My Favorite Post of the Year: The Equalizer
Late last year I decided 2009 would be The Year of the Blog. I committed to putting up a weekly post and resolved to wait until the end of the year to decide whether or not to continue into 2010. It turns out I didn’t need to wait long to decide. I love my blog! Thank you to all who have visited, commented, and otherwise encouraged me to continue. I’ve learned a lot and met some great people through my blog this year and I trust next year will bring more of the same. For my final post of 2009, I’ll leave you with a story put up almost a year ago, early in the life of My Better Nursing Home.
Louise wasn’t referred to me for treatment, however, until she threw a cup of water at her aide several weeks later. (I’m not allowed to refer patients to myself.)
Louise told me about her life via handwritten notes and the occasional use of the talking computer that verbalized what she painstakingly typed out.
“Yet you write so well, and your spelling is perfect.”
She told me about her twin sisters, Lina and Lana, now 81 years old.
Once Lana came to the nursing home for rehab and I pushed Louise in her wheelchair to visit with her. The kissing and hugging that ensued caused me to turn away with embarrassment. I felt like I was interrupting a pair of lovers. When I said this to Louise, she giggled.
I took Louise out to sit on the patio, and I introduced her to some of the other residents, but still she sat in her room day after day.
“Why don’t you try using your computer?” I set her up in the hallway and explained to some of her neighbors how the computer worked. She tried this a couple of times, but soon retreated to her television and needlepoint.
“You know, Louise,” I finally said, “you might have been disabled and different from others all your life, but now you’re just like everyone else here. Almost everyone is in a wheelchair. When I first met you, I didn’t know you’d had polio. You looked like you could have had a stroke like Ms. Lopez or Mr. Wilson down the hall. It’s hard to understand them too, and they’re still out there, attending activities.”
She didn’t say much about this, but the next week I found her at a concert in the dining room with the other residents. Soon after, she became a regular at all the recreational activities and her childish rages with staff diminished. She stopped me in the hall one December day after we’d concluded treatment to ask me if I could come by to see her perform as Mary in the 3rd floor’s Nativity play. I managed to stop in the doorway for a while to watch the performance. She caught my eye and beamed a smile.