Be a Helper.

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Sometimes, I reflect on the work I do and feels truly blessed. To be able to help patients that suffer with GI distress feel better and move on with their lives…is the best feeling. But, the reality is, whether you work in healthcare, teach in a school or preach at a church, or simply act like a good human being, we are all in the position to help one another.

In the face of tragedy, one of my favorites of all times, Mr. Rogers said, “Always look for the helpers.” Living in the US and seeing the catastrophic events of 9/11, it takes no time at all to see who showed up to help. There were helpers everywhere in the footage of those events.

This week, while walking my dog, Lucy, I could see my 96 year old neighbor sitting out in his front yard. I started waving as Lucy and I approached his home…crazily waving, as I do. I yelled, “How are you doing today?” His response, “Fabulous!” 🙂 I asked him what the secret to his success was for living such a fruitful (he provided years of service to the American Armed Forces) and long life, he replied, “Italian blood. And….Prune Juice.”  I giggled inside thinking of all my FODMAPers. Hmmm, maybe no prune juice for us! We chatted for a while, and I reminded him that I live just a few doors down, encouraging him to call should he need anything. His response, caught me a bit off guard, “You already saved my life, what more could I ask for?” So…let’s back up again, he had fallen while taking a walk in our neighborhood several years ago. I saw the fall, ran to his side, encouraged him to relax and called the ambulance. He had experienced a bad muscle tear and timely medical help played a role in his healing. He never forgot that help. And, I feel honored to have the chance to help him.

Years ago, when my babies were small and Russ and had only a nickel to rub together, our doorbell rang at 5 in the morning. I ran to see who it was. I recognized that it was a Russian woman who lived in our neighborhood. She spoke little English and walked past our house daily to catch the bus to work every morning. My kids and I would see her everyday, mid-afternoon, on her way back home. “How are you doing today?”, I would ask. “I alright. I alright.”  I loved her little accent but it was her smiling eyes that always warmed my heart.

When I peeked out my door at the wee hours of that morning, I could see that our sweet neighbor was distraught. The health professional in me, asked her , “Are you short of breath? Diabetic? Having chest pain? Should I call an ambulance?  She admitted to chest pain and the need to call for help. The ambulance arrived and off she went. About 2 weeks after this event, the doorbell rang. It was the Russian woman and her daughter. She brought me some of her gorgeous garden tomatoes and…cash, one hundred dollars. I adamantly insisted that I would not take the money…but,  I learned quickly, that apparently, I had NO chance of winning the argument. In all honesty, at that time, one hundred dollars felt like a million to Russ and I. It meant groceries for the kids. A gift. Karma.

What you put out to the universe, comes back. We all can be helpers. And, we all will need helpers sometime in our life. It is easy to get caught up in our own lives, but keep an eye out for those that need you. They are there…all around us. Every day.

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