'It was hard but you did it': The co-production of 'work' in a clinical setting among Spinal Cord Injured adults and their physical therapists (Papadimitriou) 2008c
Purpose: This paper focuses on what takes place during the rehabilitation of spinal cord injured (SCI) adults. It analyzes the cardinal rehabilitation task of transforming the compromised, limited and injured corporeal style of newly-injured adults (best described phenomenologically as an ‘I cannot do’ or ‘ I no longer can’) into a new style of embodiment, one in which ‘I am newly-abled’. This transformation is not a passive, surrendering experience. Rather, as informants repeatedly noted, ‘rehabilitation is hard work’. This paper examines that ‘work’.
Method: This paper draws from observational and interview data collected over an eighteen month period in a metropolitan rehabilitation center in the Midwestern United States. It presents an exemplar case of a clinical setting, that between a physical therapist and her SCI client.
Results: The interactional and meaning-making nature of clinical encounters are explicated, revealing the collaborative and situational constitution of rehabilitation work.
Conclusions: Experience-near, phenomenologically informed, research is shown to be a valuable way of understanding rehabilitation practices and how they might affect in-patients and staff.
Key Words: Spinal Cord Injured adults; rehabilitation; physical therapy work; newly-abled.