It has been eight months since I started my mandatory Substitute Services in the nursing institution. My duty here is simple, live in there and do whatever my supervisor told me to. So apart from doing therapeutic activity as an occupational therapist, I also need to sweep the floor, bring water supply to the rooms, transfer heavy goods from a truck or even bring entertainment to the children of the institution. For example, last month, to celebrate Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival, the institution was having an outdoor barbecue, and we four Substitute Services Draftees was assigned to “DANCE” on the stage! Not only that, they also want some popular dancing songs or at least exciting songs to give those children some “highness”. For that, they approve us to dance ”bar bar bar” by Crayon Pop and “Party Rock Anthem” by LMFAO. Therefore, my comrade and I had to practice dancing many nights and then dance in front of one hundreds children and their care-givers. Oh, man, how embarrassing!
But I think that is worth it though. Despite we called the service users “children”, their average age is actually more than forty years old (most of their mental age do not exceed ten years old though). Most of them have passed the peak age of their physical or mental health, some of them were obviously declining in every aspect of their health condition. It’s not difficult to find out that most of them have little potential to gain new skill or new ability, and many of them could only deteriorate. In other word, expecting them to be more competent is too much to hope for, we can only maintain their health condition and current abilities. Therefore, my job is no longer just to provide rehabilitation program, more importantly, I need to play with them. I need to make them happy. Their health is like an unfixable broken bridge. It’s so fragile that even some small pressure could make it collapse. It’s so decrepit that no reinforcement could change the inevitable. But at least we could paint it with color. Fill their heart with joy. Help them to enjoy the life as they know.