I complained about a pain in my back that develops after sitting in my wheelchair for some time.  An appointment was set up for physical therapy. Seemed like a good place to start.  I was set up with a series of day long sessions at The Day Institute.  Neither Mary nor I could understand how standardized day long sessions would be wise, but we’re not experts.  They provided handicap bus transportation to and from the institute.  I was the only “young” person there.

People on the bus are either staring into space the whole time, with no change in expression, or talking to me constantly about how nice the weather is and everything I might ever want to know about how the bus route works.  Apparently, on the morning ride, I did not listen with the intensity that I should have.  In the evening, they drop people off in the reverse order to how they are loaded onto the bus, as the driver can’t get the wheelchairs past each other in the isle.  The experienced people know to hide in the bathroom, behind a bush, under a rock, what have you, until the last possible moment, so as to be loaded last. I, making the terrible mistake of not listening seriously enough to the patient that had earlier tried to teach me the ropes, eagerly rush onto the bus, trying to get the heck home.  By the time I got home, I could have rolled my wheelchair home and back, twice. Lesson, don’t ignore the ones who know the system.

For testing, and for therapy, they give people tasks to complete such as filling 100 pegs on a board with a washer, nut, cylinder, round bead, in that order, and then removing them all again.  Since this is my first visit, the therapist is timing me. I’m on it. I devise the most efficient order, go as fast as I can, and when I get all the pegs filled, dump the whole board upside down.  I was looking for confirmation that I had set a record but the therapist is just laughing. I had asked her at the beginning if there were any rules as to how to do it and she had told me no. I asked.

Meanwhile, the older gentleman next to me is looking extremely bored and slowly filling each peg one at a time, having to keep track of the fill order each time.  He is clearly not into it at all. I even wonder if he might fall asleep. I try to give some helpful advice, “p-perhaps you might try filling all the pegs with the first item, then you could go back and fill all the pegs with the second item, etc.  I’m pretty sure that you could boost your speed efficiency by 37%. No, it’s not against the rules. Yes, I asked.” My smile of superiority in pegboard filling was wiped off my face when I realized that the slow gentleman was home in plenty of time for dinner.  

I wonder if this day institute could be combined with a parts manufacturing company?  Why not? No one, including me, thought it was useful for me to come back for any more visits.