By Donna Scully -
When Steven first came into our Fresno Medical Respite Center in July 2011, he would tell wild, fantastically detailed stories of his actions in “The War” - injuries he sustained and the enemies he killed - but the reality behind each memory was often questionable. He failed to sport the scars to match the wounds described. Richard Lopez, former Academy graduate and now a Community Care Provider on staff with the Mission, felt Steven used these stories to shield himself from strangers. “I think they made him feel strong and safe.”
Over time, Richard learned to break through the barriers Steven created by offering simple acts of kindness. “I supplied him with writing tablets - he would scribble his creations. The more I listened and asked him direct questions, the more his communication remained ‘current’ - less historical.”
One day, Steven’s colostomy bag broke. He had initially been placed in our Respite Center because of a ruptured bowel, requiring prolonged rest in preparation for corrective surgery (when the use of this special apparatus became necessary). When it broke, Steven panicked. Recognizing this, Richard...