Tuesday, July 30, 2013

July 29, 2013

Listening to People
Monday,  July 29, 2013

The day started with Physical Therapy on my elbow.  The arm will not extend all the way, or fold in all the way.  Also, the rotation is limited.  The therapist is trying to change that.  The exercises are boring, uncomfortable, but necessary.  The therapy room is nice, bright, and the view is excellent.  One complete wall is windows, floor to ceiling, overlooking a resaca (body of water that used to be a part of the river and was left when the river changed course).  There are palm trees and assorted ducks and birds to keep the patients distracted. 

In my last blog, I mentioned that we often hear someone say something, but we are focused on something else, and don't hear the hurt in their voice.  The man who seems to be the main therapist in always cheerful.  Yesterday he asked how I was doing and I said that I was doing fine.  I asked how he was doing and he said that he was always fine.  He is always busy and pleasant to all the patients and I may have mentioned earlier that I am impressed that he is great with all ages. 

At the end of my session, he spent time massaging a couple of creams all over my damaged arm, so I had time to talk to him.  I complimented him on his care of all the patients and asked where he got his training.  Suddenly that hurt and pain inside showed all over his face as he said it started when he was nine years old and his older brother was in a serious accident and became paralyzed from the neck down.  He would go to the hospital to visit and the staff would teach him how to care for his brother.  He eventually went into the military service and became a medic and many encouraged him to go into physical therapy.  Maybe he learned that he had much to be thankful for as he grew up caring for that brother who could not care for himself.   Whatever happened along the way, he focuses on the good and not the bad and sad.  I am hoping for more time to talk to him, but most mornings he is on the move all the time I am there.

That conversation reminded me of how, many years ago, I would have conversations like that with the people who crossed my path.  The years of limited hearing made me uncomfortable chatting with strangers.  There were just too many things I didn't hear or I misunderstood.  I became withdrawn and interacted very little with people outside my family and small group of close friends.  I would greet strangers, but rarely tried to engage them in conversation.  Things are changing!  Things will never be "the same", but they are so much better and will continue to improve.

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