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Sunday, June 1, 2014

Humor, wit and mobility of the cornmudgeon


Jan and I went to visit Walt last night, in the rehab facility. It’s a new building on the campus of the Summa hospital system that is one third of the near south side of Akron. His room had one reclining chair and one folding chair. Perfect for two guests.

Walt was asleep, but Jan knocked and he was awake and ready for visiting. He said he had no idea of how he got home last Saturday, except it frightened him and he was grateful there were no repercussions. For my ears, a totally unexpected confession.

We chatted a bit; Jan excused herself to use his washroom. When she returned, “Why is your wheel chair in the shower?” The old sly grin. “I used it to get in there and set off the alarm. They found me using the facility and confiscated my wheels. I have to ask for help now.”

Two days later he knows all the staff by name and tells stories about them. A doctor asked why he was there and he said because his kid sister sent him. I laughed and remarked he would not have gone had I suggested it and I got the “What do you think?” stare.

I asked what he’d done for therapy and got “Walk, walk, walk.” I was stunned. “Between two rails?” which I considered preposterous as he left arm lies useless. “No, up and down the hall.” I went into the hall and demonstrated on the rail on the left side. Back in the room the dummy grin again. “No, the right side.” He has enough function in his left leg and enough upper body strength to slowly navigate the hall.

“How did you get past open doors?” I was still dumbfounded. Two fingers walked, 
s-l-o-w-l-y through the air. “Across the hall to return?” Same two fingers, in front of the dummy grin. I guess he intends to perambulate through the front door.

Twenty more minutes of idle chat, and I asked “So, what else are you thinking about?”

“Electrophoretic separation.”

I howled, Walt grinned, Jan demanded to know what was so funny.

The beautiful science fair project he and dad built when I was in the eleventh grade. Dad drilled me on the answers and was not pleased when I was booted in the second round. He thought I should win a scholarship; I barely rose to an inkling of what was happening in that device and why. I told the judges at the second level that it was my dad’s project, which was my out. Years later it is among the good stories Walt and I share. I never felt a moment’s remorse, though it took my dad a few years to get over it.


There’s no discharge date written on Walt’s wall chart yet, but he intends to walk the left wall frontwards in two or three weeks. Oh, and will I bring him a 42 ounce coffee from BP next time. As he is committed to recovery, I will return to my regular programming next week.


Dad, my youngest brother Mel on the left, Walt on the right. I guess Mel was around five, so the picture is 1952ish.

19 comments:

  1. Joanne, Walt sounds like he's doing pretty well in the rehab. Actually, he seems to have a great attitude about it all. I will pray that this continues and he will be able to go home ASAP.

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  2. If you bring him a 42 oz coffee he better learn to perambulate at a quick pace.....

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  3. I used to be a candy striper in an an Akron hospital.

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  4. Sounds like he is in good spirits and that's half the battle. This old curmudgeon will hold good thoughts for your old curmudgeon.

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  5. You can't keep him down, that's for sure! What a chap!

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  6. It sounds as if he is more stubborn than stains. A wonderful survival tool. Thank you so much for keeping us posted.

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  7. Glad that he is determined to recover and get out of there as soon as possible. I think that will be to his advantage as he continues to rehab. Too cute about the science project, but got to give you credit for telling the truth.

    betty

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  8. You are so lucky to have all those old pictures.

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  9. He is a character, bet you he gives everyone in there a merry time half the battle is won if he keeps positive, I wish him the best.
    Merle.................

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  10. Good for him! With that attitude he will push himself to recovery. My dad's doctor told us that as long as you have three limbs functioning after a stroke, you're okay. Either two legs and one arm or two arms (to use crutches) and one leg. Sadly my dad lost the use of one arm and one leg, so he's in a wheelchair. But it sounds like Walt is still good to go.

    I am aghast about the science project :) :)

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  11. He's got spirit and determination.

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  12. With his positive attitude I'm sure he'll be the nurses' favorite in no time.

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  13. in rehab and getting into trouble - I gather that is typical Walt.
    Wishing him well and now I'll be looking up Electrophoretic separation

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  14. Sounds like Walt will do just fine, especially with his family to support him ;-)

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  15. Tell Walt that I am thinking of him and proud of his attitude..That is a large part of the battle. Remind him that Mark is now in charge. he is a special person to me as well as his sisters. Keep him in line.

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  16. He's coming along well, in good spirits too. That will help a lot.

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  17. Hari Om
    do keep us updated though Joanne - clearly he intends to fight all the way!!! ..and how clever were those nurses? heheh. YAM xx

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  18. My dad is starting to struggle with physical limitations as well. He's determined to carry on, though, just like your Walt. Strength to both of them!

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  19. Your brother sounds like a spirited man -- one who will fight to get back to his normal life. And he will in time. -- barbara

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