Most of us with brain injuries go about life the best we can. We continue to help others along the way, never complain and go on as though we have no problems of our own. We understand others better then most…simply because we have been there in different ways. Most of all, we just simply understand and know how to help.
I met this lovely woman while doing my aquatic exercise. I knew her to be an avid lap swimmer, with lower extremity paraparesis. Paraparesis is extreme weakness or total loss of functioning in the lower extremities, nearly paraplegia. She was able to walk, but with great difficulty. She was struggling with her own issues and I offered to take her home from exercise classes if her husband took her to the pool early in the morning on his way to work.
This was something different then lap swimming, but I felt it would offer her more diversity in strength training and overall muscle exercises. This beautiful woman was no longer able to drive. I later found out she had progressive MS (multiple sclerosis).
This would be a difficult task for anyone to do, but my rehabilitation nursing experience made life so much easier on many dimensions. After aquatic exercise we were both exhausted and would sit at Subway until we both regained energy to continue on home. Transferring my friend from the car was a little difficult, but rewarding skill and I felt good helping another out.
This one particular time I was trying to help her, I had NO strength left…but my mind was set at giving it a try. I was forgetting about everything. I forgot to have the door close within her reach among other things. She started yelling at me as I held her up … “What do you want me to do … HOLD ON TO THIN AIR!”
I was use to patients yelling all the time in rehabilitation, so that wasn’t bothersome at all. I had no other choice then lower her to the floor in her laundry room. I couldn’t help her, but I could keep her safe.
We were both exhausted. It didn’t make any sense to call for help. If she was in her house and safe, that is all that mattered. I pulled her across the kitchen floor by the seat of her pants. I put a pillow under her head on the floor and gave her a blanket.
I knew after she got her afternoon nap she’d feel better and would regain some strength to pull herself up onto the couch. She was safe and that’s what mattered the most. I left her alone on the floor with a telephone nearby.
This sounds horrible to others who don’t deal with chronic issues, but most of us just do what we can to make things work. She rested. I went home and I slept. When we both regained a little strength we realized how funny and strange this sounds.
I pulled her by the seat of her pants, sliding her across the kitchen floor to the great room near her couch. I had no strength to lift or move her in any other way. She is such a trooper! It would be nice if everyone could step out of their comfort zone and help others along the way to make their journey a little better.
If you ever see someone in Subway or a fast food place filing each others nails…don’t pass judgment. On many occasions we sat passing time, waiting to regain strength and energy on many occasions before being able to get home. Most importantly, we did get our physical exercise in.
I just saw her recently and I can still transfer her…barely that is, but it is the trust, respect and understanding we have for each that allows us to continue a beautiful friendship. It’s not about feeling bad for one another…it’s about helping and enjoying the simple things in life and laughing at the silly and crazy things we do to get through all our challenging days. What are friends for?
I’m certain most of the readers have encountered some of these same experiences. These experiences may seem strange, but you do whatever it is to get through the day and enjoy life.
- Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation Announces Expansion of NeuroRecovery Network (prweb.com)
- Aimee Copeland home addition to aid her recovery (ajc.com)
- Strengthening Leg and Hip Muscles and Other Exercises (handtutorblog.wordpress.com)
- The Knee Ligaments and Their Rehabilitation After Injury (handtutorblog.wordpress.com)