Guy: So are you still in therapy?
Guy: How long were you in therapy?
Me: Several months.
Guy: How many months?
Me: About 7-8 months.
Guy: So 8 months?
Me: Yes, about.
Guy: Why did you stop?
Me: Because insurance only pays for a certain amount of time.
Guy: Did you see any improvement or are you still the same?
Me: Well, yes and no. Um, I got a lot stronger. And um, I wasn’t able to lift up my right arm at all. Now it’s almost back to normal.
Guy: Can you write with your right hand?
Me: Um, yes.
Guy: Do you feel like going to therapy was worth it or do you think you would have gotten those things on your own over time?
Me: Yes, I think it helped and it was worth it.
Haha, that’s a conversation I had the other day with a guy at a friend’s graduation party. I had never met this guy before and I wasn’t friends with him. I think I may have seen him around somewhere, but that’s all. He kept asking me questions and they kept getting more and more personal. I answered him with short, annoyed responses after a while. He then stopped asking me questions and started asking my brother, who saved us both by saying that we had to leave.
This morning, I was thinking about the conversation I had with this guy and the way he was prodding me about therapy.
I actually have another blog as well. It was started a few years ago and I used it at first to just copy and paste tidbits of health, nutrition, and fitness articles that I had found worthwhile on the internet. It’s a private blog and I used it also to make little notes to myself. I stopped posting to myself in that blog after my accident, until my friend said something really great two weeks ago. I then wrote the first and only post on there in over a year.
One post that I written four months before my accident was titled “Giving 100%, 100% of the time”. It was after I had watched a football movie and I had noticed that the young players, in order to overcome the shortcomings that they had, had to muster every ounce of strength that they had for the duration of the whole football game. That got me thinking about how easy it is for us to go full force in the beginning, yet back it off once the going gets tough. I asked myself, “What does it take to give 100%, 100% of the time?”
I had noted in this post from January 2009 that this question has implications in almost all areas of life. Sports, working out, school, and even relationships are just a few areas. Giving it your all will certainly yield pleasing results. And if they don’t, at least you know you didn’t hold back.
Then I started thinking about a time in my life when “giving it my all” just wasn’t good enough, it seemed. That’s why the annoying guy continued to prod me with questions about therapy and if I felt it was worth it. Spinal cord injuries are not like almost all other things in life where working extremely hard will yield satisfying results. What annoyed me about this guy was that he was asking me these questions in a condescending tone, implying that I probably didn’t work hard enough or long enough and that is why I was still in a wheelchair. This isn’t like slipping a disk or breaking multiple bones—as displayed in movies, TV shows, books, and told in stories—where through grinding teeth and overcoming pain one can pick themselves up from the broken pieces and then recover himself, achieving the admiration and hearts of those around him. This is something where every day for months and months one can give 100%, with the results being not what one would expect.
Do I feel like working hard in therapy was a waste? Heck no. The physical (and mental?) strength that I gained is something that made it all worth it. Sure, the results weren’t what I expected and I wasn’t sprinting like Usain Bolt out of the hospital after a few months, but at least I can rest knowing that I gave it my all, no matter what other people think. I hope I can say the same with everything else in my life.