Friday, May 11, 2018

Notes from the Grounded

Call it a repair shop. Not a junkyard. Nobody’s been totaled. We call it a cruise ship to nowhere, this convalescent rehab. It’s neither a hospital nor hotel. But they do have room service and the food’s not bad. I know because I eat what Peggy doesn’t. Best of all there are no I.V.s or monitors beeping at all hours.

The exercise area is loud with walkers scraping, bikes buzzing, bones grinding, folks groaning and a small army of occupational and physical therapists urging the worn bodies to surpass themselves from yesterday. Resistance also has a voice. Their faces register a sort of bewilderment how they landed here after the fall, remembering how to ambulate all over again. 

In the room women come and go speaking of sixty years ago. Octo and Nonagenarians learning like their great grandchildren to waddle across the room. Everyone has a back story, besides the story of their back. Each person needs to assert who she is beyond that woman in 418, bed one. 

Flowers arrive painting Peggy’s room with their bright palette…….and then they droop and she watches them wither…but the sentiments remain in full bloom. She celebrated the 97th anniversary of herself here with a dozen heart-shaped balloons and many well-wishes expressing amaze. Her juices still abundant.

Blood presses with both a contracting heart (systolic) and a resting one (diastolic) and takes its measure through our arteries. Too high is a concern, too low even a greater one. Peggy's high was too low at 75/40. They need not to push beyond her pace. She came close to fainting.

For the frail, morbidity has a number devoutly to be avoided. I watch bodies droop like five-day old tulips but humans can be reinvigorated... and she was.

In the room alpha males come and go no longer the bully C.E.O. It’s a humbling time moving from the fast lane to the Good Ship Lollypop. Maybe for some a mirror.

This is a way-station between the operating room and home. It is a cautionary interlude, a confrontation with the brittleness of bones. They will walk out a bit sobered; a preview of coming attractions, perhaps. 

For Peggy this has been a homecoming from her nine week stay in 2013 when she had a titanium rod installed in her thigh. Soon she’ll be sprung. Having entered horizontally, she has moved through the diagonal to the near vertical.

Out of this room Peggy will get up and go...

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful, my darling! Only one paragraph stumps me. I'll let you guess which one