Flavors of Rehabilitation

     The stories below are selected from among the face to face experiences of a rehab counselor whose goal was the employment of handicapped adults.  In retrospect many of the anecdotes highlight an isolated experience which became an unexpected key to success, failure, or an incident along the way that left an indelible impression. 
      In spite of all the resources one can imagine, when the chips are down the rehab counselor is alone in overcoming society's reluctance to hire handicapped individuals.  Community prejudice, ignorance, and fear are often the least of the worries when helping individuals overcome the demons within.  On some occasions success is a monumental achievement of the human spirit. 


Character ID


State of the Art Rehabilitation has come into the news primarily through the rich and famous,  whose addictions demand or require a cure.  Far less well known are the hundreds of rehabilitation field counselors who work with handicapped citizens all over the country to help them become employed and productive.  For those who have never heard of the state-federal Vocational Rehabilitation programs, this is the shortest brief in the world. 
Wayne the Well Driller Following a scheduled amputation, Wayne's wife calls the field counselor crying crocodile tears.  Her story is both shocking and unexpected. 
Armless in Kansas On occasion an individual is equipped with such simple, yet serious circumstances that planning for productive employment is an endless undertaking.
The Good Samaritan Individuals with emotional disorders were not legally considered for rehabilitation until the 1950s, but many of their antics were fascinating case study material in preparation for their rehabilitation.  Hays' Good Samaritan is a case in point. 
Exceptional Young Man On occasion the presenting handicap bears little relationship to the ease or difficulty experienced in preparing for or landing a job.  An exceptional young man's story examines this perplexing problem. 
Irving's Dilemma When Irving shows up at the county welfare office with a job-related problem and an unusual personal dilemma, the referral to rehab was an automatic.  
While Steve Slept Laborers often learn that Sunday afternoon is their only opportunity for a nap.  Unfortunately Steve's six-year-old son has very different plans. 
Sal's Simple Surgery After having a broken arm set, x-rays showed a loose bone fragment at the site of the former injury.  A simple office procedure is suggested for its removal. 
The USES Pest After a year of living on the margin through welfare, Harold says he is ready to get off the dole.  An acid test is used to check Harold's metal. 
Dianne's Mama Dianne was sharp, and single, and unemployed, and crazy, and lived at home with her mama.  It was difficult to separate her psychosis from her mama. 
 Don's First Love At forty years of age, Don encounters his first and second love affairs, and it launches him onto the path to work from which there is no escape.   
Don's Acid Test After six additional months of training, Don is ready for the acid test which is not long in coming, complete with gremlins.
Carl: Elephant Boy When a progressive impairment must co-exist with a fairy-tale solution, the outcome is usually a tossup, some heads, some tales.
Larry the Pimp Suffering from a rare genetic disorder, all the rehab in the world boils down to a loss of three inches.  What, after all, does the loss of three inches mean to a pimp? 
Jack the Ripper As an experimental psychologist, Missouri's Jack the Ripper never made it to the big time, but he was one of the early pioneers, with a reputation. 
Ed's Enigma One of the nicest kids in the world, Ed graduated from high school and wanted to work in the worst way.  Only one, or dozens of things stood in his way. 
Arnold Headfirst Arnold enters a slippery slope headfirst, which was not his strong suit. 
Which Witch? This dilemma weighs the treatment of two for-real witches by the Transportation Security Administration and the University of Georgia's Counselor Education Department, Rehab Section. 
Harold's Hernia When a big city rehab counselor wants to "show you something", then closes the door to her office, you know it is serious. 
Gertrude: Water Skier By her unusual behavior, Gertrude shows her strength of character in the most unlikely setting, a disability hearing. 
Bill Lays a Brick When Bubba and the builders in south Georgia need a bricklayer on short notice, they may call on Bill.  Woops!!!
Mable Cares Mabel was completely inept at telling her own story.  Fortunately, her daughter filled in all the blanks. 
Author A.A. Brill's psychoanalytic contribution to career choice suggests chance, not planning, is the primary contributor to the life work each of us follows.  In retrospect this puts many of the pieces together.   Rehab was a super accident.  

Settles Short Stories Index