Help for Healing

Bitter & Sweet, living daily with grief


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Fun at Physical Therapy?

I’m not any different than anyone else during this pandemic. My only outings every week are to physical therapy. I’ve gotten into a routine now with two other patients. They space us out but there is a brief time we overlap together. At the end of my session, I usually beg Nancy to let me stay longer. Don’t send me home!

Nancy is a very talented therapist and we all know it. She also has a sense of humor so we can give her a hard time because we KNOW she is great.

One of the men obviously has more pain and a longer road to go down than I do. He is usually in a separate room but we crack jokes back and forth. He calls PT “premeditated torture” instead of physical therapy.

Nancy has this streetlight analogy she uses. It drives us crazy. A green level of pain is preferred because it means you are still ok. I did tell her that it’s not easy being green. She thought that was funny, but it turned into bigger laughter when it was quiet and I started playing Kermit singing that song on my phone.

This man has two canes to walk. I can hear and see when one of them falls. I yell out and ask if Nancy has knocked the cane out from underneath him again. He says of course she did. I told him he was lucky because she usually kicks me.

Today was out of control. We exchanged the usual banter and were really proud when a therapist who wasn’t usually there said she wanted to stay in our unit. We are much more fun than other therapy rooms.

I was balancing on the balls I’m supposed to walk on and I look across the room. It was the first time I had seen this guy on the bike. And it was the first time I realized that he had a prosthetic for a leg.

“Oh my God!” I yelled louder than usual. “Nancy, you’ve gone too far this time. The poor guy’s leg fell off!”

Raucaus laughter. I wondered if I had gone too far but he said he has loads of jokes. One time in a hospital he put his leg on backward to freak people out. His sister is making him a t-shirt that says, “Don’t pull my leg. Seriously.”

Later in the session, Nancy asked him how he was doing. “How the hell do you think he’s doing, Nancy? His leg fell off!”

Then it got really bad.

Two of us are laying on tables and our guy is still on the bike. Nancy yells over to him, “Do you need help getting off?”

I couldn’t stand it. I burst into laughter, which started everyone else. The other woman was telling me she had it under control until I had to go and laugh. Leg-guy says the same thing. Nancy says, “Was the only one who didn’t get it?” The three of us say yes in harmony.

Eventually, it was almost time for me to go. By now, Nancy really does have to help him off the bike. The two of them are standing together and she asks him if he needs help. “Getting up?” he says. And the raucaus laughter starts all over again.

Nancy says the redness in her face will probably last forever.

The woman next to me says we really need to get out more.

You said it sister.


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No Virus Talk

Instead of talking about the usual virus stuff, (haven’t you had enough of it too?) I thought I would just share some laughs. I didn’t want to write about the craziness in our world or the enormous amount of self-constraint I need not to harm any of the men in my household, so just some light-hearted humor.

In fact, that reminds me of a chuckle. My niece sent me a message on Facebook with a picture of the three munchkins from Oz who sing “The Lollipop Guild.” I thought it was odd but we both love the movie. Those three are funny just to look at. But the next message was the best. “Hoping all the boys there are still alive…” Doubly funny. One because she gets the angst of all the testosterone in the house, and two because of implying the three of them look like the guild boys.

Now let me explain the picture. We went in the hot tub the other day and found this thing on the seat. What the heck? It is the arm of some sort of plastic dude. We haven’t had any kids or toys in the hot tub since… cripes, maybe July. So where has it been all this time? We wondered briefly if someone was messing with us. Anyhow, we had a good laugh about the horror of finding a severed limb in your hot tub. Now, that’s a bad day.

Today, I royally smashed my pinkie and almost fell over from how bad it hurt. (Stop laughing, that’s not the funny part.) It actually bled for a bit which I was not expecting. Anyhow, I asked Tim if he could get me a bandaid. Just a little one I said. It’s my pinky.

