Dear Weary Therapist,
It’s the end of the day, and you’ve just said goodbye to your last patient. You’d love nothing more than to rush home and wash off the day. A hot shower is screaming your name. You’ve been sweat on, cried on, drooled on, and you really hope that spot you just found on your shirt is only water. “Please be water,” you think.
Your muscles are throbbing, and your joints are popping. You really need to soak the day away. All the crawling on the floor, the lifting, the bending over the entire day; it’s taking its toll. It feels like your body is aging quicker than it should. You’re not supposed to feel this old yet. You need to relax and soothe your aching body, but that shower will have to wait.
Because the paperwork is unfinished.
Initial Assessments. Progress Notes. Discharge Notes.
SO. MUCH. PAPERWORK.
There are goals to set and evaluations to complete. There is never enough time in the day to get it all done. You feel lost in a sea of insurance paperwork, constantly trying to show medical necessity. There is appeal after appeal, and you feel as though you are fighting a battle that is impossible to win. “Why does it have to be so hard?” you wonder. Everything wants to fight. Nothing comes easy, not for you or your patients.
That stack of papers that covers your desk, they aren’t just filled with names in a file. They are real people with real stories, and you are completely invested in them. You can’t just leave your work at the office. You go to sleep thinking of them. You wake up in the middle of night with an idea to help that can’t wait until morning. When the alarm buzzes before dawn, you drag yourself out of bed with the day’s first patient already on your mind. Their battles have become your own.
It’s not the glamorous career you envisioned in college. You just wanted to help to people, to give someone the gift of independence. You wanted to make others’ lives better, and sometimes you wonder if it’s worth it. You wonder if you’re making a difference.
You are a difference maker.
You battle on the front line.
When the breakthrough finally comes. When the first step is taken. When the first shirt is buttoned. When the first word is spoken. When the first bite is swallowed, it is you we want to tell. Before our families, friends, and doctors, we want to tell you. We want to celebrate with our therapist because you got us there.
You climb into the trenches with us and wade through the mud of recovery. It’s ugly and messy, and you are there for it all. You see us on our best days and on our worst days. You roll up your sleeves and fight with us, in the middle of our mess and confusion. You teach us. You answer our crazy questions. You remind us that we are not alone. You cry with us. You laugh with us, and you are the one we want to celebrate with.
Our lives are better because you choose to dive into the hard places with us. Thank you for making your patients laugh when they want to cry. Thank you for helping your patients get up one more time. Thank you for finding a way to make the hard work fun. Thank you for refusing to settle.
You could have chosen a career with a cozy office, a fancy title, and giant paycheck, but I’m so glad you didn’t. Thank you for choosing a career that gives life. Thank you fighting for more than a simple existence from your patients. Thank you for refusing to set limits on what is possible.
My son’s life is better because of you. So many lives are better because of you.
You, weary therapist, are a gift.