Observe, Adapt, Overcome
I was watching an episode of Extreme Home Makeover. During the episode they were speaking to a young man who had an arm injured and removed after an accident were he'd been dragged by a vehicle some distance. I missed hearing who originally told him these words or what initiated him using them, what they meant to him or even how he applied them to his situation because I was thinking what those words could be for me and others in a situation similar to mine. Although, not many people in their early 30s find themselves in a nursing home. I was distracted by a number of things at that time and so I decided to write the words down for a later time. I'd been having the words pop into my mind off and on, and so finally, I decided to define the words and then see where that led me.
Defining the terms
[uhb-zurv], ob·served, ob·serv·ing.
verb (used with object)
1. to see, watch, perceive, or notice: He observed the passersby in the street.
2. to regard with attention, especially so as to see or learn something: I want you to observe her reaction to the judge's question.
[uh-dapt] verb (used with object)
1. to make suitable to requirements or conditions; adjust or modify fittingly: They adapted themselves to the change quickly. He adapted the novel for movies.
verb (used without object)
2. to adjust oneself to different conditions, environment, etc.: adapt easily to all circumstances.
[oh-ver-kuhm] o·ver·came, o·ver·come, o·ver·com·ing.
verb (used with object)
1. to get the better of in a struggle or conflict; conquer; defeat: to overcome the enemy.
2. to prevail over (opposition, a debility, temptations, etc.); surmount: to overcome one's weaknesses.
3. to overpower or overwhelm in body or mind, as does liquor, a drug, exertion, or emotion: I was overcome with grief.
4. Archaic . to overspread or overrun.
verb (used without object)
5. to gain the victory; win; conquer: a plan to overcome by any means possible.
That said, I'd simplify the words a bit. For the purposes of what I've written here, this is how I define the words.
to watch intently and study an problem;
to modify actions or circumstances in order to change problem observed into either less of, or no problem at all;
succeeding at resolving a problem or difficulty.
In occupational therapy (OT) as a child, I learned many ways to adapt the things I did. I learned also to use the largest joint I could possibly use for a job, saving my smaller joints for jobs that only the smaller joints can do. I learned that if I wanted to lift a heavy skillet, I used an over/under grip where I put one hand over the handle and the other hand went on the underside of the handle but far enough back to support the other wrist. I learned if something was bulky and heavy, that it was best to scoot it across the floor if possible. I learned that when it came to pouring liquids from heavy containers, I had to have one hand gripping the handle and the other supporting the container from the underside to help control how much I tipped the container and how fast I poured the liquid out. Personally I try to avoid buying gallons of milk since they are pretty hard for me to lift and pour. But, when our son was going through at least a gallon of milk by himself and we used more for cooking, it was less expensive to buy gallons. We kept a half gallon jug that had previously had milk in it and washed it when it was empty to prepare it for the next time we needed it. My hubby would open the gallon of milk and pour some into the half gallon jug for me. Same with large jugs of liquid laundry detergent. I had a hard time opening jars as well. So many times as we were putting groceries away, if it was a jar that I'd have trouble opening, my hubby would open it and put it in the fridge for me so it was ready when I needed it. I only carried my laundry baskets down the stairs, then I set them down on the floor and would scoot them to the door, then I'd lift them up and carry them 2-3 steps from the door to the laundry room, which was off our screened in back porch at that time. I had a physical therapy evaluation so that the PT could see what we needed to work on, as well as my functional status and disability level. As he asked me the various questions, I surprised him with my answers. One question was "How much trouble would you say you have lifting a gallon of milk?" When I explained how I never needed to lift a gallon of milk, he seemed surprised. His surprise kinda grew as I answered more of his questions. But, that's partially the effect of having been seen by an OT during my childhood. OT is vital for helping someone who has hand, wrist and shoulder involvement, or other issues that one has trouble with doing. There are so many tips and tricks they have for helping with activities of daily living (ADLs) if that is one of the things that a person struggles with. Don't get me wrong, PTs can be extremely helpful as well, most PTs that is! I've been spoiled by my last PT.