Shadowing Experiences: Tyler Castleberry | Physical Therapy

When I was growing up, I did not always dream of becoming a doctor or even having a career in healthcare. For as long as I could remember I wanted to be an elementary teacher, then my sophomore year of high school happened. I had always been into gymnastics and was a cheerleader at my high school, but that particular school year I had injuries beyond belief. It all began with a wrist cyst, and I was out for 2 months and then I got reinjured with 3 wrist fractures the day I was released. This resulted in me being out for another 3 months with therapy. A week or so after being released, I was diagnosed with De Quervains tenosynovitis, which for my age was very rare. Doctors were in disbelief how someone so young could develop this disease. I was repetitively told, “I just don’t know what to try anymore” or “This is nothing that I have ever seen”. Being told this at 15 years old was absolutely terrifying. After spending a month of weekly appointments, I went to a new doctor for a second opinion. Little did I know at the time, this doctor would change my life. He not only took care of me physically, but emotionally always made sure I was okay. He quickly decided to do surgery, and 3 months later I was back to normal.

I tell that story not to have you know a little about me, but to have you understand why this was so important to me. That doctor invested in me and told me over and over he would do whatever it would take to make me better. That was what inspired me to go into healthcare, I wanted to be a doctor that invested in someone not only with their physical health but also their emotional wellbeing. This past semester I made a big change in my life switching from pre-med to pre-PA. I have always been a planner, so this was a huge deal for me. All the planning I had done for prior years was all up in shambles and I had no idea what to do. I also am taking organic chemistry as a freshmen, and just kept questioning myself with “can I really do this, Taylor?” This is when I began shadowing Brannon Brady.

The first day shadowing I was so nervous, but as soon as I got there my worries were lifted. I immediately felt so at home and I left knowing that is what I am supposed to do with my life. Since then, Wednesday afternoons have become my favorite day of the week. Mr. Brady not only explains anything about his job that I may ask, but he has become such a great mentor. Before each patient he explains the entire case, in the room he helps me understand what he’s doing, and after he asks any questions I may have. He now lets me try to depict x-rays with him, he will ask me anatomy questions to help me learn, and in 3 short months I feel so blessed by the amount of knowledge I have gained. This past week I was even given the opportunity to scrub in on day surgeries that he was assisting a surgeon on. He always helped me understand why things were being done or how things worked. I left feeling so amazed at this amazing career that I could one day have.

Mr. Brady not only helped show me that I wanted to pursue a career as a physician assistant, but he also has helped me grow as a college student. He understands college is hard, and he always makes a point to ask me how things are going in my classes and how I’m doing as a person. When he knows I’m stressed, he would encourage me and tell me he believes in me and that I can make it through my schooling. Having someone in a healthcare profession tell me they believe in me was a great motivation to keep working hard to achieve what I want.

Shadowing overall has been exactly what I needed this semester. It has helped motivate me to keep working hard for what I want, because I truly do want to be a physician assistant. I am so thankful to have been given this opportunity and I believe it was a major factor in keeping me striving for a career in healthcare when I needed it most.