Why rehab is worth it.

I am a little more than halfway through: The Long Run: A New York City Firefighter's Triumphant Comeback from Crash Victim to Elite Athlete. In case you missed my last post, Matt is a marathon runner & ironman, who gets hit by a truck and impaled by his bike post, breaks multiple bones, and destroys his entire abdominal cavity. The book chronicles his recovery & return to endurance sports.
The Long Run: A New York City Firefighter's Triumphant Comeback from Crash Victim to Elite Athlete

I knew this would have an impact on me as a runner.

I never thought it would have such a huge impact on me professionally as a rehab physical therapist.

Even though I specialize in strokes and brain injuries, I love me a good multi-trauma. As weird as it sounds, when someone like Matt is on the list to come in, I get excited. Not excited that they injured themselves so badly that they need my help, but excited to work with interesting problems, troubleshoot through the tough stuff, and help someone get back to living.

Reading about Matt's struggles with his therapists, reminded me of struggles I go through with my patients regularly. 

They're tired

It hurts

It's hard to see the progress

Embarrassment and frustration at their current status

I'm the person that can't care if you're tired or it hurts. I'm the person that tells you it's time to get off your ass and go for a walk even though you haven't in 8 weeks. I'm the one that pushes you to do what you think you can't, all so I can help you get back to your life.

There have been plenty of times when I cried after one of my patients walked for the first time, or climbed a flight of stairs. I cry especially when the ones I've really pushed to get where they are, have progressed enough to get home.

My job in many ways is so satisfying. Working with a patient like Matt (even though he does give his therapists a hard time), makes my job worthwhile. 

A few years ago, I had a 21 year old guy fall asleep at the wheel and hit a tree. He showed me pictures of the car, I was surprised he lived. He broke his pelvis, his arm, his leg. He was only allowed to use 1 arm. He stayed at the hospital for almost 2 months. The day he was allowed to use his legs & walk, I cried. The day he was able to use his arm to try a break dancing move the biggest smile was on his face. A year later he auditioned for So you think you can Dance, and made it to the Vegas round. He told me he made sure the cameras knew how awesome his physical therapist was. so. worth. it.

It makes me think about training. There will always be times when we feel too tired, too much pain, or not good enough. Having someone to tell you that you can, and push you to succeed makes all the difference.

Happy training!

9 comments:

Elizabeth said...

great post! and so true!

LauraElaine said...

As a fellow P.T., I couldn't agree more!!!

Wells L said...

My training partner "L" is a PTA and my office at work is right across the hall from o/p rehab - it's a remarkable profession you're in. Great post!!!! Can't wait to read the book. I'm sharing your post with our rehab department.
Thanks!

Staci said...

Great Post, thank you. Just what I need to remember coming up to my first marathon.

BabyWeightMyFatAss said...

Awesome post!

Jason said...

This was great and true testament that it takes a village to build an athlete. Even when there are no injuries to come back from we need all the support and help to comfort and push at the same time.

Allison said...

Just an awesome book all the way around. What an inspiration - I remember the Sunday I finished the book - I had a scheduled 6 mile run that I was NOT excited about - and then I thought "IF Matt can run a freakin' marathon with no glutes - I can get up and run six miles"

Still think about that each time I not really motivated to work out

Rehab was the best thing for me after surgery as well - b/c of my awesome PT I back at 100% and have little to no issues.

Allison said...

Just an awesome book all the way around. What an inspiration - I remember the Sunday I finished the book - I had a scheduled 6 mile run that I was NOT excited about - and then I thought "IF Matt can run a freakin' marathon with no glutes - I can get up and run six miles"

Still think about that each time I not really motivated to work out

Rehab was the best thing for me after surgery as well - b/c of my awesome PT I back at 100% and have little to no issues.

Aimee said...

Awesome!

 
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