My clinic hours are Mondays and Fridays all day and this last Monday, I was doing what I do best ... treating patients. Like any other job, it can sometimes be monotonous; the typical headache patient, the weekend warrior with low back problems, but on Monday I had a patient that made an impression on me.
My doc warned me before she came in that she was going to be in a wheel chair so we'd need to use a different room than we normally use. (This isn't anything new, we usually see at least 1 patient who is in a wheel chair per week.) Then she told me that this patient had ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) otherwise known as Lou Gehrig's disease.
When she told me this, I suddenly became very nervous to be treating her because ALS is a disease in which there is no cure. People with ALS are young (40's), their minds stay intact but as the disease progresses, their nerves that supply the body information in order to function, die. They are essentially prisoners in their own body until their heart and lungs stop functioning. Typically, all of the people who come to see us, have an ideal in mind that we are going to help them get better. Usually when I leave the room I say, "well, I hope you feel better soon!" Not in this case.
A year ago, this particular patient was diagnosed with ALS and today (Monday) she could barely talk. You could see in her eyes how sad, frustrated, depressed and terrified she was. All I could think about was how we sometimes take life for granted. She would do ANYTHING to rid herself of her ALS ... but she can't. She rely's on someone else to do EVERYTHING for her even though, she mentally knows she was once able to do it all by herself less than a year ago.
And here I am ... taking for granted the oportunity to be a health person, skipping a work out here or there, complaining about how hard it is to get up and GO. If she could have the oportunity to work out again or get up and GO again, she would do it in a heart beat. What seems like MINOR and combersom details to me, she would jump at the chance to do just once more.
So ... it's been on my mind and I've been trying to do better about taking for granted my ability to work out. I forget sometimes that I'm lucky to be capable of what I can do because others aren't quite so blessed.