An athletic woman came up to the first aid station tent of the Medical Reserve Corps and asked, “I need some advice.” She looked somewhat pained.

She was at one of the public events at the USA Pro Cycling race start in Durango, Colorado, and she was dusty along one side of her body.  I was easy to deduce what had happened –she had tumbled off her bike.

“I hurt my shoulder, along here.” she traced a line just above her clavicle.
I know what she feared, but given that she was touching her shoulder and moving it, even somewhat pained, meant she had only a sprain and bruise.  Ice therapy and ibuprofen is all that she needed.  Moments later, one of the doctors came into the tent and verified the diagnosis.  She had three of us now tending to her, 2 EMTs and now a doctor.  She relaxed.

“I am so glad you’re here,” she said in a gentle, sincere voice.
I held the ice pack in place while she waited for her husband.  She offered to hold it herself, which meant contracting multiple anterior muscles, but I just sat next to her holding the ice.  All I could think of was how sore she’d be tomorrow, and how my holding the ice might help reduce that even slightly, and how my sitting with her could ease her emotionally as well.

“I am just so glad you’re here.  Thank you.” She would repeat this again, and again once more in the next hour.

Her sincere thanks made me wonder what ways I can just be there for others.

– Mark Haeussler

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