What Has Occupational Therapy Meant to Me?
As the holiday season gets into full swing, we as a society tend to do a lot of self-reflection. We often share with friends and family what we are thankful for and how our lives have changed over the course of the year. Many of us go as far as making New Year’s Resolutions which are basically ways we’d like to improve ourselves during the upcoming year.
As an Occupational Therapist, I have seen people during some of the worst times of their lives. Many of my patients have suffered from debilitating illnesses, surgeries, accidents, and other life-changing events that have left them feeling vulnerable and scared. Over the course of their treatments I have aided in their recovery—teaching coping strategies and techniques to return to normal daily life.
Seeing people go from their worst to their best, has been both fulfilling and rewarding. Helping someone return to their lives outside of the hospital, nursing home, and even hospice care, where they can lead a productive life independently or with their loved-ones, is a tremendous honor. I am personally thankful that I have been able to be a part of so many of these success stories.
One particular story that helps me get through the difficult times at work, was a man we’ll call Victor. He came to the facility I worked in completely dependent—unable to even sit up on his own or feed himself. His family had their religious leaders come and pray for him as they weren’t sure he’d make it through the night. Over the course of three-months, we worked together nearly every day.
In the beginning, it was physically hard-work. I often felt exhausted after each therapy session. But, despite the difficulties, we formed a strong bond of friendship. I was met with a smile every time I entered his room—even when the session was going to cause him pain, both emotionally and physically.
As time went on, Victor got better. Before we realized it, he was able to sit up, stand, and even walk. He left the facility using a walker and I helped him into his wife’s car as they were headed back to the Midwest for the summer. I was so happy, but sad I wouldn’t see my friend every morning after breakfast.
Winter came back around a few months later and who walked into the therapy-gym without the need for a walker or even a cane? That’s right, Victor! He and his wife came back to show me how well he was doing and to specifically tell me: “You made this possible. You helped him believe in himself enough to get better. Thank, you.”
So, when I’m having a difficult day I think back to Victor and how I helped him—and how he helped me. I’m thankful for all the people that showed me that what I do on a daily basis made a difference to them and their families. And I look forward to next year and all the opportunities I will have to make a difference.
I am thankful for Arbor Therapy for allowing me to be a part of an innovative, stand-out, clinic that has begun providing services to the community.