Saturday, August 8, 2009

Bandar can do hard

Sophie and I popped in at Jennings Center for Older Adults this afternoon, finding Bandar in the TV area sitting in her wheelchair in a little corner we call her lair. Here, she's tucked away, able to see who's watching television in front of her, who's walking, rolling or shuffling by and who's coming for a visit. If she needs something, she's close enough to the nurse's station to summon someone. The Queen of Routine, she has to be in one exact spot, angled in a specific direction for maximum viewing and minimum flow from the air conditioning vents that are positioned above her on the ceiling.

Despite her being very tired, she allowed us to coach her through a little physical therapy -- right there in her lair. She stood in front of her chair, with the aid of her walker, for as long as she could muster. She managed an impressive eight and a half minutes, all the while saying, "I can't do it... I'm not going to do it... No, I not gonna do it." She did it. This little exercise is vital to Bandar's improving her endurance. Unimpressed with her own performance, she agreed to allow us to join her at the dinner table, with her friend Walter, a likable fellow two years Bandar's senior. She and Walter were served ham, mashed potatoes and baked beans and corn bread. She passed on the spuds and handed off the bread to me.

As is our custom, we went for a short stroll after dinner, Sophie and me walking while I push Bandar in her wheelchair. We always hit the religious statues inside the facility. There are at least a half dozen Marys. I stop at each one and Bandar crosses herself, folds hands in prayer and pleads aloud for the Virgin Mother to help her. Bandar sort of waved at each one tonight, a form of prayer shorthand I suppose. She wanted to get back downstairs.

Aside from a little grumpiness today, Bandar continues her slow and steady march toward recovery. She works diligently and occasionally gets discouraged to the point of tears. "It's too hard," she says, often while she's doing the very thing she says she cannot do.

"You can do hard," I reply, quoting a favorite expression I learned from my friend Ro Eugene, shortly before she died this year. Ro left me with that treasure, among others. "You've worked hard all your life," I continued. "You can keep it up." These words seemed to do the trick, at least for today. She replied, "Yeah, I know."
Bandar is certified to continue with occupational therapy until Aug. 18 and with physical therapy until Aug. 25. If all continues to go well, she will leave Jennings Center for Older Adults Aug. 26 and join Sophie and me at our home, CadMur Manor, for how long is anyone's guess.

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