Letting the Body Speak

By Shae Hadden

My very first job was as a nursing assistant in a chronic care hospital. At the tender age of 14, I donned my starched nurse’s cap and white uniform to spend several hours each day tending to those who could not care for themselves. Natural processes critical to the body’s survival—eating, drinking, defecating, urinating, moving, breathing—had become a moment-by-moment challenge for many of the people we cared for. Most had lived in this state for innumerable years—there were few new faces in the wards and even fewer visitors during the two summers I worked there.

thing that struck me most about the patients’ lives was the silence—the
absence of any sounds of life emanating from them. The few exceptions
were the ‘babblers’. The music teacher who sang a music only she could
hear and who conducted the world with her hands permanently wrapped in
bandages to protect them from the damage she inflicted on them. The
50-year-old man confined to bed and paralyzed from the waist down with
a libido

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