I have it! I have been a physical therapist since I was 8 years old, though not licensed until I was 23. OK, so I had some other jobs before my license came through – Dairy Queen girlie, garlic picker, night cook and cannery worker, to name a few. When I was 8 years old, I had to go to a physical therapist for a scoliosis (curvature) in my back. The therapist was smart, professional, and gave me exercises to do to help with the pain. She was a very gentle person, and even if I didn’t do my exercises, she never yelled at me. She was such a great role model for me, and because of her kindness and professionalism, I decided that this would be my dream job. I absolutely love my job as a physio (‘physical therapist’ in America). ‘Physio’ is actually a better term, as it is more correct – we utilize all of the physiology of the body, not just the ‘physical’ exercise part. To work with the different energetic systems, pathways, and connections gives us a better outcome than if we just did physical exercise with a patient.
The opportunities for me have been really great, and have taken me all over the world. I have worked in hospitals large and small, private clinics, peoples homes, educational training programs, and have lectured internationally. I have set up rural clinics, done muscular dystrophy research, worked with kids in public school, helped deliver babies, and worked with the elderly in homes. I have treated patients in the USA, Nepal, India, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgystan, and China. And now, I have my dream job, of helping the poor on the Tibetan plateau. My favourite part of my work is laying my hands on people and seeing the changes that occur. It thrills me to no end to watch bruising and swelling leave a freshly broken leg in the matter of minutes, relieve migraines, alleviate back pain, puff up ruptured discs, and in general, have a part in healing people. I love my job, and can’t imagine doing anything different.
I still can’t. And especially since my accident, I cannot imagine doing anything different. This is not just my job, but my life -- and my passion. So now, I am faced with the prospect that I won’t be able to do my job. I can’t use my hand. Since June, my hand has been immobilized. Surgery was in August, and now that the casts are off, I thought that use of my hand would return. It seems that there is nerve and vessel damage near my collar bone which is complicating things, and limiting the use of my hand and arm. Toxins are also figuring in. Turns out that our water supply has a lot of lead in it – just like the paint on all the toys imported from China. And a few other nasties, like arsenic, cadmium, and copper are in the water, and in my body. So I need to cleanse these out of my system, along with glutens, which are also clogging my body and making my arm and back worse. I have been totally off the glutens for a week now, and some of the stiffness and woodiness of my fingers is actually just starting to decrease, so this gives me some hope.
Perseverance. This is the word that keeps coming back to me over and over again. It is not enough to take things “one day at a time”. Some times, all I can do is to take things from one hour to the next, or from one moment to the next. My waking hours are spent doing therapy and stretching on my hand, trying to do so without thinking, ‘what if…?” The really tough time is right before I go to sleep. More often than I would like to admit, my eyes leak before I fall asleep, mourning the loss of use of my hand and fingers. I need to persevere – to keep a positive, healing outlook. I need to persevere, from moment to moment, until it comes to the point when I can make it to one day at a time. I need to persevere – to keep looking forward to the day when I can return to my dream job. I have not come to a point of acceptance. How do you ‘accept’ something you don’t want? How do you ‘accept’ something when the outcome is not known? If the doctor or therapist said that this is my permanent condition, would I be able to accept it? I don’t know.
My hope and desire is that I will be able to return to our project site, and to my dream job. There are many people with leprosy and other disabilities who I want to help. There are many people with aches and pains for whom I want to lay my hands on. I want to continue my work in education and training, and providing medical care to the poor and disadvantaged of rural Tibet. This is my dream job. This is my passion.
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