I've heard it said that desperation is the mother of all invention. This often happens in my own life when I'm in the middle of creating delicious cuisine for supper and realize I'm missing some of the key ingredients. =) Since it's more than a hop, skip, or a jump to the nearest store, I usually come up with a different way to tackle the meal in question.
I suspect we've all experienced moments in our lives when we've faced a challenging problem and had to think of a way to handle it in a creative fashion. Like last year at girls' camp when the girls from my ward invented a way to keep the food tent upright. It looked something like this:
What you can't see is the heavy rock they tied to one end of a rope to balance the weight of the tent. They threw it up into the pine tree, using a limb to hold the rope in place. And it worked! True ingenuity! =)
Three sisters that I know used a combination of meditation, prayer, and inspiration to come up with a solution to a dilemma they faced. Their mother had suffered from ill health for quite some time. She was unable to speak and though her mind was sharp until her death, her inability to express her needs was extremely frustrating to everyone involved. Susan, Jean, and Trudy often agonized over how they could help their mother and did their best to serve as translators for the hospital staff until their mother passed from this mortal world.
Susan's husband was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease shortly after these three sisters lost their mother. Once again this family was faced with the problem of being able to communicate with a loved one. Toward the end of Clayton's life, it was nearly impossible for him to express his needs to the hospital staff. In Jean's own words: "No patient should have to suffer such frustration in trying to express simple needs."
She began praying for answers and eventually, some ideas came to mind. She envisioned a small book with simple sentences that corresponded to brightly colored icons. The patient could point to the icons to communicate with hospital staff, family, or friends.
Jean shared her ideas with her sisters, and soon the three of them began working together to create this book. Trudy is a gifted artist and she began coming up with ideas for the icons. Susan and Jean spent hours constructing simple sentences that would help most patients convey their needs or concerns. When it was finished, they used the proto-type with Clayton and were amazed by how well it worked.
Most hospitals have flash cards that are used when patients struggle to communicate. The problem with the cards is the time it takes to find the right one. With this book, the patient can quickly locate the icon that represents his or her concern. It has been used with numerous patients and all have expressed how helpful it has been in situations where communication is limited.
When Susan, Jean, and Trudy saw how well their proto-type worked, they decided to get this helpful tool published. It is now available for purchase on this link: Communication for the Cognizant Nonverbal Patient This sixteen page book has the potential to help most patients who struggle with communication. I've been impressed with its ability to help those who cannot express themselves.
In recent months, one of my Laurels (yes, I'm still serving as the fearless leader for the YW in our ward) was seriously injured in a car accident. She was comatose for a time, and when she finally regained consciousness, she was unable to speak. Susan is her aunt and she loaned the proto-type of this book to her niece and her family. It proved to be an invaluable resource, providing a way for my Laurel to speak with a different voice until hers was restored.
I predict this little book will help countless lives. I am convinced that Jean, Susan, and Trudy were inspired to create it. For less than what you would pay for three gallons of gas, you can have a book on hand that may help a member of your family to maintain dignity and peace of mind.
Welcome to Crane-ium: thoughts, poetry, lyrics & photography of Cheri J. Crane
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