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Oct 27

How Letting My Weaknesses Show Helped in Rehab – Everyday Health

I was afforded the great opportunity to attend a residential rehabilitation program for multiple sclerosis (MS) recently. It was a weeklong (five days, four nights) pilot attempt to create a template for recurring treatment in an area underserved to date.

Physiotherapy, occupational therapy, hydrotherapy, dietary and nutrition, psychosocial, and neurology disciplines all came together to create the program, which was run for two consecutive series.

I took part in the second.

RELATED: Pilot MS Rehab Program Comes Just in Time

Though I was asked as a patient expert to attend partly to evaluate the program and offer suggestions, I also went in looking for as much benefit as I could take. That meant that I had to set aside the expert modifier and simply surrender to becoming a patient.

It wasnt an easy molting at first, but it was one I found rewarding and a little bit telling, if Im to be completely honest. That I had to work at letting go informed me of how tightly Ive been holding on to the things I can control in this life of mine with MS.

As Ive written in the past, it is of great importance that we each learn to advocate for ourselves in medical (and life) situations.

In this situation, advocating for myself involved less putting up a fight than letting down my guard.

I allowed myself to expose the weakness I constantly fight or hide so that I am not seen as less-than by the world as a whole.

By being a man with a debilitating disease and admitting to my current limitations, I allowed both the therapists and me to see where I really stand in my progression and to find interventions that could help.

I suppose that Ive been hiding (covering up, avoiding, working around) my physical disability for so long that I believed my own lies. By actively letting go of the heavy cloak of deception, I was able to direct the significant energy Id been expending on avoidance toward improvement.

The very act of clearing a week from my busy schedule and making plans for five days in hospital was like an act of contrition for vainglory.

During those five days I listened to my body and gave it what it needed. If I was tired (and there were plenty of reasons to be tired; this was an intensive program), I rested. If something needed stretching, I stretched it. If doing something caused me pain, I avoided it rather than powering through. I listened, I learned, and I was present and gentle in my judgments of myself.

RELATED: Self-Care: The Key to Wellness When Living With MS

There will be plenty to share relating to the exercise programs, stretching regimes, routines to help with proprioception, and strength. Before I could get to any of the parts of the week that would help me to be stronger, I had to admit my weaknesses to myself, that is. The professionals around me could see them coming up the corridor no matter how I tried to hide them.

The lady doth protest too much, methinks, Queen Gertrude says in Prince Hamlets play within the play by Shakespeare.

I was the insincere, overacting character in my own staging of a Life With MS. I was also the audience whom I was trying to convince that things were better than they really are.

Like a weary and wary boxer fighting a relentless opponent, I found a stool in my corner where I could recuperate. There were helpful words and soothing salves to prepare me for the rounds ahead.

Ive ignored the bell allowing me to rest for far too long. Ill not fight those who are trying to help me again. The punches are better aimed at MS.

Wishing you and your family the best of health.



My book,Chef Interrupted, is available onAmazon.Follow me on theLife With MS Facebook pageand onTwitter, and read more onLife With Multiple Sclerosis.

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How Letting My Weaknesses Show Helped in Rehab - Everyday Health

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