Contributed by Bob Rawlins, consultant to CAIRE Inc.~
Some people I have talked to on our journey are not sure if they can even give back. Some feel they are too sick or don’t have extra money to give. Others feel they don’t have the strength to volunteer. All understandable, but also not true. I tried to give back on even my darkest of days and hours.
So, what a fitting time to think about this subject — this being Thanksgiving week here in the US. It makes us think about how thankful we are for these professionals and what an impact they make to our journey. I am certain they would like to just hear a grateful response to what can be a very thankless job at times. That is a simple idea of giving back. Acts of kindness is one of the best ways to give back to anything, anyone, or any situation.
Anyone can participate in community service, and those contributions are priceless. There is nothing stronger than the heart of a volunteer.
Winston Churchill once said, “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” He isn’t referring to money only.
I have tried to spend my free time speaking, talking, and joining organizations that are raising money for chronic lung diseases. This is through hospitals, drug companies, foundations and just talking to people on the phone. Sharing my experiences and helping others forge through their own adversity means so much to me. Everyone has a journey that may be a little different and just listening to them is a huge way to give back. It is also great therapy for those who are listening.
Expanding your network is a fantastic way to get started. There are so many people that would like to talk to others that are in your same situation. My world has expanded incredibly over these last six–seven years. Acquaintances have become friends, and close friends have become even closer. Sharing my story has provided inspiration to those who are ill, but also for those who are meeting the challenges that life brings as well.
What helped inspire me, I was on one of my support group meetings and there was a gentleman who had just had a double lung transplant a few days earlier, but wanted to share how his experience was to that point. Amazing, here is a man that was so willing to give back to us, talk about his surgery, and recovery up to this point. Granted he had much more to go through. He was still having pain and discomfort, but wanted to share live from his hospital bed to some of us either on the waiting list or contemplating transplant, that he wanted to encourage us to go for it. That didn’t cost a thing. He touched a lot of hearts that night.
I could go on and on in telling you what I have been doing, and I’m happy to say it is many things, but I want you to think about it for yourself and others.
First, giving back will make you feel better and stronger than you’ve ever felt. If you aren’t in the best of physical shape, then work on your mental aspects of giving back. If you are forced to be less mobile, than talk to others. Make people aware of the fact that you can and will share your feelings and experiences with others. I let my doctors and nurses and respiratory professionals know that I was available to talk with any patient under their care about what their journey looked like and how they were coping with it. I have several new friends and several who have now gotten new lungs, waiting for some, and those that will need to deal with their current health situation because they can’t qualify for transplant. It has strengthened my mental attitude, big time!!!
So, friends, find your own way of giving back. If you find yourself under a regular caregiver, tell them how impressive they are. Mine are all rock stars — love them. Get to know them better, and how special their lives are.
Volunteer, if you are well enough, especially in an area that helps others. You won’t regret it. Help in research or a support group. You learn when they learn. I love my hospital volunteering — the most rewarding for me.
Till next time, #coachbob
Love you all!!
Bob Rawlins, 64, of Medina, Ohio, is a double lung transplant recipient and a patient advocate for those who suffer from respiratory diseases and have been prescribed supplemental oxygen therapy. He is husband to Terese and father to their 18-year-old triplets. He also has two grown twin sons and four grandchildren. He serves as a hospital volunteer, band dad and chaperone, and marketing guru.
The contents of this blog post are not intended to substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult your physician for personalized medical advice. When using any oxygen therapy device please consult the applicable product instructions for use for product indications, contraindications, warnings, precautions, and detailed safety information.
Image by Alexandra Koch from Pixabay