Today was my first day of my neurology rotation. I knew this was going to be interesting since I have first-hand experience in some of the things I was going to see. After seeing some patients and talking to the attending physician, I became very thankful.
I was thankful not only to my family and friends, but also to myself. I know that sounds odd, but I was thankful that I didn't take the easy way out.
Doc: "You had a similar injury to your shoulder?"
Me: [I explain my injuries]
Doc: "What happened to you?"
Me: [I talk about the car accident and how I was the only one in my family seriously injured]
Doc: "Did it take long to adapt and learn to get around?"
Me: [I explain how I took one year off after my accident before moving out, living on my own, and attending medical school]
Doc: "I'm sorry if I'm asking so many questions."
Me: "No, no. No one has asked me these questions in a long time. I sometimes forget about these things. It's good to talk about them with someone who knows about the nervous system."
Talking about these things made me reminiscent and really thankful for how things turned out.
I remember when I wasn't able to use my right arm at all due to a nerve injury affecting my right shoulder. I was unable to lift my arm and using this arm gave me a lot of pain. The therapists didn't listen to me at first and made me continue to try and work with it until I confronted the doctor about getting it tested for any possible nerve damage.
I remember the intense neuropathic pain it caused me. I refused any serious pain medications besides a simple dose of Tylenol at night so I could fall asleep through the pain.
I remember how the therapists and hospital staff tried to convince me to get a motorized wheelchair because of the weakness in my right arm. They also tried to convince me to get a van that I could simply roll my wheelchair into and not have to transfer onto the driver's seat. I refused both. I knew using a manual wheelchair that I would have to push would make my arm stronger. I didn't want to drive a van because it embarrassingly screamed, "Look at me. I have a handicap!" I wanted to drive a car like a "normal" person. I knew it would be tough at first trying to take apart my chair and putting it in my car multiple times a day. But it was something that I wanted to do. I just wanted to be normal.
I remember how I had many arguments with my family as I tried to convince them to let me live on my own. They wanted me to have a nurse or at least have a roommate living with me just in case I needed something. I didn't want that, though. I wanted to live on my own. I knew I could live on my own.
Those decisions may have seemed stupid by other people at the time, but I am thankful for them. They are what made me stronger, both literally and figuratively speaking. I didn't like taking the easy way out.
Don't take the easy way out. Work through the pain and discomfort if it's going to get you to a better place. You'll thank yourself in the future.