November 28, 2013


I don't often say much about my job on the blog, but today I'm breaking that rule in the essence of telling you a story about an experience I had earlier this week.  I work in a military hospital and there are two sets of elevators in the building - a set for staff and one for patients and visitors.  Typically I use the staff elevators because they're closer to my desk.  But one night this week, I happened to stop by to see a colleague on my way out and got on the patient and visitor elevators to head home.

That one simple decision changed my outlook for the week.  As I got on, I was eager to get headed home - I had quite a few errands to run and chores to complete in advance of the holiday.  I was playing on my phone on the ride downstairs and barely noticed when we stopped at another floor.  I did remark that it took a minute for the passengers to get on and when they did, I paid attention.  I watched a young man in a wheelchair with an above the knee amputation and his nurse/PT/care giver (I'm not quite sure of her specific role) join him.  The young man struggled to maneuver his wheelchair onto the elevator and his companion shot me a sympathetic look.

After a moment, the young man looked up at me and told me it was his first day with his "new wheels" as he called them.  He laughed and told me he was slowly getting the hang of it.  He was a good looking guy and couldn't have been much more than 25 years old.

As I got off the elevator, I immediately started thinking about the encounter.  This isn't my first experience with a wounded vet in the hospital (as you can imagine, it's pretty common place), but this one made me think a bit.  My immediate response was that I was grateful to have both of my legs in working order that allow me to run but that wasn't all.  It was just the tip of the iceberg. This young guy (a kid really) lost his leg and he was laughing and smiling about it.  There is no doubt in my mind that every day won't be so rosy for him; my job teaches me there will be many ups and downs throughout his recovery.   His toothy grin (almost mischievous in nature) was contagious and his "just roll with it" attitude was inspiring.

I was grateful for this interaction, particularly at the beginning of a particularly busy holiday week.  It definitely made me think...about the little things I often take for health, my home, my job, my family and friends, etc.  It was a helpful reality check.  So to this brave sailor, thank you for not only your contagious smile but unknowingly encouraging me to reflect on my own life.

Wishing you a fantastic day (and hopefully a long weekend) with your loved ones - family and friends alike!


  1. Thank you so much for sharing that story Christine. I had a similar experience a few weeks ago on a run. As I started out, I had a specific time goal/pace I wanted to meet. After my first lap around the park I came upon a person in a wheel chair being wheeled around by a care giver. At that moment my outlook changed. I thought "what am a I doing". I'm out here practically "killing" myself just to beat a certain time. I need to be thankful I can get out here and run at all. From that point I just took it easy and enjoyed my run and reflect on how thankful I was that all my body parts worked correctly. ( ok, that was a pretty long reply, sorry). Happy Thanksgiving!

  2. I work with hospice patients so I have reality checks like this a lot - it's easy to take things for granted, I love when helping others also helps me in return by putting things back in perspective.

    Happy Thanksgiving ladies!

  3. This pretty much sums up many of the experiences I had doing PT observation hours to go back to school. After watching stroke patients, amputees and accident victims work so hard to just take their "first" steps I'd leave with such a different perspective than when I walked in that morning.

    As much as I struggle with going back to school it's stuff like this that motivates me to keep going.

  4. Aw - I feel like God creates moments like those to help us feel more grateful for what He's given us and has in store for us - I can only imagine what people feel like going through those situations and have to remember just how blessed I am

  5. Beautiful story. Definitely just teared up a little bit. I really admire people who have such hardship in life to overcome and yet they do so with such a big smile...truly inspiring and it makes me remember how incredibly blessed I am. Thank you so much for sharing this!