As an adjunct faculty member at a university known for it’s Exercise Science & Rehab department, many students have entered my private clinic each year to interview me and observe patient care. Each one has a list of questions they are required to ask for their class assignments, including the classic “What do you enjoy most about your work?”. My answer has always been that I enjoy seeing people smiling when they leave the clinic, because they feel better. More recently, when being interviewed by a pony-tailed freshman who was earnest in her desire to learn about the different physical medicine professions, I gave a deeper answer.
“My deepest joy is surprising people,” I said. “I love seeing the sheer joy that someone feels when they get relief from a deep, chronic pain problem that has drained the energy from their life. Fortunately, they hadn’t given up yet and were willing to try one more new type of treatment when they walked through my door.”
I guess it’s not hard to understand why I would pick chronic pain relief as my favorite part of what I do. What makes it deeper for me is that I suffered chronic pain myself, and my successful treatment is what led me to my current profession.