I am now going for physical therapy at Shepherd Spinal Center.
It is a world renowned hospital for spinal cord injuries and Multiple Sclerosis.
It all started with the Shepherd’s son, James.
After graduating college in 1973, James went to back pack around the globe.
He was body surfing in South America when a wave slammed into him and broke his neck.
It took years but he did get better.
His parents wanted a place so no other family would suffer like they had.
They built it in his honor and filled it with doctors and specialists and the paralyzed come from all over the world.
I like the therapy I am getting. Annika, is knowledgeable and direct and I can do what she asks.
A very nice change from the days with Nancy and all that panic.
We are focused solely on my feet and ankles and I am pleased with how strong I have become.
I was hesitant at first to even apply because I thought it would be awkward to progress where others around me probably wouldn’t or couldn’t .
My mom reminded me that I, at one point, wouldn’t and couldn’t progress and that I, like them, had very little hope.
So, I go and I am asked often about how I am doing so well and I gladly give the highlight reel of diagnosis and transplant.
Skipping details because these people know the journey.
It’s nice to see hope alight in a face.
To see it at the time the brain registers what you are saying and the way the eyes widen and mouth opens, just enough to let you know your words have hit their mark.
They see me.
They now have renewed prayers and vigor once more for the possibilities.
It’s not so bleak. It’s not all lost.
But, all of this takes place in the MS waiting room, the MS physical therapy room.
To get there, you have to walk through the hospital hallways and ride in the hospital elevators.
It’s there you see the quadriplegics and their families trailing behind the beds and equipment.
You see the extra tray that goes with them to hold all the equipment the bed and the nurses and family can’t hold.
Pumps and bags and the palatable sadness.
There is a heaviness and despair that trails behind them like a vapor.
It takes my breath away, every time.
In the elevator today was a paper bulletin.
It was a list of activities for this month for family members of patients.
Bingo and brunches and interestingly, a magic show.
I pondered that magic show during my entire session today and again on my way out.
I would imagine that all of those families would love to show up and watch the magician “wow” them into forgetting their new realities.
And then I thought..
they would all just want the magician to go with them to their loved ones rooms, stand beside the bed and wave his magic wand over their bodies and make it all go away.
Make the paralysis disappear.
Make the car wreck never happen.
Make the accident funny and harmless, not tragic.
Make the reality change into what it was, before.
Because anything before, is better than it is right now.
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