The South Carolina Spinal Cord Injury Association has a Peer Visitor Program to pair newly-injured people with others who have lived successfully with an injury. Peers visit homes, hospitals or anywhere in the community that will help those who are new to living with a spinal cord injury.
I’ve been a peer visitor for several years and find the experience incredibly rewarding. I never know what to expect when I meet a person for the first time, but I’m often amazed at how much I learn from the experience.
Just last week, I met a guy at the hospital who has a C1 injury resulting from gun violence. He uses a ventilator to help him breathe. The doctors and nurses said that he is usually in a bad mood and doesn’t like to be bothered, but the patient allowed me to visit him.
We had a great conversation talking about his favorite football team, the Pittsburgh Steelers. He shared his love for watching comedies and spending time with family and friends.
I explained to him that there will be some rough days in between the good days, but don’t let those things keep you down for too long. I was glad to see him in good spirits when I left.
Even though we have different levels of spinal cord injury, we both know what it’s like to go through a traumatic event. As I’ve mentioned in previous blog posts, it takes time to get used to the new normal. You just have to take it one day at a time.
If you know of anyone who could benefit from having a peer visitor, visit the South Carolina Spinal Cord Injury Association website at http://www.scspinalcord.org/peers-helping-peers/peer-visitor-program.