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Resilience Can Be Messy
When Sheri Denkensohn Trott was still in rehab learning to live with quadriplegia, her favorite nurse, John, brought a plate of macaroni and cheese to her bedside, put her fork into her splint, and told her to call him when she was done eating. Trott, 16 at the time, says she was shocked, angry, scared, and in disbelief. For half an hour she yelled for him to come back and sobbed in anger. Then, writes Trott:

“I realized that I was either going to have to try or forgo eating, so I lifted up my arm and stuck my fork into the macaroni and cheese. About half fell off before it got to my mouth, but I succeeded in eating something. Next was green beans. Again, at least half fell off the fork, this time onto my lap, but I did eat what remained on the fork. When I finished, I didn’t feel relieved or proud of my accomplishment. I remember feeling tired, resentful and mad at John for making me feed myself. So I called him on the nurses’ bell. When he came back into the room he looked at the plate and said, “Not bad, next time you will likely eat more.” And he picked up my tray of food and took it out of the room.

I put my head down in silence because I didn’t know what to say or do. And then it hit me, for the first time in over six months I had actually done something for myself without help. And it wasn’t some minuscule task. It was one of the most important activities of daily living, feeding myself! It was a victory. It was hard and it was messy, but it was a victory. And each time I fed myself was easier, less tiring, not as frustrating, and resulted in more in my mouth than on the plate or in my lap.”

Read the rest of Trott’s NM blog entry, “How Macaroni and Cheese and Green Beans Helped Me to Develop Grit” at newm