The expression “when pigs fly” is used in situations that feel impossible. When Stan was admitted to the inpatient rehab unit at Beaumont Hospital, Troy, he felt the probability of getting back to normal life was just that – impossible.
After suffering a stroke, Stan was discouraged by the fact that his rehab process would take him several weeks to get back some of his normal functions. Through the discouragement, Stan kept his great sense of humor and a lot of motivation to get better, even though he wished the rehab was an overnight fix. He started to joke with the therapy staff that he would not get out of the unit to go home until “pigs fly.”
With that thought in mind, the whole therapy and nursing team went with his joke and drew a picture of a pig flying on his board where the usual discharge date is designated. It was a great way to get over the discouragement and his motivation shot through the roof. At 60, Stan was still an avid hockey player and was committed to get back home play once again. Since he’s an athlete, the staff was able to motivate and push him like a driven, rehabbing athlete.
Finally, the day came that Stan was being discharged. Cathy, his wife, came to the gym with a box full of flying toy pigs for the therapy team to surprise him with. When he was ready to go, he was wheeled to the gym that he had spent so much time rehabbing in, only this time instead of physical therapy equipment, the staff that had worked with him for the past month were all holding the flying pigs.
“It was hilarious. I knew that it meant I was going home,” Stan said. “I’d like to thank all of the staff again and let them know they’re wonderful people.”
It was a very emotional moment for Stan, as well as everybody he had interacted with. All of his caregivers – physical therapists, occupational therapists and speech therapists, nurses and aides – signed his flying pig before he left, as a reminder that he could do the impossible.