This is my November column for Hill Country Happenings magazine.
This Thanksgiving will have a different backdrop from last years’ when the holiday was spent in a medical rehabilitation facility. Yes, the accident walking my dog Rex changed my life forever. I relive the accident and so does Rex every time I talk about it in front of him. I’m sure he has become a champion of the song, “Let It Go.” Dr. Lue had said it would take up to a year to get functional and he wasn’t kidding. So many things I took for granted like scratching my nose, getting dressed, combing my hair, bathing, eating and using the bathroom — I couldn’t do for weeks. I lost all my independence. It was an experience I never want to repeat.
There was a domino effect for everything. Since I couldn’t use my left hand, elbow or right shoulder, I couldn’t drive and therefore I had to stay under home health for rehabilitation for five months. Several times a week my occupational therapist Tiffany would work with me. Both dogs had a keen sense of her arrival even before the toot of her horn as she locked her car door. By the time she got to the front door, both dogs would be there wagging their hind ends — since Boxers wag with everything that’s connected to the tail. Tiffany also owned a Boxer so she was tolerant of Roxie’s assistance during my therapy sessions. Roxie would lay her head in Tiffany’s lap while the therapist worked on my elbow. One time I was crying out in pain and Roxie gently pushed her paw on Tiffany’s arm and looked at me as if to say, “Is this really necessary?” “It’s OK, Roxie,” I would respond and the canine would retreat to her post under the table. With home health also came nurses to monitor blood pressure, temperature and medication. My nurses were Sommer and Shannon, who alternated visits. Both had an interest in sports so we always had something to talk about. Sommer’s brother-in-law was one of the leading high school basketball recruits. Shannon was a huge Saints and LSU fan so she scheduled her visits when she knew I would have on football. With nursing visits came Rex’s fascination of the blood pressure cuff. He was mesmerized by the pumping sound, but when he heard hissing, he quickly exited.
Finally in May, I was showing enough mobility that Dr. Lue released me to drive. Less than a mile from our house was an outpatient therapy group. When I got evaluated I noticed that both therapists were very pregnant. That didn’t keep Jen and Christina from administering intense pressure on my stubborn muscles in both arms. I saw the gals several days a week all summer. Come September, they went to have their babies and I was assigned a guy named Dave. I’ll never forget the day I met Dave. He spotted the bright green “Boston Monstah” tee I was wearing. He grinned. “You know what that is?” he inquired. I laughed and told him about my trip to Fenway Park in June and about being a native New Englander. It turned out that Dave was also from up there, and like me loves the Red Sox. After we commiserated about the awful season, we moved on to football. It turned out that they he too is into Fantasy Football. Not only that, he and I had both had pretty close to identical lineups! I was so into discussing football that my mind was taken off the aggressive therapy session. The next time I met with Dave, I had made progress with rotating my left wrist further. I was elated and told him I was so lucky that I hadn’t had the accident back when I was a flight attendant. I explained that it would have been pretty tricky carrying out the meal trays. Dave looked back with a blank stare. I extended my arms and pretended to carry meal trays, with my left hand tilted so the imaginary food would have spilled. “Carrying out meal trays?” he questioned. I stared at his young face and then realized the generation gaps. “Go ask your grandmother,” I suggested. We laughed. The next session, Dave targeted my right shoulder extension. “Now raise your arms and give me a touchdown!” he ordered. I proudly raised both arms almost in a perfect parallel, and then positioned my fingertips to meet. “Safety!” I proclaimed. Dave shook his head. “That’s not good for our quarterback.” I don’t care — a safety is good for rehabilitation and the defense too!