Wednesday, June 10, 2009

More Help = Helpless

My oldest client is a 88 year old Mrs. Johnson. I have been meeting with Mrs. Johnson for almost 2 years every Monday and Friday morning at 9:30am. There have been an occasional missed session here and there because of inclement weather, doctor appointment , or mild sickness--but all in all, Mrs. Johnson has been the "rock" of my client list. The thing that makes Mrs. Johnson special--all 98 pounds of her--is she is partially blinded by cataracts, glaucoma, and has had 3 hip replacement surgeries. Her frail body battles everyday up sidewalk curbs, stairs, and rain, snow, and strong winds with the help of her trusty walking cane.

Each session, I am reminded at how small the things in life that are "perceived" to be stressful--really are not. Her fortitude is unmatched and I am constantly assured that just when I think I have no more strength or will left, I actually really do have a reserve.

Mrs. Johnson and I work for 30 minutes each session. Our workout consists of basic machine work, chair exercises, and some band work. I throw in some kinesthetic awareness drills and reaction time drills with a child's play ball. She loves it and it gives her enjoyment. Once in a while, she asks me to break out the 5 iron, so she can take a few practice swings. Although, I get eerie of her overzealousness, I am pleased that she is able to enjoy her life regardless of the circumstances.

One day, I tried helping Mrs. Johnson into a chair for her dumbbell work. She crooked her head at me and says, "I'm fine, I can do it".

I replied, "Just want to help you in the chair, Mrs. Johnson."

And I'll never forget...she looked into my eyes with her fog-colored pupils and shivering lips and stated:

"John, the more I am helped in life, the more I become helpless".

In my life, I tend to remember the things that are said to me that make an impact on my belief system and my perspective on life. Her simple words rang true and rang hard inside my head.

She is right. Use it or lose it....

Carve your path and you remain strong. Have it carved for you and you tend to become apathetic to the world, rather than proactive towards your goals.

I think most of us have a "Mrs. Johnson" client in our list...


  1. Great post John. We should all think of the Mrs. Johnson's. Grant them the independence, but be there to help when needed.

  2. "the more I am helped in life, the more I become helpless" - This is one of the most inspirational things I've ever read. Thank you so much for sharing this!


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