Every October for the past five years, we’ve been asked to speak at the Medical College of Wisconsin. The past couple times have been virtual, due to Covid, but this year we resumed giving our talk in person. In person or virtual, we’re always honored to be asked back.
Our presentation — the slides and our talking — stays pretty much the same from year to year. We give a summary of Namine’s life and the equipment she’s had over the course of her life so far. Of course, we update it a bit. For example, she now has the bath lift, whereas when we spoke last October we were still waiting for it. It seems we’re always waiting for something though, since now it’s a new wheelchair.
While talking about Namine’s equipment, we also address the problems and frustrations we’ve had. As you might expect, the most resistance is from insurance. A new wheelchair is typically only approved every five years, while children in their rebellion continue growing. (How dare they.) This is just one example!
We also talked about communication between medical staff and parents. Even between Jessica and myself, we have different perspectives and memories that color how we approach communication with Namine’s doctors. Illustrating those differences, even between a close married couple, provides medical students with a good example of why clear communication is so crucial.
After our speech was done and all the students had left, the Complex Care coordinator, Dr. Jessica Schnell, gave Namine a present. In years past — the times we’ve presented in person, anyway — she likes to give her something. As a lover of science, it’s always been something interesting.
This year’s gift was two books, on finding rocks and fossils, and animal watching. Namine and I love to do both while on our bike rides; now Namine has journals for documenting her finds!