Who we are is worth far more than what we can physically do.
Although I am typically not much of a TV watcher, I got sucked into the Game of Thrones series since I had previously read the books. Yes, I am one of those people who reads the books before the movie! You may be wondering where I am going with this… so let me backtrack a little and take the time to put out a spoiler alert.
CAUTION: This post includes serious SPOILER ALERTS.
In the very beginning of the series, Bran Stark, a young boy, is pushed from a window and breaks his back and he is left paralyzed from the waist down. Throughout the series, he develops a supernatural ability to see the past, present, and future. In the series finale, after several people have spent years vying for the crown and kingdom, Bran emerges as the King of Westeros because his unique ability makes him well suited to reestablish peace in lands that have been disrupted by the ongoing quest for power.
I was struck by the fact that, although Bran’s disability would have made him an unlikely candidate in his society’s ideology, he is celebrated for the far more powerful abilities he acquires as a consequence of his accident. In the world of the Game of Thrones, it is said that he had to lose the ability to walk in order to fly. This means that it was necessary for Bran to lose an ability possessed by all in order to gain an immense power that only he has.
I think this can be a powerful lesson for anyone who has lost something. When something is lost or taken away, people often acclimate or compensate for that loss through the development of other abilities. For example, most individuals who have lost or have limited vision possess a heightened sense of hearing. Amidst all of the warriors, strategists, and leaders in the world of Game of Thrones, Bran Stark, initially looked down as the “crippled,” emerges as the most powerful character of them all. If we look for the new strengths that emerge with each loss in life, we may find that every loss leaves us with even greater tools to triumph over life’s trials.
It is rather irrelevant to wonder what I would have done had I not broken my neck, since it is what happened and there is no way to turn back time. I have no way of knowing where I would have ended up, or what I would have done had my life played out differently. I do know, however, that I have gained many things that I would not have otherwise. There are, of course, many relationships that have directly developed or deepened as a result of my accident. Even the incredibly enriching opportunity to be a part of the Ventec Life Systems team is a direct result of my loss of breathing function. The community is full of talented and kind individuals, who each enhances my life in their own way. While I may have been able to impact people's lives if I had become a physician, I believe that through my relationship with Ventec I am able to help others in powerful ways. As I continue to work hard at being an advocate for ventilator users and a contributor in developing VOCSN, I feel as if our team’s capabilities and dedication to improving the quality of life for those who rely on mechanical ventilation operate like a superpower.
Additionally, I have strengthened other skills through my loss of mobility. I have become more observant of my surroundings and tend to recollect the details of the surroundings better than I did when it was easier to move about. I think the most powerful change, however, occurred in the core of who I am. The people that have come into my life have shown me how to be a better, kinder, and more compassionate person. Who we are is worth far more than what we can physically do. I have had the opportunity to grow and become a stronger and better version of myself than I would have been had I not lost physical abilities which are irrelevant to defining one's character.
Perhaps I have taken a far more philosophical perspective in my Games of Thrones post-finale musings than I ought to have. However, I do think that this seemingly counterintuitive, but common phenomenon of acquiring a heightened ability in lieu of another offers an opportunity to consider our losses as a potential gain.
The views expressed by Loa are not necessarily the view of the Ventec Life Systems, its members or the clinical board. These blog posts are the personal experiences of Loa. The blog posts are not intended to provide clinical advice or training related to VOCSN. Always consult a physician or trained clinician prior to using VOCSN. Please refer to the VOCSN Clinical and Technical Manual for detailed instructions, including indications and contraindications for use. VOCSN is available by prescription only.