If you do not know who Patch Adams is, please this instant, forget this blog and go look up this amazing man. If you can call him that.
I find myself ‘speechless’ as I desire to bring up all of the surreal blessed blissitude of the Gesundheit Institute and the life of Patch Adams.
First of all, I recommend getting real close to your heart, right now.
Are you there yet?
If you can’t get there, let me help.
Think of Winnie the Pooh or close your eyes and imagine your favorite dream in the world, one out of this world, with big bubbles and colorful skies and laughter and love and beauty and extravagance. (Maybe that’s not all of our dreams? ^^) At least perhaps there is a smile that has cracked upon that beautiful face of yours.
A world of wonder. Of enjoyment. Of magic. Of play.
Patch Adams (seriously look him up dood) “entered medical school in 1967 to use medicine as a vehicle for social change.” He used his free time to “study the history of health care delivery around the world and to look at contemporary models with the idea of creating a medical model that would address all the problems of the way care is delivered. I didn’t intend to create a model that would be the answer to the problems; but to model creative problem solving, and to spark each medical facility to design their own ideal rather than succumb to the garbage of managed care, or a resignation to the impossibility of humanistic care”
I look through the 3 page “Vision for a Free Hospital Based on Fun and Friendship” that I have before me and I scramble to do it justice. There is such love, such devotion in the ideas of this man! The desire behind this hospital is to offer free of charge medical care, full of love “the loudest cry of patients was for compassion and attention, which was a call for time. So initial interviews with patients were three to four hours long, so that we could fall in love with each other. Intimacy was the greatest gift we could give them, especially in a death bed, with intractable pain or chronic, unsolved medical problems.”
“Good health is much more deeply related to close friendships, meaningful work, a lived spirituality of any kind, an opportunity for loving service and an engaging relationship to nature, the arts, wonder, curiosity, passion and hope”
“This is why we fully integrated medicine with performing arts, arts and crafts, agriculture, nature, education, recreation and social service, as essential parts of health care delivery”
Patch Adam’s vision IS the epitome of what I believe. Of what I believe in. What is so special about his approach is that it is radical as well as all inclusive. It is not rejecting of knowledge or medical practices, only how they are practiced and seeks to utilize all of these things.
Patch Adams believed his hospital would be funded and running within a year of graduating from Medical School. It ha now been 33 years. After a world renown movie where Patch Adams is played by Robin Williams, the necessary funds have still not been gathered. Still. You know what is so FREAKING beautiful in this? IS that this dream is still so alive! SO thriving! IF the hospital had been funded, it would be up and running. Instead, it is not. Patch Adams travel the world to garnish support. But he also engages with other health care practitioners to help them infuse joy, relationality into their own practice and lives. He is bringing the change on a huge scale that I am not sure would have been if the hospital had been built according to schedule. Beyond this, 30 years of believing in a dream is SUCH a strong testimony of inspiration for ANYONE that believes in something. That has a dream. That meets with impossibility. Look at how magical, inspiring Patch Adam is. At how he brings waves in the lives of so many!
The Gesundheit Institute is a site to behold. Though the hospital is not running, there are buildings built. In magnificent magic. Childhood dreams. Why do we not build this way?
I sat on the steps of the art building. And wept.
Wept like a hurt little girl. All I want, All I want. Is to help people. “I want to be smart” I said. Looking at the beanie babies sitting beside me. The bye bye polar bear art piece behind me. All the ways in which people pain. All I want. Is to heal that. Is to answer to that.
I had caught a sickness at Living Energy farm that was not shaking. Fever and chills and soar in my throat. We went to the Waterfall. Mint in the water. Everyone continued the tour. I sat in the water. Shed my clothes, dived myself into the water. Revived.
Skipping through the forest and laughing.
I played clarinet in the art building, finally wandered to the main house. Walked up the rooms in awe and wonder.
As we watched the Patch Adams movie, surrounded by people that I love and love that love me. I was overwhelmed with hope. We can do this.
Magic. Affection. Love.
I feel so strongly. The importance of one.
I think that we so often want to have HUGE, REAL impact on the world. We forget that ONE person IS the World.
It is SO worth it. To help ONE person. To dedicate yourself to care for them. To love them. To be there for them. To bring ONE person joy, happiness, strength. ONE person changes the world.
Never, never forget what is right in front of you, right beside you. Bless those around you. Heal those around you. Love one person. Make one person smile.
Never forget, the importance of one.
That’s what’s so beautiful. That one person, in this huge world, where there are so many of us, that we might seem all unimportant, that ONE person, ONE life is such a gem, so worth your time, so worth your love.
We love you.
Thank you Patch Adams.
Please check out the work of this amazing human:
and you can donate to the amazing project that is the Gesundheit Institute:
Also check out the Patch Adam movies! There is one with Robin Williams but also the Real Patch Adams is a documentary on the man and his projects.