Sozo Health Ministry: It’s the Little Things

Posted on Posted in Health Ministry, Patchwork History

Imagine that you have a medical procedure scheduled–a colonoscopy. Your doctor says it’s important and you believe him and start making arrangements so you can make it to your appointment.

You don’t own a car, and neither do your good friends–the ones who would drop anything to help you out whenever you needed it. There does happen to be one person who you can call who has a car, but she’s not a close friend and it’s a little bit of an imposition.

She agrees to take you, but the day before your appointment she changes her mind. Maybe she decided it will take too much gas or maybe something else came up. Luckily she let you know before you began to prep yourself! You have to cancel your appointment.

The next day, you stop in at Patchwork and you happen to talk to that guy who runs the Health Ministry there. Yes! If you can get another colonoscopy scheduled he will drive you to it. So you do.

On the day of your procedure, he’s there on time. During the car ride, you mention that you’re afraid. Yesterday you felt a lump on your body. Is it cancer? He is reassuring and makes plans for you to come to Patchwork tomorrow where you can use the phone (yours isn’t working) and he will help you figure out who to call.

With the health ministry guy driving, you arrive for your colonoscopy on time and at the right office. You check in, and your driver is told he must stay until the procedure is over, something that neither of you expected. He assures you that all will be well and he’s not angry at having to wait.

You go back for the procedure, and the doctor realizes that you haven’t been prepping for it for long enough. You knew you needed to start drinking the medicine last night, but the pharmacy is too far away for you to walk to get it. This morning was the soonest you could get someone with a car to bring you the medicine you needed, so you’d decided that would have to be good enough.

Your doctor decides that he can still do the colonoscopy today–but he will have to keep you till last. That adds three hours to your appointment. Your driver, the health ministry guy, will have to wait that extra time. But it’s OK. He’s willing, and he’s here for support.

After the procedure is over, he takes you home and helps you understand what the follow up will be like. His presence made a difference, and you are grateful. You’re not quite sure whether he’s a nurse or a doctor or something else, but you’re glad that your visit to Patchwork got you connected with him.

Notes from 40 Years at Patchwork:

The old synagogue that was the original Patchwork Central Meetinghouse burned down in December of 1983. The time after the fire was one of reflection: Would Patchwork rebuild? Was part of Patchwork’s ministry simply its presence at the corner of 6th and Washington? How should the money from the insurance settlement be used, on a new building or on ever expanding programming? If Patchwork rebuilt, what should the building look like? How would the group’s dreams for their new space match the financial realities they experienced?

After much thought, conversation, meetings, and financial contributions, construction of a new Meetinghouse began in August of 1985. Dana Sahlhoff served as the construction supervisor. A large amount of the work was completed through Patchwork Community Members’ volunteer labor in addition to time volunteered by union members. The walls for the new building were up by Christmas 1985.

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