SI Vault
 
Facing Up To A New Life
Darryl Stingley
September 05, 1983
Before Darryl Stingley could commit himself to a long and painful rehabilitation, he had to deal with the reality of his quadriplegia
Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font
September 05, 1983

Facing Up To A New Life

Before Darryl Stingley could commit himself to a long and painful rehabilitation, he had to deal with the reality of his quadriplegia

View CoverRead All Articles View This Issue
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

"Get the hell out of here, man," I yelled at him. "I don't need no shrink. I don't need your crap." No way was I talking to any shrink. What did I need help for? "I'll be my own shrink," I told the man. "No way I'm going to let you sit around here and pick my brain. You don't know me. You don't know the things that are pertinent to my situation."

"That's why I'm here," the psychiatrist said. "I want to find out about you, about who you are."

"I know who I am," I said. "Let me ask you the questions. You just want to ask me a lot of stupid questions so you can categorize me as being one thing or another, don't you?"

"Mr. Stingley, I've got to see you anyway," the shrink said, "and I'm going to get paid for it whether you talk to me or not."

"I don't care what you do with the time you spend with me," I said, "but I have nothing—not a damned thing—to talk to you about." And we never talked. Not once. I wasn't taking any mental trips with any shrink.

Late one night a nurse thought she'd try a different game plan with me. "Darryl," she said, "you're getting to be known around here as the worst patient we have. It's your attitude. You've got a bad attitude, the worst a lot of us have ever come across."

I wasn't ready for that. "Listen," I said, "my attitude is bad, I know that. But I think you people should have expected my attitude to be what it's been. I think you should be trained to cope with the negative attitudes of the people undergoing all this rehabilitation. You people expect me to accept your programs with no questions asked. That's not easy for me, certainly not right away."

"Darryl," she said, "just give us a break—and give yourself a break. Things take time, and you're not giving us—or yourself—the time to make it work."

Still, my bitterness seemed unlimited. One afternoon I was taking a nap, and when I woke up there were a dozen people standing around my bed. One of my doctors was conducting a tour of the rehab's facilities, and, as he put it, "I brought these people here to see one of our star patients."

"Star patient my ass," I screamed. "Get out of here right now, all of you. I'm not a star patient. And I'm not on exhibit for anyone."

Continue Story
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10