Friday, February 22, 2013

Accentuate the Positive

A week plus and I am feeling stronger.  It seems as though something unlatched a little and I can breathe a bit better.  PT and OT are definitely helping.  And I cannot say enough good things about the therapists themselves.  There is respect and caring for each patient as an individual.  They are very skilled but still earnest and encouraging.   My primary physical therapist laughs at my jokes, so he was an instant win.  Truly, almost everyone else working here is incredibly pleasant and helpful.

Because they are only people, there is the odd one or two lacking that balance of expertise and warmth.  I was sent for pulmonary rehab to see if it would be helpful.  Four of us were wheeled into a therapy room and pretty much ignored while the therapists discussed their plans.  Finally the Leader spun around and said, as if she was addressing imbeciles, “Ok, who remembers what we learned yesterday?”  Of course, ever the wise ass, I started to answer with a grin, “Not me!” (I hadn’t been there the day before).  Before I could get out two syllables, she said loudly, without even looking at me, “Except you Mrs. Cooper.”

Well hush my mouth.

She clearly found me irritating and, correspondingly, I couldn’t wait to get out of there.   I won’t be going back.  Besides the fact she is the only flat-out surly therapist I have encountered,  it really was redundant to what I was doing in PT.

I have to deal with many tiny aggravations every day.  There are big ones, too, including facing the fact that my health is failing.  But there are highlights that stand out from the past few days, things that seem minor but actually are huge in the scheme of things as far as making a difference goes.  They are small acts of kindness that provide proof of the goodness of most people.  Referring to them as small seems like a slight, although these ordinary things are often unnoticed or unseen.  But they carry so much power.

While I was in the first hospital the aide was in the room taking my vitals at about two in the morning.  A tech ambled by in the hall and she called out to him.  He backed up and was clearly pleased to see her.  “Hey girl!”  She went into the hall and I watched the two of them talking and laughing.  He was adorable and funny.  When he left, she came back and told me what a sweet guy he was.  I told her how cute he was.  A few minutes later, he strolled by again.  “Lamar!” she called, “My lady here thinks you are cute.”  He shot to attention and put on an exaggerated flirty performance.  He danced like Conan O’Brien and made up a rap song on the spot singing my praises.  The aide and I were in stitches and it really raised my spirits, he was so young and so sweet.  She chased him away and as he left he gave me the ‘call me’ sign. Too funny.

The first night I was here in rehab, I was literally too weak to even clean and dress myself.  My nurse’s aide bathed me in bed and changed the bed at the same time, totally matter of fact and kind.  I am used to feeling mortified and bereft when I am so helpless, but she was so sweet it felt like an ordinary, everyday thing.  And let me tell you, having someone one third of your age say “Ok, honey bunny!” as she finishes getting you dressed is in no way condescending.  It made my day.

My first roommate was very infirm and uncommunicative.  I suppose people thought because she didn’t say much, she was deaf.  Which she wasn’t.  But people yelled at her all day long.  “Mary (not her real name) eat!!”  “Mary swallow!!”  “Mary pick your head up!!”  “Mary, what is the matter with you?!?!”  “Mary, do you want a Xanax?!”

One night, the night shift nurse brought in her meds.  She quietly asked Mary how she was.  Mary replied, “Not good, I’m very nervous.”  Instead of screaming at her did she want a Xanax, this nurse sweetly said, “Well, we have something I can give you to make you feel better.  Would you like that?”  Mary said yes please.  The nurse returned and helped her with water.  And then she said the most incredible thing:  “Would you like me to sit with you until you feel better?”  Her demeanor seemed to have made all the difference, because Mary calmly said “No thank you” and drifted off to sleep.

And then there are the visits from my friends!  People who lead such incredibly busy lives, taking the time to come and sit with me, bringing me fruit and tea, my two favorites!  Sometimes my PT/OT schedule conflicts with visits, but that is the primary reason I’m here, so I have to do the therapy.  But people are even coming back if they have missed me!!  Incredible.  Our new interim Rector, who I had not even met, has visited me several times.  So generous with his time and prayers.

My granddaughter is two and obviously doesn’t understand why I am not home or what this place is.  But she was SO happy to see me when she came to visit!!  She hugged me and hugged me, saying “Grammy!!! Grammy!!!” over and over.  I can’t wait to get home and be with her again.

Can't wait to be home with her again!!
These ordinary people and ordinary actions are really what make a difference in our lives.

So there is a lot of hard stuff going on, but a lot of good to balance it.  Despite the hard stuff, I am a very lucky person.


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Muffie said...

I recently wrote two posts -- one about inconsiderate people, the other about kind ones. In my life, the kind outweighs the mean, and I can see that you're experiencing the same. It does our psyche such wonders when people treat us respectfully and considerately -- and it doesn't hurt physically, either.
Do get well soon and back home so that little grandie can enjoy you again!
Prayers and good thoughts...


Cheryl said...

So glad to hear that you are feeling better. The stories of people being sweet and considerate are fun to hear. The guy with the call me motion...that's funny.

You're little grand daughter is so cute. One of my grandchildren is also two...little boy. Love that age.

Continue feeling better!!!

Patty Woodland said...

Hopefully the good outweighs the bad. I hope they get you strong enough to leave very soon.

Webster said...

Oh, I see that anonymous like to comment you your blog, too. I don't publish his comments on mine.

I'm glad to hear of your progress. Your granddaughter is a cutie, but what I like most in that picture is the BOOKS. Look at your bookshelves - what a wonderful sight. I think that a home without books is ... naked.

Get home soon, Marie.

Shorespinner said...

Oh dear, anonymous has really spammed you. Hope you don't have to moderate for a while.

It's so good to hear that you are finding caring folks while you are in rehab. I loved the story about the aide who gave you the "call me" sign! As for the others - that's why the bumper stickers say - Mean People Suck.

Anji said...

The good ones out-weigh the bad ones. It's good to read how you are progressing.

What a georgeous grand-daughter you have!