 minutes to do a presentation that generally goes a little over an hour. I skipped most of the videos I usually show and only lightly covered areas I generally explain further, but it generally went well. I go over how I use my mouth stick, wheelchair, and do regular stretching routines to decrease muscle spasms. In the years I have been living the quad life, more technology has enabled more therapy, but the basics still apply. My regular assistant, Sara, was still out on sick leave as well, but dad did a good job in helping where needed.

Now my thoughts are wondering about trying more schools, but the question is how. For my current visits, I emailed several instructors and a few of them responded to give me a try. I could do the same and see what happens, but it's not something I like doing very well.

I'm thankful for all the years God has used me to go and talk with different groups. Even with the problems associated with COVID, it has opened up new potential areas. I will see where God takes me with this venture and if it is His will to do more, then the replies will come. I never know what to expect, but I will see what the week brings.

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