Tracy Skinner, OTR/L, Occupational Therapy Manager
As therapists and nurses, or anyone in the HealthSouth system that provides patient care, we occasionally have situations that arise that prove to us that we are doing what we were meant to do. We all have had that “striking moment” when your body tingles with joy knowing that you have impacted someone’s life and brought them joy. Impacted it in such a way that you will never forget. This happened to me recently and I would like to share.
I am an Occupational Therapist and have worked for HealthSouth since 2000. This story starts with GW. GW had a stroke in early January which left him with decreased function on his right side and aphasic. He had very little sense of what he was doing with his arm without using visual feedback. He in turn became very depressed and viewed his situation as dismal.
After a few treatment sessions I learned that he used to be a lead singer and guitarist in a band and played all over the world. Knowing that he felt that he was unable to “play anymore”, I asked if he would show me some chords. He started to play and sing but his right arm interfered and he became frustrated and quit. I started to think what happened, dissecting the situation as a therapist and realized that he couldn't feel the pick in his hand and was missing strings when he strummed. I fabricated a device attaching a pick to a foam ball and then he was off to the races. He now is a different person with an obvious joy surrounding him. He is playing up a storm and has all the patients clapping and cheering every time he plays and sings. Oh, did I mention he was aphasic?