Monday, October 11, 2010

Compassion and Competence

Last week was busy and wonderful at The Coleman Institute.

We helped a married couple with two children detox off a variety of opiates they’d been using for some several years. They’d kept it a secret from their family, but their lives had turned into a series of exhausting, shame-filled activities centered around getting money for drugs, hiding, and trying to hold things together with a very thin thread.

Another great guy came from Oklahoma with his entourage; the whole fam damily was with him! It was so fun to work with him and help him get off the 120mg of methadone he’s been a slave to for seven years. I think all of us here in Richmond would have a warm welcome in Oklahoma, should we head west.

Finally, a woman who’s been on the maximum doses of fentanyl for back pain for many years, sick of her dependence on medications, tired of the side effects, the lack of energy, the minimal pain relief being provided, bravely went through an Accelerated Opiate Detox. I checked in with her a couple days later. She also works in the medical field and said, “I cannot find one bad thing to say about my experience. Every single one of you were so nice and professional. I told my Mom I want to volunteer at The Coleman Institute.” That felt pretty good, because honestly, our staff really does love working in this specialized field. We’ve got the right blend of compassion and competence to get people through a tough process.

Joan R. Shepherd, NP

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