I Do Not Owe You An Explanation

stair-elevatorDuring yesterday morning’s class, my professor was giving a lecture about the history of treatment modalities in our field. He was specifically addressing the shift away from a model that focuses on pathology and disability towards a model that focuses on ability. The point of the shift is to treat the patient as a whole person within the context of their own personal and social environment and to include their needs/wants/values/choices in making medical decisions. It’s an ideal model, but not one we’ll be seeing adhered to anytime soon, since it’s not a model that generates as much profit (gotta love capitalism). Regardless, it was all very empowering and feel-good stuff.

Except, as he’s talking about elevators (commonly used by individuals with physical impairments) he says to the class:

“Don’t use them! I haven’t caught anyone in here yet, but you better not be using the elevator. If you want to work in physical therapy, you should be using the stairs! If I catch you riding the elevator, I’m going to have something to say to you!”

Um, excuse me? This statement really pissed me off. Mostly because I use the elevator every single time I go to school…

I walk into the health sciences building, flash my ID badge, make a sharp right, hit the “up” button, and ride the elevator to the third floor. I use that time to take some deep breaths and center myself. I also put my sunglasses/hats/gloves/scarf/etc in my bag and organize my crap. It’s my final moment to collect myself and transition to “student mind” (which is sometimes quite a challenge since I have a dissociative disorder) before the elevator doors open. Once they do, I am in full-on school mode and ready to tackle the day. Then I stop by the bathroom to wash my hands and fix my hair/makeup before finally walking to my classroom. It’s a short but necessary routine that helps me feel calm and present.

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