Sunday, 15 February 2015

Keeping the Machine Running: My Therapists!

Hi everyone! I thought it was about time to do another post! I’m going to do something a bit different this time. 

In living life with a disability, we get support from many people. They make living life a little easier. They work behind the scenes, making sure our bodies stay healthy, and as mobile as possible. I am referring to our therapists. I want to talk about my therapists, and how they have helped me through the years. 

About four years ago, I discovered the wonderful sport of sit skiing. While I loved the feeling of zooming down the hill at light speed, doing as many daring jumps as possible, what I didn’t love was the effect it had on my body. As I flew down the hill, my head would bobble around uncontrollably, especially when the snow was hard and bumpy. After doing one too many high speed bumps and jumps, my neck had finally had enough. I woke up the next morning feeling like my head was resting on a metal spike… Ouch! I tried to treat it on my own, with heat and rest, but by the end of the day it became apparent that I needed help. I had been to the Chiropractor before, but had been in good shape for quite some time, so I stopped going for about a year. I decided to try a different Chiropractor in town, and after hearing some reviews, I chose Paul Attalla. Meeting a new therapist always makes me very nervous, wondering how they would react and treat me. Meeting my physical needs is kind of a monumental task, and tends to make people nervous… When Paul entered the room, I knew I was going to like him. He’s the bubbly, smiley kind of person I get along with. He did seem a bit nervous at first, which put me on edge a little. He was very gentle, a little too gentle I thought, but that’s something I’m used to. People tend to think I’m fragile because of my physical appearance. What I did really appreciate is that Paul didn’t treat me as just a “customer”. I immediately felt that he actually cared about my physical health, and that he wanted me to improve so I didn’t have to keep seeing him. He even went over my appointment time to be sure he was thorough. I went home with mixed feelings on the experience, but with that glimmer of hope, I decided to stick it out. I thought that maybe he just needed to get to know me first, and then he’d figure out that I am an independent thinker, and am able to speak for myself. The next time I went in, Paul seemed more relaxed, and he looked to me to answer his questions, and not my Mom. Each time I went, the more it improved. I’ve been seeing Paul on and off for three years, and without a doubt, he is the best therapist I have ever had. I can also say that besides prayer, he played a huge part in helping me survive the difficult high school years. He has seen me at my worst, literally in tears, and has helped me be my best. Whenever I feel upset or anxious over my physical condition, I feel that he genuinely cares and is concerned. I always laugh thinking of my first appointment. He went from being too gentle, to saying, “Grace, this will hurt, but I’m doing what I do for everyone else.” Currently, I have been going through the worst physical issues I have ever been through, but with Paul’s help, I am on the road to recovery. I am so thankful that God has brought Paul into my life, and I pray that God will bless him as much as he has blessed me! You are the absolute best Paul! What you do has had such an impact on my life, and I think you should know that! Thank you, from the bottom of my heart!!!

I love my work with FIRE: Fernie Adaptive, but sometimes it takes its toll on my body as well. I can only use my right arm to do daily activities, as well as writing the many emails I must write for FIRE. When the program planning began in September, I became more involved, as I had finished school and could devote more time to it. After writing literally hundreds of emails, which is what it takes to plan for a new season, my arm decided it was most inconveniently going to tire out… Every time I went to write, my arm would go completely limp. It would also tingle, especially in my fingers. In January, I unfortunately re-injured my neck, and had to see Paul again after about five months. When I described these symptoms, and had a melt down with tears, he immediately suggested I see my doctor. I don’t really like doctors, and haven’t had an appointment for five years, but this one was pretty painless. I was diagnosed with tendonitis in my shoulder and elbow, and carpal tunnel in my wrist. I was then sent to a Physiotherapist. The old nervousness kicked in, meeting another therapist, but Paul suggested one he thought would work well with me, which made me feel better. Shawn is similar to Paul, in that he is very smiley and fun. He welcomed me with a warm smile, and made me feel at ease. When we sat down, I immediately told him that despite what people think, I will not fall to pieces when touched. Whatever he had to do to make me improve, even if it would leave me sore, I wanted him to do. I was very impressed with how he acted around me, and how he worked with me like he would his other patients. In fact, my first treatment lasted two hours, because Shawn was being thorough. It’s been a journey for both of us, as we are both learning about my body, and how it responds to treatment. We’ve made plans, found out quickly that it won’t work, and adjusted accordingly. We learned that my body is very strange, to say the least, and often leaves us puzzled... (By the way, I’m not supposed to be typing or using my arm right now, so don’t tell Shawn… Shhhh…) I can easily see my relationship with Shawn turning out like my relationship with Paul, and am very thankful to have Shawn in my life. 

I feel so blessed that God has brought these two people into my life, and I know that He has a plan in all of this. I know that I will never forget the wonderful support of my therapists, Paul and Sean! For all that you do, you are not forgotten. You are amazing! Thank you!

1 comment:

  1. HI Grace
    Great post! Thank you for acknowledging the people that offer something besides pills and painkillers -- our bodies were designed by God to heal themselves, if given the right set of inputs and care requirements. Your super-special body needs super-special people and I'm glad you've found them. Well I know of what you speak; as a consumer of chiropractic, deep tissue and physiotherapy services, I know they do make a difference in quality of life.

    Wishing you a well-functioning body that continues to be loved and cared for by yourself and your team. I will pray for you :)