A GUEST POST by my father on his experience of physiotherapy treatment by blind therapists.
We had been donating to Blind People’s Association (BPA) in Ahmedabad since the last 15 years but I never ever imagined that they would in turn help me in such a way.
2 years ago as I was recovering from pleurisy, my body became very weak and my mobility was severely affected. My doctor advised me to undergo physiotherapy exercises. He recommended that I try the physiotherapy center run by BPA.
We decided to follow his suggestion and one Monday morning in late August 2012, reached the center located on the busy 132 feet ring road.
There we found something unexpected. The center was run entirely by blind people except for the manager. Further, all the services were offered absolutely free of cost.
After initial inspection of my problem, the manager assigned me to a 20-year-old lady, a trained blind physiotherapist. Although she could not see me, with few touches of my hands and feet, she understood the pain I was experiencing and in consultation with the supervisor, planned what exercises* I needed to do.
She very patiently took me and my wife to all the locations where each of these were available and explained what I had to do with each of them. Then she said, “Uncle, don’t worry, I will be there for every day’s session to help you do the exercises. You will be alright – I would like to see you walk painlessly soon.”
The positive energy in the hall was contagious. We never imagined them to be so motivated in helping people when they themselves were disadvantaged.
After that introduction, going to the center became my daily routine. The sessions were in the afternoon for 90 minutes, 5 days a week. Along with me, there were 10-15 people suffering from a variety of problems ranging from muscular pains to paralysis. (There was even a section for children suffering from autism.)
At each session, the blind therapist girl used to be there, very punctually with a smiling face and invite me to do the exercises. With each exercise, she used to count the number of times it needed to be done. At the end, she used to check my mobility and say, “Uncle, you are making good progress, tomorrow you must come and do more times. Then you will no more need a stick to walk!” Although the exercises were repetitive, her encouraging words motivated me to keep coming for the entire period of 2 months.
If for any reason she was away, another blind therapist used to take me through the exercises with the same level of enthusiasm.
I must say that it was an unbelievably rewarding experience. By early October 2012, there was significant improvement in my body posture and mobility.
Thanks to these differently-abled physiotherapists, who could not see but through the engagement of their other senses and their sincere attitude to services, changed my life.
Thanks to the BPA and its donors for providing such opportunity to the blind and to us. May God bless these people and give them courage and strength to lead their lives happily.
* Exercises included cycling, shoulder wheel, springs to stretch and release hands, fingers, legs and feet, rope and pulley exercises, towers of Hanoi, and other finger and hand restorative exercises with blocks. In addition, the most important exercises on the table were twisting, bending and rotating the legs and feet, to be done with the help of a therapist.