Tagged with: disability exercise Physical Activity
Dr. Bloom and I are working on singing the song “Brush Up Your Shakespeare” from Kiss Me Kate, the musical version of Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew. One of the goals of singing this song is to get Dr. Bloom’s hands all the way up to his head, as though he is brushing his hair, a play on the words “brush up.”
Some months ago when we were working on another gesture which involved raising up the arms of Dr. Bloom , he said, “I don’t mean to complain or sound like I am feeling sorry for myself, but my arms feel like “Popeye” arms. They are so heavy. That is why it’s so hard to lift them like this.” He said this as he lifted his arms to shoulder height. Now, he can reach past his shoulders, nearly to his head, even with the heaviness.
I recently injured one of my rotator cuff tendons and in the scheme of things, this is such a minor injury. Yet, I feel like the joke is minor when it happens to someone else. This tiny injury pops up when I buckle my seatbelt, close the car door, reach for a coffee cup, and lift groceries.
So, I find myself thinking about not being able to do things that I used to do so easily, such as buckle my seatbelt. Then I find myself thinking about Dr. Bloom and the arms that he has managed to lift. I like to think I am a compassionate and empathetic person. After all, I often think about Dr. Bloom and his C3 incomplete spinal cord injury. I marvel at all that he has accomplished in his life, before and after his injury. In the time we’ve worked together, my respect for his abilities continue to increase for his willingness to learn the new and foreign skill of acting.
Now, as I struggle to lift my arm, I hope I have discovered another layer of compassion and empathy. Compassion literally means “to suffer together” while empathy comes from the Greek empatheia meaning affection. I know that I cannot truly understand what Dr. Bloom’s arms feel like, but I hope I can translate my minor injury into a greater passion for him and the work we are doing together.
Which leads me back to why we began this journey in the first place,.. healing. Dr. Bloom is as whole as am I. I cannot take away his spinal cord injury, as much as I wish I could, and he cannot fix my rotator cuff. But, we can study Shakespeare together, laugh, learn, and experiment with acting, all the while becoming more whole, more healed, and more of who we are. What activity makes you feel complete?