Anime vs. Rehab. The battle begins.

Photo by Imani Williams on

OK, so it’s no secret I love anime. When I first discovered Dragon Ball Z back in my teens I was hooked. Honestly, even before that, I watched shows like Akira, Robotec, and especially Ronin Warriors. My love for anime is something I passed on to my son K-1. Growing up in North Carolina he probably saw more cartoon violence than is healthy for a toddler. 

It wasn’t just violence that got me it was how the protagonist always had to go up against great odds. How they would get knocked down and have to find a way to rise from a bone-crushing defeat.  It was common to see the hero bloodied, arm broken if not completely severed, crawling towards the villain. The villain would take time to do some type of monologue about their plans to take over the Earth or destroy the universe would have you. During this, that broken hero sums up the last of their strength and possibly some plot armor or some sort of deux ex macchina. 

The hero within level up, somehow find that extra gear and commence to beating the brakes off the villain. I swear for like five whole episodes Goku just screamed to summon up the power to become a super Saiyan. My and my friends and I were hooked to the TV to see what happened next. The music was switched to a beat that just told you that the villain was going to pause look at the camera and say “Welp, I bet you are wondering how I ended up buried in the face of a mountain.  My sinew is plastered all over the place like a toddler was left alone for  too long.” 

In the end, the hero stands triumphant. Well, the majority of the time the protagonist is left on the ground with a weak smile and a month’s worth of hospital bills around the corner coupled with extensive Physical Therapy. Still, they defeated their mortal enemy. Not because they were the most gifted physically or mentally, but because they had the will to push forward no matter how hard it got.

To me, Therapy can be like a good anime. The hero, the patient versus the villain which is the functional limitation or the injury or the pain. The villain is stopping them from doing what they love to do or from what they need to do in order to live a normal happy healthy life. The villain must be defeated.

I know right now you’re probably shaking your head thinking this boy has lost his rabid mind. Hear me out though, I’ve been in clinics look people screaming in pain crying barely able to move. Sometimes they had to be carried in by their loved ones. A lot of times they say I just wanna go and they’re not talking about going to Disneyland. Whatever’s going on has affected them so much that is starting to beat them down mentally and emotionally. I’ve had people scream out in pain that rivaled Goku’s. Some people had the pain taken over so bad that they were not their normal selves. The family would say that the person is not bad just miserable. In anime, there are always characters who appear to be side villains. When you learn their back story it turns out they are not the villain they are just in need of help.

Also like anime the treatment process can sometimes seem to go on forever. Depending on the severity of the injury the patient could be with you for several months I’ve seen some therapists working with some patients for years. During the intake process when I find out the patient’s history there have been more than a few times where the patient has told me that the initial injury occurred before my momma met my daddy. One Piece and its 20-odd years run don’t have anything on having pain since bell bottoms were in style.

Like the wise (haha) mentor my job is to help my patient progress to the next level. True they are firing off energy blasts or manifesting ridiculously long swords, but let someone wipe their behind or wash their armpit for the first time in months. That person feels like they just mastered a new hidden technique. Oh and don’t let someone walk for the first time in a year. The look of pure joy and satisfaction on their face trumps any smile of any character that has learned to fly for the first time.

So if you happen to catch me working with someone and I’m whispering“Dragon Dragon find the Dragon” or “I want to be the very best” just know we put in work. 


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: