What Physical Therapy Taught Me About Being Strong
I am not sure if I will ever get over my first day at the hospital. It was one of those days where everything just seemed so wrong. My body felt like it had been through hell and back, but I still couldn’t move anything.
When I woke up from surgery, all I could think about was getting out of there as soon as possible!
My mom came home from work early that morning and when she saw me lying there, she immediately started screaming at me. She didn’t even let go of my hand until I told her what happened. After telling her the whole story, she got really upset with me and said “You need to stop complaining!” She then went into full blown depression mode.
She would cry every single time I mentioned going to the doctor or going to school (which was pretty much every other day).
It wasn’t long before I began to feel like I was living in a nightmare. Every night after bedtime, I would try to fall asleep, but the nightmares kept coming back. One night while I was trying to sleep, my mother came into my room and sat next to me on the edge of the bed.
She held my hand tightly and looked right into my eyes as she whispered “Please don’t leave.”
That’s when something inside me snapped. I didn’t want to feel that way anymore.
On my last day of high school, I decided to leave the house and go for a drive. I stopped by the school and found it empty. As I was sitting in the parking lot, I saw my principal walk out of the school.
He left the door open, so I walked inside.
As I was taking my last stroll down the hallways of my school, memories started rushing back at me. All of the happy times I experienced there came flooding into my mind. I stopped by my locker, opened it, and took one last look at it.
I then walked to the nurse’s office, and right when I walked in, she looked up from her desk and said “Hello.”
I told her that I was ready to go back to class, and she just gave me a weird look.
I started driving around for a little while and found myself at the pier. I parked my car near the boardwalk and just sat there for a while, watching the seagulls fly over the beach.
I then remembered the day when me and my friends went to that exact same spot and we had a great time flying paper airplanes. That was one of my happiest days in high school.
I got out of the car and started walking on the beach as the waves gently crashed into the sand. I kept walking until I couldn’t hear any more cars. Then, I just stopped and looked around.
The clouds in the sky were magnificent. The sun was setting far off in the distance and everything seemed so surreal. In that moment, everything felt perfect.
I decided to lay down in the sand. I looked up at the clouds and took one last deep breath of fresh air. The sound of seagulls screeching was almost hypnotic.
I felt my body slowly fall into a state of weightlessness and before I knew it, everything around me began to disappear.
I woke up on a gurney with a bunch of paramedics hovering around me.
One of them asked me “What’s your name?”
The following day I woke up in a hospital bed with no memory of who I was. In front of me, there was a woman sitting on a chair. When she saw that I had awoken, she slowly approached me and whispered “Hello, son.” She then told me that I had been in a coma for a little over 2 years, and it would be best if I started from the beginning.
“Call me John” was all I could say as she handed me a mirror. When I looked into the mirror, I got the chills. I had no idea who this person was…..I’m still not even sure to this day.
I asked the woman “Who am I?”
She started crying as she held me tightly “You’re my son, and I missed you so much.” Those words brought a tear to my eye. I felt loved. After everything that had happened to me, I was finally home.
“It’s OK mom, I’m home now.”
I started crying as I finally knew what it felt like to be home.
Sources & references used in this article:
Mental imagery and its potential for physical therapy by L Warner, ME McNeill – Physical Therapy, 1988 – academic.oup.com
Expert practice in physical therapy by GM Jensen, J Gwyer, KF Shepard, LM Hack – Physical therapy, 2000 – academic.oup.com
Sisterhood is powerful by R Morgan – New York, 1970 – books.google.com
What is empathy, and can empathy be taught? by CM Davis – Physical therapy, 1990 – academic.oup.com
Using clinical outcomes to explore the theory of expert practice in physical therapy by L Resnik, GM Jensen – Physical Therapy, 2003 – academic.oup.com
Cases that have taught me a lot by JL Linares – Clinical child psychology and psychiatry, 2007 – journals.sagepub.com
Clinical reasoning strategies in physical therapy by S Wegscheider-Cruse – 1989 – Science & Behavior Books
Teaching human anatomy in physical therapy education in the United States: A survey by I Edwards, M Jones, J Carr, A Braunack-Mayer… – Physical …, 2004 – academic.oup.com
Brando: Songs My Mother Taught Me by GE Mattingly, CE Barnes – Physical therapy, 1994 – academic.oup.com