Our patients come to us from all over the Tristate area and one patient and his family travel 3 hours one way to help their son achieve the highest level of independence and function that he is able to after an accident that resulted in a serious traumatic brain injury. For 8 years he has struggled to make progress in strength, mobility and gain independence with the regular everyday tasks we all take for granted. Recently his dad came in to therapy with him and said that they stopped in the Burger King drive through for lunch on the way and his son began to kick his legs to get their attention. They asked what he wanted and he said, “I want a hamburger”. So they bought him one and he had a bite. That is the first time that he has asked for anything to eat by mouth in 8 years and the first time that he requested anything. In the past any time they had given him a taste of something he has not liked it at all. I will not tell you the description of what he usually says that food tastes like, but we will leave it as….. not good. This time when he ate the hamburger he said,”it was delicious”. When asked what do you want to eat on the way home following his last appointment he said, “pizza!” I really cannot blame him, that is likely where I would start as well.
It is inspiring to see progress so long after an injury of this magnitude and the excitement that the family and patient has in the new found skill or milestone that is realized. With the holiday season and new year approaching fast, it is a time to think about renewal, setting new goals, and hope. Hope that we continue to get stronger, hope to continue to meet our goals and new milestones, and hope that we as therapists continue to see the positive impact we have on the lives of others we treat.