My Palm Reader: My New Best Friend

Posted by Dr. Dan Gottlieb in Life After Paralysis on October 02, 2017 # Mobility

My significant other and I recently spent a few days with my 17-year-old grandson Sam at the shore. Of course, we had a great time together. One evening he said he wanted to get his palm read. Being a devoted grandfather, we went to get his palm read.

After walking a few blocks on the Boardwalk, we finally found one that looked quite official. Not only were we so happy to find one, but she charged $10 a palm. A bargain, don’t ya think?

So Sam went first. She said he was kind and loving, she went on to say he had a long-life line and he would live until he was 95 years old (I must remember to talk to him about long-term care insurance). And, oh yes, she said he would only be married once and he would have beautiful children. As an aside, when Sam was 10 years old he also wanted his palm read. At that time, the palm reader then said he would be married three times and he cried all the way home. So you can imagine how this time he was a happy boy!

But I had a sneaking feeling that Sam wasn’t the first person she said that to.

Joan was next. After studying her palm intensely for about 10 seconds, she declared that Joan was a very loving woman-a healer who is perhaps the medical profession (she is an RN). She said that Joan has a long marriage (she’s divorced, but what the hell, even a palm reader can’t be right all the time!)

And finally, yours truly. After some awkwardness on her part, she pried my contracted fingers open, she said I was a very strong person (a solid guess when you see an old guy in a wheelchair. By that time, we were either strong, stubborn or dead!). Anyway, she also said I was loving and helped a lot of people (I’m guessing that the first time she has said that to someone). Then she reassured me that I would get back to work. Little did she know that I’m trying to get out of my 50 hour a week job. (I’m self-employed but my boss is still an idiot sometimes)!

But here is the best part: she also said I would have a long life! So who are you going to believe, a palm reader or actuaries and medical researchers? Which one of those are fake news? I say it’s the actuaries and medical researchers!

By the way, Joan was upset when I pointed out that Sam and I had long lifeline but she didn’t say a word to Joan about that! (I’ve got this incorrigible part of me that likes to tease people). She laughed, of course but then she kept checking her lifeline for the next 24 hours!

But on a more serious note, why was Joan so upset and why was I so happy? I know the answer seems obvious but it’s worth asking anyway.

Like so many, right after my accident, my trauma, I considered suicide. Of course, I decided to live, but in hindsight I really didn’t want to die I just wanted to be out of pain. I wanted to live. It’s as simple as that.

And if you think about deeply and honestly, I’m think almost all its will agree. We want life. And we want it as Zorba the Greek said “life-the whole catastrophe”

So whether my BFF palm reader was correct or not, the prospect having another week, month or even year, almost makes me giddy with joy. Even though my body is even more broken than it was 38 years ago. Even though my life has become harder as my function diminishes. Even though my fatigue is sometimes overwhelming, I still love being alive.

Last night I watched sunset at the shore on what was a partly cloudy evening. As the sun went down, the entire sky was a vivid pink and the dark gray clouds in the foreground created a picture that was simply breathtaking. It was something that could neither be captured nor described. And when the sun went down, I felt so deeply humble and grateful for something that happens every day.

May we all notice more sunsets and have more love in our lives.

The National Paralysis Resource Center website is supported by the Administration for Community Living (ACL), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $8,700,000 with 100 percent funding by ACL/HHS. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by ACL/HHS, or the U.S. Government.