A spinal cord injury and the deeper questions

I worked with my first spinal cord patient since defining my work as The Burch Method.  He was an awesome guy, only a year since his injury and he has already done 3 triathalons as a paraplegic.  

Spinal cord injuries have always held a certain mystique for me, ever since I first trained as a rehab therapist many years ago.  I remember Tommy Adamo at NYU, and his brash Brooklyn-Italian ways!  I loved him.  

I absolutely KNOW that my client today has had great care.  The PT’s and docs did everything they could, and beyond.  He now bikes with some of them.  I worked in the medical system.  If I still did, I would have done much the same.

But seeing him from the perspective I now hold, I see things differently.  They had to triage and prioritize, they had to train him in the methods of functioning as a paraplegic.  It was all super necessary.  

But what about his ability to connect with his body, with, or without spinal nerves intact?  What about his ability to access the deeper trunk and Core Container muscles?  And what about strategizing his movement from a longevity perspective rather than a ‘functioning now” perspective?  What about addressing the multiple ribs that were fractured in the fall and are not “glued” together because no one could work with them?  What about the pain that this guy is taking daily opioid medication for (forever????)  What’s actually possible for him?

Different eyes is what I have now.  And my thanks and hats-off to the people who do the triage work.  And I am grateful that I get to do the work that I do.  I am the finished carpenter… the one who bats clean-up.  The one who looks under the surface and asks different questions from what I was originally trained to ask.  

And my client today left the session with less pain, better ability to b-r-e-a-t-h-e, with his ribs actually moving, feeling palpably more relaxed than he has in a very long time.  And of course, there’s more to go…. But a good first step.  My goal is not just to see him “functional” but to see him “elegant” in his chair… and for the long haul.  I want to see him participating in athletics and not tearing up his body, but with ease, nobility and grace and longevity!

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