To enter into someone's personal space is my art. Giving orders and implementing my way is what I do. I do not wait for an invitation. I knock on your door, walk in, take a quick look around and within minutes I have you doing all kinds of things you had no plans on doing that next moment. I receive orders from higher powers to invade your space; at least that is who I blame it all on if someone complains. I am a physical therapist at the local hospital. I am some patients’ ticket out.
It was all going so well, I had my routine. I had great productivity and I was getting them all out of bed and ready for discharge exactly when the doctor wanted it to happen. Then, one day there was John.
John had many years on me, he had been around the block. He took one look at me as I entered the room and ignored me! I tried all my techniques, kindness, empathy, small talk, silence, guilt... THREAT!
"You know I cannot get you out of here if you don't show me that you can get out of that chair and walk to the door."
John did not even look up, I was at lost.... I had nothing to document. Refusal?? He had not even refused.
I sat for a few minutes looking at this grey-haired older gentleman, I realized by the way he had his table organized that there still was some integrity to his situation.....and I said very gently.... "Who do you admire most in this world?" I expected silence. But he looked up on the wall in front of him and said "my mother."
"What was her name?"
“Tell me about her please."
John then looked at me and very softly told me about the years of American depression, the loss of a father in a steel bridge accident, the strength of a mother without many skills and survival for him and his siblings. It was a tribal story from his early life, leaving him now at this moment in a hospital bed... old and sick.
When he was done I asked him who he admired most as number 2, then number 3 , number 4 all the way to 10. He opened up. I was so touched that he would tell me all this. I then asked him to pretend that all ten of these people were lined up outside his door, and we would invite them in one by one.
And together we would stand erect and greet them.
He did. We called out to Majorie; she came in and we stood up straight for her, greeted her and we sat back down. Then JoAnna came through the door-his deceased wife. We stood up greeted her with excellent posture and a chin up! Followed by his neighbor Bob who always checked in on his cat when he had to be away from his house...
Eventually there had been ten people who walked through that door. John’s room was full of good people. He was sitting straighter, he was looking around, ready to tell me about 11, 12, 13 ...
I left him with a big hug and he was surrounded by his tribe!
I went and documented, "Patient able to get out of chair with stand by assist!" He left the hospital the next day.