Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Life cycles

Mama-in-law, Bandar, today begins her second full day at rehab (and she said, "No! No! No!"). She's not thrilled to be away from her home or ours but is happy to have been discharged from Metro Health Hospital, where she spent Friday through Monday evening. She's housed in a private room at the Jennings Center for Older Adults, in Garfield Heights, less than 10 minutes from CadMur Manor. She may be there for two weeks or more, during which time she will have around-the-clock care and daily physical therapy, to walk as best she can while both the swelling in her T12 compression fracture and the pain subside and the function in her legs returns to as close to normal as possible. This is a use-it-or-lose-it proposition. She must stay mobile if she wants to retain muscle memory and some ability to walk, aided or unaided. Body casts and bed rest are not options.

We met over lunch yesterday in one of the dining areas. Tomato and rice soup, green peas, baked potato, veal cutlet, diced fruit, juice and coffee. Yum! A beautiful facility, Jennings has been in operation since 1942, when the Sisters of the Holy Spirit, an order of nuns under the auspices of the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland, accepted a new ministry made possible through a bequest by the late Monsignor Gilbert Jennings. (The Center is not affiliated with Cleveland's well-known charity, the Martha Holden Jennings Foundation.) Bandar had been to physical therapy in the morning, and when I arrived she was seated in a wheelchair at a table comparing notes with a fellow resident, Theresa, who is also at Jennings on a short-term rehabilitation assignment. Although Bandar's English is on the far side of broken and her hearing is deficient, the two were engaging and connecting well enough. Bandar enjoyed the opportunity to show off to her new friend that her son-in-law had come to see her. We were soon joined by two other residents, Chester and Lucille. After lunch, Bandar and I met privately with her attending physician, who outlined her treatment program and explained how healing typically works in back-injury cases such as hers. I left after 2, hopeful. Later, Bandar received visits from her son, Morris, granddaughter Shannon and from Sophie, who met Bandar on her way home from work.

All the while, Cleveland looked like its stereotypical self: grey skies and changing weather. A cool front brought drizzles and cleansing showers throughout the day. We expect more of the same today and in the next few days. At CadMur Manor, Sophie's tomatoes are tied and reaching maximum capacity for the size stakes she used; I will adjust and fix today as I can, with duct tape or green tying stuff or whatever else I can use. Sophie's basil is at harvest stage -- but it will do better, grow thicker and fuller, once we get back to warm, sunny days. More bright-yellow prickly pear cactus flowers blooms appeared yesterday, and then just as quickly were crushed by the relentless precipitation. Along with the milkweed, the bee balm is starting to bloom, as is the purple coneflower, all taking advantage of the thirst-quenching rain. Our gazebo is nearly covered now by the climbing clematis. May night sage is past its prime, but Sophie's deadheading will yield at least another bloom this summer. Similarly, each of our other perennials and self-seeding annuals is engaged in its life cycle, living within the limits accorded by its God-given DNA and by its environment. I will post pics as I'm able.

My appreciation for people, nature, peace, serenity, love and the simple things in life continues to grow. More is revealed every day. As I peel away each layer of the onion that is my life, I discover more onion, there for me to experience, to enjoy and appreciate whenever I want and am willing to pay attention and participate. Life works when I work with what I have, do what is required --whatever may be the next right thing, when I try to be of service, help another person, learn and grow.

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