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What personal characteristics make for a successful spinal cord injury patient?

What personal characteristics make for a successful spinal cord injury patient?

Guy W. Fried, MD

Chief Medical Officer, Magee Rehabilitation Hospital, Philadelphia

Read Bio More Videos by Guy W. Fried
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It’s the characteristics that they bring to the table before, and it’s a mental-physical flexibility that they need.  If you have scripted in your mind that you’re going to be the ballerina, that’s all you ever wanted to ... Show More

It’s the characteristics that they bring to the table before, and it’s a mental-physical flexibility that they need.  If you have scripted in your mind that you’re going to be the ballerina, that’s all you ever wanted to be was that ballerina, and you have a spinal cord injury where you’re not moving your legs, and you don’t have the mental flexibility to figure out what else would you want to do now, you’ve got an issue.  You’re going to be hitting the wall perhaps forever.  And that’s difficult if you don’t have the mental flexibility to shift dreams, to look at one dream and to pick up another dream.  That can be a problem.  So, patients that have it so scripted in their mind, where they can only do one thing, it can sometimes be a deficit, even if they’re extremely brilliant.  Sometimes that brilliance can turn inward against themselves, and they can pick at themselves, and they can be very cruel to themselves about what they can’t do.  And they can be very, very tough on themselves.  So, I think it’s that mental perspective, more important than any intelligence, or anything like that.  Certainly someone’s education—education just gives the flexibility.  If someone has an education, they’re more apt to shift a gear easier.  If all I did was dig ditches for the last fifty years, and then I have an injury, and all I know how to is dig a ditch, I’ve got potentially a problem.  Because I can’t do what I know and what I love.  So, for me to switch gears, I don’t have the basis.  I can go back and re-school myself, but that’s also taking the flexibility and just saying, “Do I have the mental flexibility to start from zero?” To start from not knowing or not being the expert.  Not being that perfect ballerina or that perfect ditch digger.  “Do I have the ability to go back to school and re-learn?”

 
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What personal characteristics make for a successful spinal cord injury patient?

Guy W. Fried, MD

Chief Medical Officer, Magee Rehabilitation Hospital, Philadelphia

More Videos by Guy W. Fried
Transcriptadd

It’s the characteristics that they bring to the table before, and it’s a mental-physical flexibility that they need.  If you have scripted in your mind that you’re going to be the ballerina, that’s all you ever wanted to be was that ballerina, and you have a spinal cord injury where you’re not moving your legs, and you don’t have the mental flexibility to figure out what else would you want to do now, you’ve got an issue.  You’re going to be hitting the wall perhaps forever.  And that’s difficult if you don’t have the mental flexibility to shift dreams, to look at one dream and to pick up another dream.  That can be a problem.  So, patients that have it so scripted in their mind, where they can only do one thing, it can sometimes be a deficit, even if they’re extremely brilliant.  Sometimes that brilliance can turn inward against themselves, and they can pick at themselves, and they can be very cruel to themselves about what they can’t do.  And they can be very, very tough on themselves.  So, I think it’s that mental perspective, more important than any intelligence, or anything like that.  Certainly someone’s education—education just gives the flexibility.  If someone has an education, they’re more apt to shift a gear easier.  If all I did was dig ditches for the last fifty years, and then I have an injury, and all I know how to is dig a ditch, I’ve got potentially a problem.  Because I can’t do what I know and what I love.  So, for me to switch gears, I don’t have the basis.  I can go back and re-school myself, but that’s also taking the flexibility and just saying, “Do I have the mental flexibility to start from zero?” To start from not knowing or not being the expert.  Not being that perfect ballerina or that perfect ditch digger.  “Do I have the ability to go back to school and re-learn?”

 
What personal characteristics make for a successful spinal cord injury patient?
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