He brought a little one but insisted on a good size gob of first aid gel, which I thought was a bit over the top. Then he moves me into the best lighting in the house. He said he needed the counter as well so he could work with someplace to put his things. I kept my mouth shut (I know, it’s a miracle) but I wanted to say, “For God’s sake, it’s a bandaid, not surgery!” I couldn’t believe how serious he was about his mission.

Here’s the funny part. He screwed it up. The bandaid got folded over and he cursed. I could no longer contain myself. I laughed and laughed. He said I was mean and went out to the garage. I went to the door and yelled out, “I love you, honey” to which he yelled back, “Shut up!” (which I also thought was funny).

He was kidding and he gave me permission to write this. I told him thanks for the writing material and he again said, “Shut up!”

Last but not least, we were talking to my friend Star on the phone. We had the speakerphone on because privacy is a thing of the past. We might as well put the speaker on. He is always a welcome call in our house because he is hilarious. Anyhow, he was brave enough to go to the bank to deposit his paycheck so we were having our daily chat. Next thing we know, he has pulled into our driveway. We hung up and went to the window. He yelled hello to us and chatted from his car. We were laughing so hard at our surprise, more-than-six-feet-away visitor.

I think these stories don’t translate on paper nearly as well as I was hoping they would. We certainly found humor in them. Maybe some of you are bored enough that you will laugh too.


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Women and Sports

I am pretty sensitive to any hint of sexism, especially if it makes us women appear weak in any way. I know plenty of women who are athletic and knowledgeable about sports- by either playing themselves or with watching.

Me? I fall into the stereotype. I am not athletic. In fact, I am rather clumsy and accident prone at times. I try very hard to understand the basics about sports so I can interact with other people. But lots of times I just can’t wrap my mind around it.

Last night, I was at a speaking engagement out in the country. I got talking with a woman a little older than me and I ended up having one of those embarrassing laughs. When I really laugh hard, I cackle. It’s loud and goofy and it embarrasses Frankie to no end. But I just couldn’t help it.

Somehow the conversation had turned to sports and I was lamenting my ignorance. She told me she could probably top any story I had. She is an EMT by profession. She had gotten assigned to some sporting group, a football team to be exact. She saw the group of men in a circle with their heads down and ran into the field. Her husband (also an EMT) ran after her to stop her. He couldn’t figure out what she was doing.

She explained to him that obviously someone had been injured badly and she was trying to get to him as quickly as possible. He probably had to tackle her to stop her, which is pretty ironic considering it was a football game. He explained to her that it was a “HUDDLE” and what that meant exactly. I laughed my butt off when she told me. That is such a Darcy move if I ever heard of one.

Like in high school when I attempted to play basketball and shot at the wrong basket. The saving grace was that I sucked (of course) so I missed the basket.

Or the first time I went to a professional hockey game. I was living in Chicago at the time and my roommate took me to a Blackhawk’s game. Now she happened to be very athletic and sports-gifted, unlike me. We were sitting there with thousands and thousands of people and a fight broke out. At a hockey game? Really? It was my first one so I had no idea that fighting was pretty standard. So all those people were going crazy and cheering the fight on. I was mortified. I thought I was witnessing humanity at its very worst. I started crying. Yes, I actually started crying. I thought it was violent and cruel. My roommate laughed so hard at me I thought she was going to pee her pants.

See how much I’ve evolved? I can go to a Sabres game and relish the fight like everyone else. I get caught up in it like everyone else. And I’ve learned the rules. Last fight I saw, our guy got the crap kicked out of him. But at the last moment, he was on top and pulled the other guy down to the ice. Everyone went wild. So I learned that you can lose badly, but the only thing that matters is the last five seconds. Everyone forgets what happens before that.

I even went to a game recently with someone who does not like the Sabres. I endured his pot shots as the Sabres lost, like they do ever so often unfortunately. I threatened to beat him up, but he’s a prison guard so I thought better of it. I may have evolved, but I’m not stupid!

Never in a million years would I have dreamed that I would consider that growth. What has happened to my bleeding heart? But hey, I do know what a football huddle is so I guess I’m not completely hopeless :)!