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Rehab Revelations – Embracing Life’s Countless Steps

By: Camey VanSant

By Sharad

Aug 2023 – May 2024

This year, I underwent two major ankle surgeries that required extensive physiotherapy. That meant making multiple trips to the rehab clinic every week for roughly 8 months. During this time, I’ve seen people from all walks of life at the clinic—from young athletes with minor muscle tears to senior citizens with age-related disabilities. Given the limited space in the clinic, I often strike up conversations with the other patients and get to hear many interesting stories about their lives – like where they grew up, what line of work they’re in, how they ended up in rehab, etc.

Grandmothers will eagerly share their grandchildren’s latest achievements with me while recent college grads will describe the excitement and challenges of their new jobs to me, and older retirees and I will bond over our mutual love for football and the 49ers. 🙂

These interactions remind me of a book I read during my gap year, “A Gentleman in Moscow” by Amor Towles. In it, the protagonist, Count Alexander Ilyich Rostov, is sentenced to a lifetime of confinement in a luxury hotel. Over the years, the Count forms new relationships with the hotel staff and guests, finding new meaning in his restricted life. While my physiotherapy clinic is a far cry from a luxury hotel, I, like Count Rostov, have gained a new understanding of life from my prolonged stay at the rehab clinic.

At the onset of my gap year, with two major surgeries and a painful recovery ahead of me, I indulged in a lot of self-pity. I believed that my situation truly could not have been worse. However, after witnessing others battle with their long, drawn-out conditions, I’ve become more appreciative of my own journey. I’m thankful for the progress I’ve made since the beginning of the year and grateful that I’ve just been able to start walking again. Although it may sound cliché, I’ve realized that everyone has their own struggles and their own path to overcoming them. Half the battle is recognizing that you are not alone in facing adversity.

Categories: Sharad