I was at a Stroke Convention in Tuscaloosa, home of the Crimson Tide aka the University of Alabama. I was scheduled to speak the next day and was at a small dinner party the evening before.
Seated next to me was a physical therapist.
I turned to him and said, "Thank you."
He thanked me back and looked at me a bit perplexed. It gave me a chance to tell him why I did that.
I told him that he really helped people like me. When I had my stroke, there I was in a hospital bed, struck down, and trying to piece my life back together. Therapy was part of the path to do just that.
I told him that helping people is what you do. I told him that when your time with them is over you move on to the next patient. BUT. The person you helped never forgets you.
I'll bet you all kinds of therapists can tell you the following story.
The story of their joy in seeing someone leave the room better than when they entered it. The story of knowing they helped a train get back on the tracks. The story of seeing a patients' joy in doing things they thought they'd never do again.
Therapists see you at your most vulnerable. We all know that old nursery rhyme about 'all the king's horses and all the king's men.' Therapists help put Humpty Dumpty back together again.
My therapy included Speech, Physical, and Occupational. Three hours a day, five days a week.
The hard work.
How it seemed like real hard work at the time. How your body couldn't do the simplest of things and how over time it got easier to do them.
Therapists help all kinds of patients.
From heart attack survivors to people who've had knee surgery to rotator cuff patients to cancer survivors to those learning how to talk again to stroke survivors like me. Helping you to go back to your work, your home, your family.
The list of who they help is a long one.
But, that's what they do.
On paper it's one of many jobs. But to us?
It's more than just a job. It's a life raft.
They deserve the love.
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