A true hero
This piece is dedicated to all of my former teachers, my friends who are teachers and those aspiring to be teachers.
I debated for more than a week whether I could actually write a piece on this particular situation that I witnessed. I wasn’t confident that I could capture the shear amount of beauty and love present in this story. I am still not completely sure I can convey my extremely full heart as I write, but I intend to share this story, because it is something that moved me tremendously.
I was working at the hospital. My patient for the day was a 19 year old female. She overdosed on pain medicine. She was small in size and meek in demeanor. Her name was Lisa. She was quiet, and she was deaf. I wave to her, completely unsure how to communicate with someone who doesn’t hear or speak. I rack my brain for ideas and finally grab a piece of paper…
“Good morning, my name is Liz. I will be sitting with you today.”
She smiles and shakes her head up and down in understanding. She seems sweet. We sit there for awhile watching the TV with low sound and subtitles. I over hear the nurses saying that a person will be coming up to see her, didn’t hear who, I assume her mother or another family member. About an hour later a woman comes into the room.
Lisa looks thrilled as this lady walks in the door. I’m glad to see her smile again, as most of my patients are not joyous about much. The lady introduces herself as Ann. Ann explains to me that Lisa’s parents were drug addicts who gave her up to her grandparents. She then divulges that this sweet, meek young woman was sexually abused by her grandfather for the past 10 years and that she had finally told someone. I then begin to wonder who this lady was… an aunt? family friend? case manager? foster parent? I don’t ask, and continue to listen to her speak of Lisa. She speaks of how smart she is, despite her harsh upbringings and substandard English skills. She brags about her sense of humor, her kindness and her perseverance.
The doctor comes into the room and asks if Ann will interpret for him. She states that legally she can’t. The doctor asks her relation to Lisa. She states “I am her teacher.”
I am floored. After the doctor leaves to go find an interpreter, she explains her role in Lisa’s life. She explains that she has been her teacher for over 2 years and that Lisa will graduate from high school in May. She tells me that she is planning on moving Lisa into her house after she is released from the hospital. She tells me she has no one else and she would rather risk ethical and legal dilemmas than allow her to be put into a group home where she would be without an interpreter and all by herself. Ann explains to me that it is her mission to help Lisa become self sufficient. She tells me the plans she has to help Lisa obtain her dream of going to college and become a teacher of the deaf.
This beautiful woman who doesn’t get paid extra for being here at the hospital with this hurt child, is doing everything she can to give Lisa what she deserves as a human being. She advocates for the deaf and is a warrior for eliminating heartache in this young student’s life. She is striving to help Lisa realize that there is love, kindness and compassion in the world. Lisa didn’t need a superhero, she just needed her teacher.