This story comes from Rev. John Rich, RN, and tells a little about his experiences providing Sozo Health Ministry experiences at Central Library on the first Friday of every month:
It was a slower-than-average Friday morning. Not dead, but dull enough that I was looking forward to the end, which was only about five minutes away. I sat at a table in the lobby of the Central Library, stethoscope around my neck and blood pressure cuff in front of me. Health education literature covered the table to my left.
I was here this Friday morning as I am on the first Friday of every month, taking blood pressures, educating people about their health issues, advocating for their care, and listening to their stories and symptoms. A man approached and asked if I could take his blood pressure.
“Sure.” I said.
“Do you remember me?” he asked.
He did look familiar.
“Yeah,” I responded, “I took your blood pressure here a couple months ago.”
“Yep,” he said, smiling, “You sure did. You told me my blood pressure was too high. I thought you’d made a mistake, or your equipment was faulty, or something. I’ve never had high blood pressure, and why would it start now? But I took that card you gave me with my blood pressure numbers on it, and I made an appointment with my doctor and showed it to him. He checked it, too, and said it was high. So he started me on some medication. But since I was in his office, he started going over other things with me, too. Now I’m getting stuff done that I should have done years ago. I got a colonoscopy a couple weeks ago and they found some polyps and removed them before they got any worse.”
“That’s great.” I said, “I’m glad you’re getting the care you need.”
He looked me straight in the eyes, “Never think that what you’re doing here doesn’t matter. I know it might not seem like much to you, just sitting here, taking blood pressures, talking to people, but you’re making a difference. You made a difference with me. Thank you.”
“Thank YOU.” I said, “I really appreciate that.” I wrapped the blood pressure cuff around his upper arm, put my stethoscope earpieces in my ears, squeezed my hand around the pump, then slowly released the pressure as I listened to the blood driving through his arteries, making the tell-tale thumping sound. I watched the monitor closely as the needle moved.
After a few seconds, “That medication is working great.” I announced, “You’re blood pressure is perfect.”