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They Tried to Make me go to Rehab



For more than a year now, I’ve been trying to help someone who in recent years, has acquired a disability on the late teens. I was told about the situation with the person’s relative restraining tears. I understand the sadness and frustration of the disability hampering the promise of education and career, the feeling of not knowing what to do and where to go. When I was called to hear out some “problem”, I initially thought it was something financial. I was actually waiting for the “how much” part. But then, I realized that it was something else. Of course, we would look at how we could help. The person in need of help has acquired a disability while he was a college student. Before this, life was relatively regular, meaning no disability, no impairing condition. I guess, it was around after a month that I had found time to do something that was of help. I was able to have a conversation with the new person with disability. We got to getting to know basic stuff about each other. I asked how he felt about the situation, how he went about with everyday life, how he sees future plans. I shared how I go about with my life, how I have gone through disability. I guess, you could say, it was a pep talk.


But more than the “pep”, I encouraged initiatives towards rehabilitation. (now, this isn’t about taking the addiction of some drug out of your system.) Rehabilitation is crutches or wheelchair for the orthopedically handicapped, hearing aid and/or sign language for the hearing impaired, Braille and white cane for the visually impaired. It would be a little more difficult to give examples for the other disabilities, but I hope you get the idea. I gave suggestions on practical measures that would help to get life back to rolling again. That would involve getting trained on skills that would help in going back to school and eventually a gainful employment. The person was seemingly responsive, seemed willing and interested. I told him that I would get back to him, them when the schedules for programs and trainings come along.


After a few months, I followed up on them, to refer them to a training program to help the person with disability to go back to school and eventually get a job. Now, I started to have a hard time. I got responses that swung me to and fro. Their family would think it over. They wanted to observe first and take a look at how the program goes. They had a schedule to go to Manila. They were busy. They would do the laundry that Sunday. They were getting emotional, depressed. They were getting embarrassed, and getting concerned on what would friends and acquaintances think when they find out about the disability and the rehabilitation program. These responses were interspersed with expressions of sadness over the situation, fears for the future and bitterness of being tagged along with other persons with disability.


At this point, I had gotten confused. I don’t know what the deal is. They asked for help. I was willing to help. I took the initial measures to help. I thought they were willing to go through the “help”. Then, in the middle of the responses, it seems that they don’t want help, which to me, doesn’t make sense. I poured my heart out into talking them to get up, get out and get the help that would empower them. I waited for the visit that they promised (Of course, no visit happened.) The conversations got to the verge of being heated. Then, I had to pause. Maybe they need time. Maybe they need space. As much as I believe that time is of the great essence and any step towards rehabilitation should start immediately, I had to let it go (at least, for a while).


Another year passed. I invited them again on a training program. I asked about the current situation. I was told that it was pretty much the same. They’ve been bumming around all this time. I asked for a definitive response on attending the training. As they say, I was on “seen zone”. Well, I guess, that’s the way it goes.


July 17 to 23 is National Disability Prevention and Rehabilitation NDPR Week. In Naga, the whole month of July is Disability Month. The NDPR Week’s “primary objective is to stimulate public awareness on disability problems and concerns particularly issues on disability prevention, rehabilitation and equalization of opportunities for persons with disabilities (PWDs).”


Leviticus 19:14 : You shall not curse the deaf or put a stumbling block before the blind, but you shall fear your God.


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