I work as a outpatient therapist rehabilitating upper extremities. Helping people heal from injuries that occur from the shoulder to the tip of the finger is my specialty. To say I love my job is an understatement. I feel like I was born to do it… and I have worked in this specialty for the last 20 years.
One of the coolest things about my job is the opportunity to work with and meet a diverse number of people. I’m sure over the years I’ve treated thousands of folks and from time to time I will meet one or two that get stuck in my heart and mind for always. This was to be one of those times… but on that first visit I had no idea.
It was literally just another day at the office for me. That morning I had gotten up early as I always did before the rest of the house woke up. I let out our two minigoldendoodles, fed them and got dressed and groomed for the day. I wish I could remember what I wore… nothing to flattering or impressive I’m sure, as comfort is key for me so that I can position myself to measure and stretch arms all day long.
My favorite body part to treat is the shoulder. I was likely pleased to see I had a post-operative shoulder evaluation of a new patient on my schedule that day: March 13, 2015.
On my schedule there he was: Brad G., ORIF shoulder, DOB 12/3/1971. “Oh, this should be fun!” I thought, “He is only 4 months older than me!”
As I brought Brad into the clinic from the waiting room I noted that he was impressively tall with long lanky extremities and a friendly face. His dark hair and pleasant eyes went well with what seemed to be a very easy-going personality. Yes, he seemed very nice and laid-back, the perfect personality of someone to treat, especially as this poor fella had a pretty bad fracture and I could already guess he’d be on my schedule for awhile.
Turns out a slip and fall on some ice outside his apartment building resulted in the break of his humeral head that required the surgerical placement of hardware on to secure. Oh, and he had pain. Lots of pain. I remember that as well. It hurt bad! You don’t tend to have a fracture that impressive without the correlating pain that comes with it.
I’m sure he was a bit anxious on that first visit, and understandably so. I’d treated folks in fear before and I used all the charm and confidence I had in reassuring him that he was in good hands. I loved trying to win patients over and put their minds at ease. It seemed to work with him as well, and of that I was pleased.
So this is where we met: in an outpatient physical therapy clinic following a random fall. This fall resulted in a bad shoulder injury followed by surgery with an unfamiliar doctor from across town and somehow Brad was referred to our clinic (that actually was outside the referring doctors medical center) and ended up on my schedule that day in mid March.
It’s funny to me looking back how I had no idea how Brad would change my life, and me… forever. It seemed like just an ordinary day, and he seemed like an ordinary guy yet the day and he were actually quite extraordinary. They say Angels are often amoung us without us being aware and this was one of those times…