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9/16/10

A Special Kay

When I checked in to ILC Rehab for my knee, I was told  I would be rooming with a sweet elderly  lady.
Honestly, I didn't know what to expect and really didn't give it any more thought because all I could think about was what am I doing in a nursing home?  How can they call this a rehab establishment?  Why didn't I have my own wing..a rehab wing. 
I also realized  this was too reminiscent of where my mother spent her last days and it didn't bode well with me. 

 There was very little room for personal mementos, most were crammed wherever a free spaced deemed available, nightstands were pushed  into corners and very difficult to access from the bed made even more difficult with a bum knee, probably worse with arthritic hands and limited mobility.

My daughter and her BF wheeled me into the room assigned and all the things I had imagined were right there in front of me as well as Miss Kay.  Ninety five years young and sweet as she could be just like they said.


Very soon I found out she was an encourager, every time the physical therapists came in and stretched me every way but loose she was right behind with uplifting words, "You can do that and  You've improved a lot since yesterday."  Even when I felt as if I couldn't take another step I'd look at this woman rooting and cheering me on, this woman who had lived for 95 years, had seen so many things, been through so much, she was sitting in front of me with  more enthusiasm than a pack of cheerleaders on game night.
  The difference I believe --- she has heart!


During breakfast on my last day I reminded her I was leaving, we then exchanged phone numbers and she said to me, "I'm going to miss you, you have been such a nice room mate." 
In silence I said.... Aw how nice...Out loud I agreed I'd miss  her as well.
 There was concern about who would be taking up space next to her, would they be compatible. 
I would certainly hope so.
I remember one night, after she was put in bed, she always looked on at my tv and I had found a program I thought she'd enjoy as well, even though it didn't matter to her, she'd sit in silence and watch anyway before she'd drift off to sleep.  We watched a former American Idol contestant sing, I had found we had that in common.  She loved American Idol.  It wasn't much, but it was a commonality.  It bridged a gap.  It created a memory.
I'm glad I had the opportunity to stay next to Kay, even though being there was emotionally challenging at times.  And it had nothing to do with her and everything to do with being there.

 I do know if I would have had an inkling of what the elderly go through on a daily basis my attitude towards my mother would have been different as I walked through the door to her room.
  After going through P.T., I realized it should be requirement for all of us in our younger years to see what each day consists of  for our loved ones and then multiply it by your loved ones days  they have spent in there already.  
 Time shouldn't be wasted on mundane talk, on trite happenings.  If anything this is the time to dig into the box holding heartfelt memories. Not always ours but theirs.   Happy times and happy times only.  It is not the time to use these people as your personal therapist. 
 They have been there done that and they deserve so much more, because in the big picture what are they supposed to do with the info..most can barely tie their shoes or cross the room on their own. 
 How can they possibly process your junk. 


I hope in reading this just like the last post it'll hit a raw spot and you'll run, because you can, to the nearest nursing home and visit with someone that saw things you have read only in your History Books. 
After thinking on that I was curious of what took place in the year Miss Kay was born and made a partial list.  I was surprised at what I saw, mostly because I would have never given any a passing thought.

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In January of 1915 the House of Representatives rejects the proposal to give women the right to vote.

 Kiwanis International was founded in Detroit, Michigan.

On February 12, the first stone of the Lincoln Memorial was set into place in Washington, D.C.

March 1915 a locust plague broke out in Palestine and lasted until October.

Also in March Pluto was photographed for the first time but not classified as a planet.

May 7 WWI, the RMS Lusitania, is sunk by a German U- boat killing 1,998.

August 31 Jimmy Lavender of the Chicago Cubs pitched a no hitter against the New York Giants.
Etc. Etc.

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Interesting huh, to say the least.  Just like Miss Kay.








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