A Year Of Challenges


I have been thinking about a year ago at this time – I was still in rehab with a broken hip and waiting for the doc to tell me I could have full weight-bearing on my right leg.  When Feb. 24th came around, I wasn’t sure I wanted to think about it as an anniversary, but what would I call it?  Marking of a milestone or event?  Still haven’t figured it out yet – fortunately the world won’t come to an end if I don’t have a name for it.  The other weekend Eddie and I were on  Pacific Highway South, we passed Stafford and his comment was “I don’t ever want to think about that place again!”.

I had a different feeling about it – I think of it fondly because of the people I met and who were so good to me as I began to recover.  I think about my room on the first floor – all my own, not having to share with anyone.  It had a view west and I saw Puget Sound and Vashon Island across the way; plus I saw the planes landing from the south and taking off to the south.  There were lights on at night, plus I looked down on Pac Highway South and saw the traffic and the lights.

I was the first time in a long time the focus was on me, healing, therapy and just doing normal personal things.  I was alone in my room – I had books and writing material but somehow I was too tired to touch any of them.  I was tired all the time but still was able to laugh with the aides, the therapists, the staff in the dining room as well as the doc and nurses.  I still had to deal with stuff for Mom and for Eddie as well – plus listen to him complain about dealing with Mom as if I had no idea what it was like.  I did spend a lot of time in my room with the door closed, it was great.

One thing I learned was that when I ask for something, make sure it is very specific because I don’t know what will show up otherwise.  I kept thinking and saying, I need a break – I see now I needed to say 2 weeks in a spa because I ended up with a broken hip.  In some ways it was a bit of a spa but not in the usual way.  I remember when I went up to therapy there was the smell of newly baked cookies – they had a jar on the front desk for anyone who wanted them.  It was easy to recognize the peanut butter cookies, but not always other kinds.

What I remember most are the aides who were always there for me.  Eleanor usually came in to help me get dressed – a tall, well endowed black woman not only chewed gum but also snapped it quite often.  I thought that would drive me crazy faster than anything.  Strangely it didn’t.  Eleanor was like a mama bear, she took care of her charges and defends them , even going up to therapy to make sure they weren’t terrorizing her charges.  She had a great sense of humor and we laughed a lot.  I think she was from the South somewhere – for some reason Alabama comes to mind.  One day she was helping me put on my bra and  I said something about “the girls” were in all the way.  apparently she had never heard that expression before and found it funny.

She didn’t suffer fools gladly but if I needed her, she was there for me.  About three weeks after I arrived, I woke up with a terrible flare-up, I hurt all over and she came in and found me crying on the john.  She was a very comforting mama bear and was so good to me.  When I went upstairs to therapy, I was still having a miserable time, so Carol, my OT, put on hot packs for shoulders and dipped my hands in paraffin.  It helped and as usual, by afternoon I was more comfortable.  It wasn’t the only time I had trouble, it wasn’t until I was able to take the Methotrexate again for three weeks before I began to feel much better.  They had stopped it so my incision would heal well.  I don’t remember the doc telling me that, though I was pretty doped up in the hospital for a bit – not sure I remember very much of that part.

I remember one time when I was working with Sabrina, a PT, and I was having problems that day.  I finally told her “I don’t mean to be uncooperative, it just hurts more than usual”.  Her reply surprised me – “Uncooperative!  You have never refused to do anything we have asked!”.  They could tell  when I was really having trouble and not just dogging it.  There were times when I was there and someone would refuse to do things, kept saying it hurts.  Or refuse to work with a particular therapist, though no one was sure why.

I am forever grateful to every one at Stafford, they made it possible for me to leave on my ow two feet and a wheely walker.

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4 Responses to “A Year Of Challenges”

  1. Maurice A. Barry Says:

    A very nice story. Let’s hope that things continue to improve.

  2. angelswhisper2011 Says:

    Lovely memories of a difficult period. I hope it all goes well soon 🙂

    • Lee Kaplanian Says:

      Thank you so much. I am getting better at seeing the gift in things, whether fun and enjoyable or difficult and uncomfortable. I am glad to say I am now walking without a cane but on my own two feet – feels so good!

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