Finding Light in Dark Places

February 2, 2021
Janelle Thomas MSN, RN
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Fanio Osorio has been working in healthcare for more than 30 years — 20 of them as an LPN. “When I first started in this line of work, I worked closely with a nurse, and I decided to go to school so that I could learn skills that would allow me to help people even more.” He’s been at Care Options for Kids since 2017 and has spent most of 2020 helping to take care of 21-year-old CB.

CB’s story is one of both heartbreak and inspiration. When he was only nine months old, he was involved in a severe car accident that took away his ability to communicate verbally and any hopes of ever walking.

Today, he is a special needs adult who requires help with his activities of daily living — but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t get to enjoy life. “When I arrive at his house in the mornings, he’s already up and ready for his breakfast. I prepare him a special formula, and then we go outside to enjoy the fresh air. I push his wheelchair around the neighborhood and play him music from my phone. He really enjoys that,” explains Fanio. I’ll also play him baby sounds because they make him smile.”

When they get back to the house, Fanio talks to CB. “Even though he can’t talk back, you can tell he enjoys listening to conversations. He pays attention. Sometimes he smiles. Sometimes he laughs.” When not outside or listening to his family and Fanio talk to him, CB likes to play with toys and watch cartoons. “His favorite one is Paw Patrol, so I’ve taken a liking to it as well, since we watch it together,” Fanio laughs. They also work on motor skills exercises, and then CB takes a 30-40 minutes nap.

Fanio also loves how despite his limitations, CB has learned to communicate well with his mother. “He and his mom understand each other so wonderfully. You can see it,” he remarks, impressed. “He also reacts to discomfort, sounds, and light. After a while, you start recognizing what he needs and what he’s trying to communicate.”

“I became an LPN because I like connecting with people and being able to help in any way I can,” states Fanio. And helping to take care of CB gives him a strong sense of purpose. Although he’s used to being a part of CB’s everyday life now, Fanio remembers fondly that first meeting at CB’s house. “Just to meet him and see him having to go through everything he’s gone through, I was just so touched. Right away, I thought, This kid is a miracle.”

Fanio is thankful he gets to be a part of CB’s life. “He survived and he’s still living and teaching us how to appreciate life every single day, every single second,” he explains, getting emotional. “I have never met anyone who’s as strong. It inspires me even more to be part of healthcare. I’m glad I’m part of his life, and I’m glad I chose this career.”