"But Darryl, between you and me, you really ought to change your outlook. You've got nothing to gain if you keep on treating everyone the way you have since you arrived. You may not think so, but they're trying to help you. My advice to you, Darryl, is to get smart. Don't fight the therapists. Work hand in hand with them. You and everyone else will be a lot better off in the end."
When Dr. Sahgal left my room, I thought about what he said, about his advice, and I made a decision. From now on, Darryl Stingley would look out for Darryl Stingley and no one else. But while Darryl was taking care of Darryl, he'd be considerate of the people he was dealing with on a regular basis.
I told Tina what Dr. Sahgal had said, and she gave me one of her I-told-you-so looks. She'd been on my case, too, trying to get me to calm down, to change my attitude. The trick, as I saw it, would be to eliminate the negative from my mind—the bitterness, the frustration, the depressing thoughts. And I came up with a new strategy: I'd roll with the punches.
The next day the same physical therapist was on duty, and she put me through the same torture tests as the day before. I thought to myself, "This lady is still one tactless bitch," but I kept my mouth shut for a change. After a while I said to her, "Let's try that brace-up exercise you put me in yesterday."
"Why?" she said, shaking her head. "You said you can't do it, that it's too tough for you."
"That was yesterday," I said. "Let me try it again right now."
"You sure?" she said.
"Yeah, I'm sure."
She rolled me over on the mat and set me up in the triangular shape, the way she had before.
"All right," she said, "I'm going to let go, and then I'll start counting. Let's see if you can make it to five."