Lifelong Learning Programme

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Personal Experience

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The importance of communicate

Language: English
Country: Italy
Typology: health care professionals
Two experiences particularly affected me and convinced me even more of the importance of my profession, and of the importance of the ability to communicate. The first one is represented by the first patient with ALS I took care of: at the first session, the patient came in wheelchairs but he had preserved the ability to let out a faint voice and move one of his hands. He was seriously dysarthric, so he could no longer make himself understood by anyone. I drew for him a very simple alphabetical table to be used basically by pointing at letters and another table with simple drawings to quickly describe his primary needs. He was very happy. A few months after, he was hospitalized again, but this time he could not make any movement except for closing his eyes. Inspired by a book, I drew a table that he could use with his eyes. He immediately said "I love you" to his wife, and then "thank you" to me. It was a very strong emotion that made me understand that communicating, even more that moving or eating, was the most important thing for a human being with still cognitive capacities. The second experience is represented by a laryngectomized patient who had not been able to speak for the last six months: no one had taken him to the speech therapist. He came to me thanks to another patient, and I taught him to use his erigmophonic voice. Since then, he has always told me that I am his second mother because I taught him how to speak again.

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