Occupational Therapy

“ Be Strong When You are Weak, Be Brave When You are Scared, Be Humble When You are Victorious” (Author unknown)

The quotation caught my eyes as I looked at the poster on the wall.

The first time I saw the quotation was around 8 to 9 months after my accident. That was when I didn’t even have the strength to get up from the wheelchair on my own and needed help.  I remembered that day. The burn ward had been so cold. They wheeled me into the occupational therapist work room; it felt so good to feel the warm air.

Staring at the quotation, I wondered, when I could feel victorious? If I am “strong” and “brave” would I be able to get through this? Whether I could fake the “strong” and “brave” part?  I tried to remember this quotation and write it down, to recite it whenever I feel weak and afraid.

I didn’t have the strength to lift both my arms to my ears and my palm grip was weak. The occupational therapist gave me a device with two bottles attached to it, when one bottle was squeezed, the liquid would be transferred to the other bottle. I recalled that I was trying to squeeze as hard as I could, but nothing happened, the liquid moved a little, then slowly fell back to the original bottle. Even when I squeezed with 2 hands, it hardly moved. I was feeling tired and frustrated.

Today, I saw the device on the table. Just for the heck of it, I squeezed the bottle. It didn’t take much effort. It was a good feeling for me to see the blue liquid being transferred from one bottle to the other.  I am grateful that I have the strength to do so. 

An occupational therapist was looking at me, she used to be a student here. She smiled at me. I called her name. She was surprised that I could remember her name. We chatted for a while. She was happy to see that I have progressed well and that I was looking much better now.

I then moved to a machine that looks like an old sewing machine.  It had a wide board beneath to press on with both legs. It felt good pressing on the board making it move steadily and sometimes fast. While adjusting to a higher resistance, I had a flashback. I remembered the first time pressing my foot on the board more than a year ago; it felt painful. The board felt hard. I didn’t have the strength and could hardly make it move.

After more than a year, the same poster and the same machines are still here. Nothing seemed to change much in the room. I wondered how many had been inspired by the quotation? Whether the person who pasted the poster had any realisation of the impact it had on others? Looking at this quotation, mixed feelings overwhelmed me.

Finally, I am feeling victorious.


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