There are a lot of rewarding things about working in the field of physical therapy (my job that pays the bills) and a lot more rewarding things about doing it in someone’s home. But at times it can be a real slap in the face by Reality. People suffer, they hurt, they cry, their lives are turned upside down and sometimes with no hope of ever being turned right side up again.
I’m currently seeing a young woman, just 34, with multiple sclerosis. She lives with her sister as she is unable to care for herself. Her movements are jerky, uncoordinated, and awkward. She walks using a walker and much effort so spends most of her time in a wheelchair. She has a seven-year-old son.
Most of the time she smiles and talks the best she can. She is such a sweet woman, such a kind soul.
Seeing how this awful disease has overtaken her and slowly debilitated her is saddening and maddening. It’s downright cruel and viscious and merciless. I hate MS.
But the thing that’s the hardest is watching her interact with her seven-year-old son. Her sister is raising the boy, stepping in as his surrogate mother, but I can tell my patient wants to be his mommy. Every boy needs a mommy. I can see the pain in her eyes when she can’t be there for him or when her sister has to step in and do what she cannot. It’s enough to put a knot in my throat and tears in my eyes.
So what do I do? Try to brighten her day as much as I can. Encourage her. Point out the areas where she’s improving and celebrate what she can do. And pray for her.
Folks, none of us know what tomorrow holds. No one can tell what next year will bring. All of us are just one day away, one hour away, one minute, one second away from having our lives turned upside down. But for the grace of God I could be that thirty-something unable to care for my own children.
Celebrate, praise, laugh, love, run and play and explore and enjoy . . .