Things happen one after another, some good, some bad. My dad woke up from his unconscious state, trained, and can now walk as well as speak. He responds when I speak to him. Good.
Bad. They say things happen in 3’s. My nerves gave out, I got a digestive tract infection, and then a cold. I was on the mend and just devised a new plan to gain supreme energy… when I couldn’t foresee what came next.
I feel totally destroyed.
Yesterday I went for a physiotherapy committee meeting and they essentially deemed me not spinally fit enough to be a physiotherapist, telling me to take a pause and go to rehab. I feel gutted, my heart dropped down my throat, anchoring towards the chair. I couldn’t believe my ears.
I tried to pull myself together and think rationally.
“What possibilities do I have?” I asked them: “ 1) Pause for a year to rehab, and come back when you’re better. 2) Pause for a year, then drop down to the Bachelor’s programme of physiotherapy, taking things slower to allowing your body to heal. 3) Some students leave the programme and don’t come back… If the Occupational Health report comes back and says you’re not fit enough for pushing, pulling, lifting or carrying, then you’re not fit to be a physio.” They said. The doors shut.
These were false illusions of choice. Essentially, they wanted me to take time off.
“ Lucas, we can’t let you participate or take exams, if you don’t have the clearance…” The committee announced. “… It works by you passing the health check, and then taking a mock exam. When you pass that, we let you go on placements. When you’re done with placements, then you take another exam. After passing the exams, you graduate.”
I understood the block in the cycle. I knew where they were coming from. Patient safety, mine, and to cover their own behinds is important. I know if I wanted to talk my way in, I could find a loophole, but I would just be finishing the programme by the skin of my teeth. It was a possibility I anticipated before I came to school.
“ Can I pay, go to school and just listen in for a year?” I asked.
“ No, that’s not how it works here.” A funding committee member replied.
As the old adage says, “ When one door closes, another one opens.” I can’t see that door right now, but what I say is, “ When one door closes, look out the window, it’s a much better view than looking at a closed door.”
US Secretary General of State – As Colin Powell said,” View the other tracks in life and move on.” Like blinders, we get so caught up in what we’re doing, we forget to see the beauty around us. Though I still keep my chin up, it’s heavy.
I’ve worked so hard to heal from spinal injury, and thought this was my way out. I thought that doing physiotherapy was my purpose and how I was going to help people. But as I have run, swim, and crawled away from spinal injury, the committee on the other side has pulled away my lifeline, hopes, ambitions and dreams. I’m drowning even though I know how to swim.
If I move back to Hong Kong, I’ll be a full time patient, sliding back to where I came. I know that I’ve grown, and I’ll be moving as a different person, but I’m still devastated.
Healing takes time, and it cannot be rushed.
The crazy thing about leaving school is it’s probably the right time. So far in our anatomy programme, we’ve learnt the lower half of the body, and that’s all I really need for rehab. During this time of learning, I was able to analyse and clinically understand what happened to me through our neurology studies. I don’t really need the upper half in my healing, it would be nice to cover. But, this decision they’ve put upon me, does not enable me to learn anymore in the classroom.
“ We can’t let you participate in practicals, nor take the exams.” They said. Sitting on the chair, stun and hard to swallow, I felt a flush of mix emotion. I was relieved of stress that I no longer had to study hours a day for the exam, but devastated, that what I relied on as my path out of spinal injury, could break me again.
These two years and eleven months, I’ve been broken down many, many times. Each time, I’ve had to start all over again. It doesn’t get easier, but I get stronger and wiser. So starting from the ground up again, I am making another plan. Although for the committee it is a block in the road, for me it is a redirection of continuity.
Life gives us so many opportunities. We need to pick our heads up, and seize these precious gems. Sometimes the mission we’re so focused on is only a fraction of the picture and can only take us so far.
It’s hard to see the picture, when we’re in the frame.
By lifting our heads up and seizing the opportunity, it fulfils the greater picture, and moves us closer to the greater scheme in life that we were made for. Seize it.
What opportunities have been presented to you?