The underdog story

The Underdog Story

How many of you stood in line to collect government cheese? That used to be a joke I would hear from those that were part of the “have” culture, but being raised in the “have not” culture made the line for government cheese a reality. The cheese was a brick of cheddar cheese.  Picture the industrial size that you would buy from Sam’s club or Costco, but it wasn’t near as good.  We had to use the old wire cutter in order to slice it.  We would race home and start cutting the cheese (not like that) with the wire cutter and the kids in the neighborhood would be full.  I never told my dad this story because he would’ve been upset with us taking handouts.

That’s were I grew up.  Our playground was a parking lot.  Our games of choice were whiffle ball and if you hit the taped up ball over the roof of the corner tavern, it was a home run.  We played tag in a blocks radius, which takes me to my next story.

I was always the heavy one.  I can remember going to Sears as a kid and heading straight to the Husky section.  That’s right…we had a section named just for us big kids.  Men’s, women’s, kid’s…husky.  Yeah, that wouldn’t fly today.

Being the “big kid”, I was always “it” when playing tag.  I wasn’t as fast as my more athletic brothers and would only be able to tag them if they let me.

One day while playing tag, I was chasing my brother and out of nowhere a car hit me and ran me over.  It could have been the end of me.  I should have been up in the clouds playing a harp.  Luckily, I was the big kid and my doctor reminded me of this when I was finally taken to the doctor after the accident.

He said (in a Chinese voice): “If you weren’t so fat, you could have been seriously hurt”

Looking back now, it’s a funny story, but it wasn’t then.

When my dad got home he only had one phrase for me; “did you learn anything”.  Mind you I’m 5 at the time! My dad is a Vietnam Veteran.  Tough to the core, but a heart of gold.  Whatever didn’t kill us would make us stronger and there had to be a learning lesson in there somewhere.

Needless to say, I had to overcome a lot of challenges growing up in an area where the anticipated outcomes were jail or cemetery.

This is what makes the story so great.  I overcame! I believe that anyone can overcome with the right mind set.

To other PT’s the title of doctor is one that can be spoken of only quietly in dark corners.  I am proud of it.  I am more so proud to have been named among the greats this year.  Updoc media named me among the top 40 influential physical therapists of 2017.

I’ve come a long way from the husky kid collecting government cheese.

Thanks to the guys at Updoc and thanks for reading.

Author: Dr. Vince Gutierrez, PT, cert. MDT

After having dedicated 8 years to growing my knowledge regarding the profession of physical therapy, it seems only fitting that I join the social media world in order to spread a little of the knowledge that I have gained over the years. This by no means is meant to act in place of a one-one medical consultation, but only to supplement your baseline knowledge in which to choose a practitioner for your problem. Having completed a Master of Physical Therapy degree, the MDT (Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy) certification and currently finishing a post-graduate doctorate degree, I have spent the previous 12 years in some sort of post-baccalalaureate study. Hopefully the reader finds the information insightful and uses the information in order to make more informed healthcare decisions. MISSION STATEMENT: My personal mission statement is as follows: As a professional, I will provide a thorough assessment of your clinical presentation and symptoms in order to determine both the provocative and relieving positions and movements. The assessment process and ensuing treatment will be based on current and relevant evidence. Furthermore, I will educate the patients regarding their symptoms and their likelihood of improving with either skilled therapy, an independent exercise program, spontaneous recovery or if the patient should be referred to a separate specialist to possibly provide a more rapid resolution of symptoms. Respecting the patient’s limited resources is important and I will provide an accurate overview of the prognosis within 7 visits, again based on current research. My goal is to empower the patient in order to take charge of both the symptomatic resolution and return to full function with as little dependence on the therapist as possible. Personally, I strive to be an example for family and friends. My goal is to demonstrate that success is not a byproduct of situations, but a series of choices and actions. I will mentor those, in any way possible, that are having difficulty with the choices and actions for success. I will continue to honor my family’s “blue-collar” roots by working to excel at my chosen career and life situations. I choose to be a leader of example, and not words, all the while reducing negativity in my life. I began working towards the professional aspect of the mission statement while still in physical therapy school. By choosing an internship that emphasized patient care and empowering the patient, instead of the internship that was either closest to home or where I knew that I would have the easiest road to graduation, I took the first step towards learning how to utilize the evidence to teach patients how to reduce their symptoms. I continued this process by completing Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy courses A-D and passing the credentialing exam. I will continue to pursue my clinical education through CEU’s on MDT and my goal is to obtain the status of Diplomat of MDT. Returning back to school for the t-DPT was a major decision for me, as resources (i.e. time and money) are limited. My choice was between saving money for the Dip MDT course (about 15,000 dollars) and continuing on with the Fellowship of American Academy of Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapists (FAAOMPT) (about 5,000 dollars), as these courses are paired through the MDT curriculum or returning to school to work towards a Doctorate of Physical Therapy degree. I initially planned on saving for the Dip MDT and FAAOMPT, but life changes forced me to re-evaluate my situation. The decision then changed to return for the tDPT, as my employer paid for a portion of the DPT program. My goal for applying to and finishing the Dip MDT and FAAOMPT is 10 years. This is how long I anticipate that it will take to finish paying student loans and save for both programs, based on the current rate of payment. I don’t know if I will ever accomplish what I set forth in the mission statement, but I do know that it will be a forever struggle to maintain this standard that I set for myself.

One thought on “The underdog story”

  1. Reblogged this on Matthew Villegas Physical Therapy and commented:
    Truth from one of the best people in the profession of Physical Therapy… and being on the list of influencers within the field is just the start for recognizing Dr. Vincent Gutierrez’s work. Here’s to the ones who have amazing personal stories of fighting through tremendous obstacles to achieve meaningful success. Anyone can want something better but here is someone who is special because he seeks it without begging AND is more than willing to help individuals like myself (DPT student and yearning Physical Therapists) learn to think critically without falling into the seemingly inevitable trap of becoming the complacent, complaining bitter healthcare “professional”.

    Liked by 1 person

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