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Monkey Insanity – New Mobility

Monkey Insanity – New Mobility


A good friend lately requested me what my secret SCI obsession was. Initially confused, I tamped down the intuition to ask what the hell she was speaking about, pressured a pensive face and blurted out, “Monkeys.”

Earlier than she might verbalize the confusion on her face, I attempted to clarify.

I advised her my simian obsession dated again to the early days of my preliminary rehab stint. In these darkish instances, somebody threw out the thought of a canine companion in hopes of brightening my day. My lack of enthusiasm should have been apparent, as a result of the dialog rapidly segued to much less conventional companion animals and, ultimately, to monkeys.

I used to be offered.

Let me preface this by saying, sure, I do know monkeys and gorillas should not the identical, however …

I immediately pictured myself driving an enormous silverback caregiver. Who wants pivot transfers or sliding boards when you’ve a comfortable, cuddly 400-pound ball of muscle tissue to swing you round? I might cling to his again or he might effortlessly swoop me round. I may not even want a wheelchair!

The nurses and therapists bought a great snicker out of my dream, and it took my thoughts off the much less cheery actuality of inpatient rehab. Possibly that might have been the tip of my monkey obsession, if not for the unit psychologist.

She remembered studying about a spot that truly skilled (a lot smaller) capuchin monkeys to assist quadriplegics and supply emotional assist. She couldn’t keep in mind the place she’d examine it, however she swore there was a film concerning the service and promised to assist observe it down.

It wasn’t my silverback, however the concept of a cute, tiny monkey serving to me existed proper on the good intersection of fascinating, ridiculous and hilarious in order to make it unforgettable. With out the moment gratification of right this moment’s web (it was 1998), my creativeness ran wild anticipating what the helper monkey setup would truly appear like.

I didn’t have to attend lengthy, as any individual discovered the identify of the film and tracked down an previous VHS copy. I can nonetheless keep in mind somebody rolling one of many previous TV/video carts into my room and exhibiting me the film field: Monkey Shines. The duvet featured a psychotic-looking stuffed monkey holding a bloody straight razor with the caption “An Experiment in Concern.”

As I watched the quadriplegic protagonist attempt to save all of his pals from the homicidal wrath of the possessed primate, I couldn’t cease fascinated about how genuinely excited the psychologist was upon listening to I used to be going to look at the film. I puzzled if she had any concept the movie wasn’t a documentary a few service monkey group, however fairly a psychological horror movie about an ill-adjusted quad and the scientifically-altered monkey that serves as a bodily manifestation of his rage. As ridiculous because it was to be watching this in SCI rehab as a newly-injured 18-year-old, the very fact she had all however endorsed it blew my thoughts.

Any severe flirtation with the thought of getting a helper monkey ended there for me, however my obsession with the idea solely grew. My dad and mom and I sometimes joked about my caregiver ape, and I made a degree of recommending Monkey Shines to any quad pals who hadn’t seen it. Fifteen years later, I even wrote a narrative a few Massachusetts nonprofit that truly offered quadriplegics with skilled monkeys.

By the point I completed relaying all of this to my good friend, she had completely checked out. “That’s humorous,” she stated, “however I used to be simply looking for out if there’s a wheelchair person you secretly observe.”

Oh. “Not likely.”



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