One of my first gigs in my nursing career was working at the Detroit Rehabilitation Institute. I was working with a 30-year-old man with quadriplegia from a gunshot wound to the neck practicing driving his motorized wheelchair with a mouth stick. Coming down the hall towards us was a 40-year-old man recovering from a severe stroke learning to maneuver his wheelchair with his right hand and right foot. He was tilting dramatically to his right and drooling quite a bit. His very young wife, quite dressed up, was following behind him looking bored and a bit disgusted. Out of the corner of his mouth, the man with quadriplegia said, “Glad I’m not him.”
I remember this story as I wonder what is health? Is it being able to do what I want to do? Is it not having a symptom or disability or maybe not having to think about a symptom or disability? Is it tests being negative? I don’t know, it’s all relative.