This is a guest post by Zachary Fenell
Hello there faithful “Through My Eyes, My Life with Cerebral Palsy” readers! My name is Zachary Fenell and over the next few months I will be providing occasional guest posts here, sharing my experiences with a mild case of cerebral palsy.
Today I wish to share a story from when I was 16. One Thursday after school I went to a children’s rehab center where a physical therapist casted my right ankle. The cast, set to stay on for a week or two, served as a treatment to help relieve my ankle’s tightness.
At the time I worked as a cashier for a local (Ohio) grocery store, remaining on my feet throughout my shift. Scheduled to work the day after getting casted I showed up like normal. I will not forget my one manager’s reaction when she saw the cast. “Oh my Zach! Are you okay? Are you sure you can work?”
Her response surprised me as much as my cast surprised her. I never contemplated taking time off and trust me, I could’ve used some. In addition to taking a full academic course load, including an AP (advanced placement) class and no study halls, I worked four to five days a week. “Oh yeah, I’m fine. The cast is just to stretch out my ankle. I can work” I explained. Work I did too, maintaining my ordinary busy schedule the entire time I wore the cast.
Reflecting back I realize someone with a lesser work ethic would’ve likely used the cast to get out of work. Not me though, the thought didn’t even occur to me. I credit my cerebral palsy for my strong work ethic. You see, I underwent weekly physical therapy sessions starting at a very young age, either three or four. Thanks to my PT I grew up always working towards one goal or another. I didn’t get time off. That was life that was, and still is, cerebral palsy.
If you have cerebral palsy, I’d love to hear what you think. Does your CP influence your work ethic? I’ll be reading the comments below to find out! If you enjoy what you read, you may consider checking out my teenage memoir Off Balanced (available on the Kindle and Nook). Off Balanced explores how CP affected me socially as an adolescent.
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