ROC Physical Therapy November 2019




Every year on Nov. 11, Americans all across the nation gather together to observe Veterans Day, a holiday dedicated to honoring those who have served in the United States armed forces. While I know a handful of former military men and women, there is one who sticks out in my mind whenever Veterans Day comes around. His name is Paul, and I’ve had the amazing privilege of knowing him as a patient for 14 1/2 years. Paul spent many of his younger years in the Air Force. In fact, he was part of the Berlin airlift during WWII. From the stories I’ve heard, some of his best memories from that time were shared with his Air Force buddies over a couple pints of authentic German beer, which he will tell you is better than all the rest combined. The best part of listening to his stories is to hear that he and his friends still stay in touch after all those years. The entire team here loves to hear details about the exciting life experiences Paul had in the years before he made his first appearance at ROC Physical Therapy nearly 15 years ago and the ones that have followed since. The first time I met Paul, he had been referred to our clinic after suffering an injury. Even during that initial consultation, I was blown away by how dedicated Paul was to the treatment process. He never complained and always worked hard.

He was perhaps the most consistent patient I’ve ever seen.

After he fully recovered from his injury, Paul wasn’t ready to give up his weekly appointments at ROC Physical Therapy, so he joined a program we call Independent Gym. Most former patients participate in Independent Gym once or twice a week, but we had the good fortune of seeing Paul’s face five days a week! He’d come in near the same time every day, set the TV to Fox News, turn the volume as high as it would go, and get started on daily his workout. Then on his way out the door, Paul would be sure to throw a couple of snarky but funny jokes our way, yelling out observations like, “Sure doesn’t seem like you’re working too hard today!” Over the last year or so, Paul’s doctor told him that he needed to slow down on the exercising to protect his heart, but fortunately for us, his visits haven’t stopped. He still comes in every so often to tease our front office staff or to give me a hard time about putting healthy recipes in our monthly newsletter. In fact, last month, he said, “Matt, I saw in your last newsletter that you were promoting a beet salad recipe. Do you even eat that? How about you print the famous military recipe for SOS breakfast instead!” I know better than not to listen to Paul, so, if you turn the page, you’ll find his recipe!

Paul has been with us since our office’s early days, and we couldn’t have imagined a more hardworking, sarcastic, and fun patient to spend our days with. As a token of our appreciation for all the entertainment Paul brings us, Karen (our office manager) and I decided to surprise him for his 90th birthday early this year. He mentioned to us once how much he loves ice cream, so we went to Cold Stone Creamery, picked up a tasty ice-cream cake, and delivered it to his house so he and his wife could indulge a little bit. The joy that radiated from his smile truly made our day. Getting to work with veterans and help them on their journey back to recovery is one of the best parts of our job. So, to Paul and all the other veterans we’ve had the opportunity to help over the years, the team and I just want to say thank you for your service and for all the sacrifices you have made. Happy Veterans Day!

–Matt Smith

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