It was a good day to see patients today, three of my favourites plus a new one who surprised us all. Sometimes it feels as though I’m the one getting the therapy.
Patient #1 : The sweetest man ever. Says I am like his daughter. He and his equally lovely wife are always worried that I may be starving/thirsty/tired. Each visit, they enquire if my son is better. This is because two months ago, I had to cut short our session when my son’s school called me to tell me he was sick and could I pick him up ASAP. Last week, my patient tried to slip me a twenty … “Pour votre fils.”, he insisted. I declined, politely and firmly but ended up insulting him anyway. My son probably has more birthday and Christmas money languishing away in his savings account than my client has in his. We spent most of today’s visit trying to sort out why he was having more pain in his leg. We started off by blaming the weather, always a convenient scapegoat in this climate, then I suggested it might be because he often forgets his walker when he’s up and about, a sure sign that things are improving. After going through his exercises, we scheduled the next appointment and as I was heading to the door, I turned to find him right behind me, without the walker.
Patient #2 : A young man recovering from two devastating strokes, not a candidate for a rehab centre at the moment. It was a joint visit with the occupational therapist and her stagiaire. How I love team work! The client was asked what his goals were and he was adamant : “I want to walk.” For more on walking, click here. We began our assessment with him in bed, and finished off in the kitchen as he took a few steps using the counter for support. Hurrah! Success from the start! Believe me, motivation doesn’t always translate into goals met.
Patient #3 : A beautiful soul who turned 90 this past Saturday. During my lunch hour, I bought her a card with decoupage flowers on it because she loves flowers and her daughter keeps her supplied with fresh ones all year long so that her apartment is like a perpetual garden. She cried when she read the card and hugged me tight. For some reason she thinks I’m an angel and everytime I protest, she shushes me and half closing one eye, shakes a finger at me and tells me she knows these things. She goes to mass every opportunity and when she can’t, someone brings mass to her. She’s seen Jesus three times and was pushed once from behind by the devil while on vacation in the Caribbean. She prays for everyone she knows every single day, takes requests, and has been known to stir up a miracle or two. She says she’s ready to die but Jesus won’t have it so she’s going to try a little reverse psychology by not asking him for a while. Her daughter left me a piece of birthday cake and I left her apartment balancing an enormous slice on a paper plate that she covered with a cocktail napkin. I drove around all afternoon with it on my passenger seat.
Patient #4: One of my absolute favourite clients ever. I have treated her on and off over the years following all sorts of joint replacements, flare ups of her rheumatoid arthritis and post hospitalizations. Each time the goal is the same : to access the 14 steps that hold her hostage on the second floor of the house she shares with her elderly mother. A lot has gone wrong since the last time I saw her and I honestly don’t know if I’ll be able to help her this time but I don’t tell her this yet. As we stood side by side in front of the mirror in her room today, I noticed that for the first time since I’ve known her that she is shorter than me. She shook her head in disbelief. “I can’t believe I’m 4’11!” I didn’t correct her even though it’s obvious that she’s much less than 4’11”. I know this because I’m 4’11” and the top of her reflection came up to my earlobe. “What does it matter anyway?”, I asked. “Because tall people get more respect!” And we both burst out laughing.