Saturday, December 10, 2005

The Whole 39 Yards

When Mom was first evaluated by Suzanne, the physical therapist, on Nov. 23, her diagnosis was "gait instability." With great effort Suzanne had pulled the safety belt to hoist Mom to her feet. At the parallel bars, Mom took baby steps.
Michael, the PTA, saw her on Wednesday, Nov. 30. By the following Monday, he commented, "She's doing a lot better today."
Jona reported this to me--I don't go to the PT sessions if I can help it.
By Thursday, Dec. 8, when Suzanne saw her for the third time, she was impressed.
"You're doing much better than a few weeks ago," she said. "You're doing most of the work, Evelyn."
She meant: "I don't have to pull you up out of the wheelchair."
Mom stood up, took a couple of steps, and sat down, five times in a row. Then she walked twenty feet using the walker while Suzanne held the safety belt. Then she stood up another five times.
No need to work at the parallel bars--Mom was beyond that.

[Footnote: Mom was talking a blue streak while doing all this.
First "Anne lost my lower plate."
Then "I left it under my pillow for the tooth fairy."
Then "Connie is so mean to me! She said I was going to go to hell if I didn't mind her. I asked for orange juice but she said, 'Shut up! I put you to bed and you're going to stay there. I'm not going to give you a damn thing.' I started crying, and she said, 'Shut up!'"]

On Friday Mom didn't go to physical therapy because of the P.E.O. meeting, and I didn't take time to help her walk at all that day. (I had a cold and was barely able to take her out for three hours to P.E.O.)
When I came to see her Saturday afternoon at 4 pm, she was sleepy, talking to me with closed eyes. I figured she would probably not be alert enough to walk, but we tried a test run from her chair to the bathroom.
She did fine, so I put her wheelchair around the corner and halfway down the hall, hoping to get her to walk further than she had ever walked since June 1.
She did great again and in fact walked past the wheelchair and into the dining room--maybe about 100 feet. I'll have to measure it.
I sang "Walking in a Winter Wonderland," again and again, to distract her from how difficult it was. She kind of sang along with me.
After dinner, I thought "Why not?" and pulled her up to stand at her walker.
She walked all the way back to her room and collapsed into her pink recliner.
I was singing all the way--"Winter Wonderland," "Frosty the Snowman."
The hall sure looked long as we left the living room and inched toward the laundry room.
"There must have been some magic in that old top hat we found...."
Either magic or a miracle.
She hasn't walked that far since arriving at Ocean View, October 1, 2004.

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