Deciding on a future career can be overwhelming especially at 17 years old, but for me it was rather simple. After losing my right hand at the age of six, I would encounter many important members of the health care field; a team of caring individuals at my service making sure I returned to my healthy six-year-old self. With the amount of time I spent in hospitals during this time, I developed an appreciation for the work that these adults around me were doing. I can recall my time spent at Shriners Hospitals for Children being fitted for different prosthetics and trying out different styles that would work best for me. It was always so exciting getting “a new arm” that I could show off to my friends at school.
But perhaps my fondest memories from Springfield Shriners Hospital were during occupational therapy. At six years old, occupational therapy was mostly fun and games. What I didn’t realize until later on is the value of doing things that I enjoyed to regain my independence as a new amputee. Sometimes when I was challenged I would get frustrated, but my OT instilled in me that “I can’t” was not an option. The coolest part was that she had only one hand too! She knew exactly what I was going through. The struggle of not being able to tie my shoes or ride a bike on the first try, or the second; she had been in my shoes and she had overcome all the same challenges. My OT showed me how to live my life with one hand, and without her I don’t know if I would be as capable as I am today.
My hope is to someday do the same for other amputees.
I am currently in my third year of occupational therapy school and I love that I am learning to better the lives of others. Occupational therapy is such a diverse field with so many opportunities to create positive change for people who face challenges. So at 17, being an OT seemed to be “my calling” in life and three years later I could not be more pleased with my decision to become an occupational therapist.