“Life is so”

Today, Evangalia wore her usual smile as she came walking into our consultation room.  Despite her stroke, she carries herself like a retired ballerina.  Not as capable as she might have always been, yet, so composed.  I was curious about this composure, about the skill she brings to this traumatic life experience she seems to…

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The necessity of madness in the story of surviving spinal cord injury

“Stories matter. Many stories matter. Stories have been used to dispossess and malign. But stories can also be used to empower and to humanize. Stories can break the dignity of the people. But stories can also repair that broken dignity.” – Chimamanda Adichie (Nigerian novelist) There is a burgeoning approach to clients seeking medical care…

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Truth vs Hope

Lately, colleagues and I have been debating the issue of “prognosis”. More specifically, when it comes to people with severe illnesses or injuries, in a physical rehabilitation setting: how, when and if we should communicate “prognosis” to them? There seem to be two camps of thinking when it comes to this. On the one hand,…

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The limiting defintion of Disability and the defiance of prognosis

In this lecture by Aimee Mullins, she explores the definition of  “disablilty” and how it in no ways resonates with her experience of  herself.  She talks about the role of adversity in her life and how her prognosis was something that she lived to defy. Aimee Mullins on Disablilty, Adversity and Prognosis

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Locked In

I was surprised, when opening the Mail & Guardian this weekend, to find a story titled “Locked in a coma for 23 years” (see online version here).  It speaks about a man, Rom Houben, who was apparently thought to have been in a coma for the last 23 years.  The headline for the story is…

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You are not Your Illness

Taking the “fall” for Parkinson’s. One of the most challenging aspects of doing psychology in a physical rehabilitation setting is that you are often faced with problems for which there is very little “cure”.  There are many illnesses that, unfortunately, are slow, persistent and sardonic in their deterioration of the nervous system.  The most a…

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