Surrounded by treadmills, elliptical machines and nautilus equipment, he stands on a small, blue, foam cushion in a large therapy clinic. His eyes are closed, but he trusts me not to allow him to fall as he sways to and fro, left to right and front to back. He has practiced moving from sit to stand, side stepped down a hallway, stood and walked with a narrowed base of support, balanced on wobble boards, practiced unilateral stance reciprocally while tapping cones and worked on weight shifting on both the floor and a rocker board. Still, despite his best efforts, his program has yielded no significant benefit. I have been unable to help him.
Stan was sincere if not credible. A former physician, he has been a patient of mine for 3 weeks. I work hard to help him wake up a dormant motor system that does not lack for strength, but wants for timing, sequence, and coordination. He appreciates the words I choose and the means by which I use them. My choice of activities make sense to him, even if they have not been immediately fruitful. He is convinced that I am the peak of my profession and he is thankful for my time. He told me, yesterday, “You were meant for this, you know.”
Thankful that his eyes were closed, I sighed softly as I hung my head in disappointment.