Over the winter holiday break, I had lunch in Orlando with an AmeriCorps member, Brittany that I served with on the Emergency Response Team with AmeriCorps St. Louis, last year. She was experiencing chronic pain and could barely walk due to her current back issues. We were discussing possible ways to relieve the pain because it was affecting her performance and day-to-day relations with her team members. We were finishing up our meal and she looked at me, “Rebecca, having a body is hard.” Our bodies are constantly changing every day, and sometimes it’s difficult to manage our own bodies. We are all put in these bodies that we had no choice over.
My name is Rebecca Miller and I proudly serve as a National Health Corps Florida AmeriCorps member at Barnabas Health Services in Fernandina Beach, Florida for adults with no health insurance and who are 200% below the poverty line. I serve the patient who was a local police officer until they had to retire before 50 because of a brain tumor that turned into lymphedema. I serve the patient who came in because of a concerning sinus infection that was diagnosed as throat cancer. I serve the patient who lost their support system because they kept making decisions controlled by their unmediated Bipolar 2 disorder. Yes, like Brittany, I agree that having a body is hard. My patients are more than proof of that. My patients’ courage to address their health issues, however, proves something else too: that people have the strength to learn and master their bodies. They inspire me every day.
They make me strive to serve them better. How can I equip my patients with the resources to maintain their health? I empower them by providing them as much knowledge as I can. I teach them how to understand their vitals; I have a conversation with them about their diet; I point them to different facilities and specialists that will help them based on their health and financial needs. I will make sure that my patient who is struggling with obesity will be referred to a facility with machines that can fit them into an MRI machine to get a valid reading. Because they deserve it. We’ve all got our own hurdles to overcome in this magical journey we call life, and we do our best to stay strong and find solutions. Every day, I get excited to serve my patients at Barnabas as they gain more answers and hope to understand their bodies.
This blog post was written by NHC FL AmeriCorps memebr Becca Miller.
Becca serves at Barnabas as a Care Coordinator.