I just got back from Norfolk, Virginia where I conducted a four-day Nonviolent Crisis Intervention® Instructor Certification program for staff who worked primarily in the Emergency Department at a large Medical Center. As is always the case, they shared stories from the emergency room and anecdotes about life in their community.
Early in the training they mentioned something about a “Hula Hoop Lady.” They didn’t go into great detail other than to say that she was a regular patient at the centers where they work.
As I was driving to the hospital for the last day of training, sure enough, I passed a woman who looked to be in her mid to late forties hula hooping on a grassy medium between two busy streets waving to people who were honking their horns. I told my group that I had indeed seen the “Hula Hoop Lady of Granby Street.” They shared the story of this woman who was involved in a tragic auto accident on the day of her high school prom. She was in a coma for weeks and suffers from permanent brain damage. She sometimes experiences seizures and has short-term memory loss. The staff told me that she has to try write everything down that she has done or eaten for that day, otherwise she’ll forget. Recently, the police went to investigate complaints about this woman causing noise in the neighborhood and they ended up using a taser on her when she wouldn’t comply with a directive. I watched a heartbreaking video of the incident found in the news. Be forewarned, it is not easy to watch. I cannot help but think of how concepts practiced in our training could best be used during difficult encounters such as this with people who suffer with physiological and psychological impairments.
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