Ups & Downs of Rehab

“I hate this place!” A teenage girl in cut-offs and tank top said as she crossed an ankle over her bare knee. She looked mad and bored as she chewed her gum and glanced around at the room full of people with disabilities.. I’m sitting on a metal folding chair at the outpatient clinic, surrounded by other people with recently acquired disabilities. Walkers, quad canes and wheelchairs cluttered the floor.Will life ever get better?Seeing all the wheelchairs and canes was bitter sweet. It felt good to know that I wasn’t alone, but I didn’t want to identify with this crowd.

.Rehabbing Alone, Together

Jerking myself out of my reverie, I looked at a teenage girl a few chairs away. Nobody sat between us. She’d asked if I’d been to the clinic before. I shrugged. “Yeah, a few times.” I carefully enunciated my words like my speech therapist showed me. Talking without being looked at like I was some kind of freak is one reason I liked the outpatient clinic.

.She nodded. “This is my second time here.”.

“I’m Al.”


.“What happened to you?”

.“I was visiting my dad in Hawaii and tried surfing. His stupid girl friend and I caught the same wave. She ran into me.”

.“She must have been monster big.”.

Pam smiled. “She is monster big, but what happened is I hit my head on her board. By the time the lifeguard pulled me out of the water, I’d been under more than two minutes. What happened to you?”

I describe my crash.

“Motorcycle’s are death machines. My boyfriend got killed on one.”

We sit silently, feeling each others pain and frustration.

Sharing Problems Lightens Rehab

.“Well I guess this is it,” Pam says when she’s finally called in. She looks over her shoulder. “I’m glad we talked.”

.“Yeah, me too. Maybe we’ll do it again.”


She smiles. “Sure. Give me a call.” She hands me a playing card.


The queen of hearts. Her name and number were on the back. “My little sister dared me to give it to a cute guy.”


I smile and put it in my pocket. These kind of things give me a good Attitude.

.Meeting new friends and other good things don’t happen very often. In fact, it’s depressing how seldom they do happen. It was nice talking to her for a little while. I looked at the clock and sighed. As the years and then decades passed, my formula for being happy, productive and disabled became more complex but it has remained easy to follow. At this stage,  my formula for happy living consisted of one or two of the following:

  1. Focus on what I do have instead of what I don’t have.
  2. Have an Attitude of gratitude.
  3. Try to be friendly and helpful


To hire Al to share his humor and motivation at your event, or to participate in his seminar, fill out our initial  questionnaire. He’ll customize any of these  topics for your event. His book No Limits can be obtained separately or  in bulk as part of a package deal. .

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Winners Don't Quit Association
12515 NE 145th Pl D-130 KirklandWA98034 USA 
 • 206-453-2572

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