Tuesday, August 02, 2005

portraits of ninety-ones

for the past week, i've been taking care of two ninety-one year olds in the hospital.
lola mameng, though frail-looking, was previously pretty good at walking with a cane. she, however, got acute attacks of her arthritis big time, confining her in bed and therefore getting quite deconditioned. even after her joint pains had resolved, she refused to get out of bed. the other day, i didn't quite get a positive response from her when i told her we will help her get out of bed through exercise. until yesterday, she was still refusing any activity. i decided to spend a little more time with her, got her sitting up and out of bed myself, and managed to assist her to walk a few steps nimbly to the bedside chair. as she sat there, we chatted. i asked her about her past and even got her excitedly talking about her grandnephews and grandnieces living in the states. i told her she should be up and about and that our target was to send her home in two days. she surprisingly agreed but doubted her capability. today, i saw her sitting up on the chair as i entered her room. she had walked around the room twice with a walker and was proud of her achievement. as she sat there, we chatted again. her eyes twinkled as she related about her suitor of eons of years ago, whom with his parents, were so much in love with her and moved heaven and earth to win her heart. she decided to take the path of single-blessedness without any regret. tomorrow, we send her home.
lolo domingo, though stocky and well-built, had suffered a stroke. his left side was paralyzed, he spoke with a slur and was fed through a naso-gastric tube. three days ago, i checked out his strength, noticing a feeble movement of his left leg, which he didn't realize he had. his left arm was still heavy without any trace of movement. thankfully, his dominant right side was intact. he is an artist and loves to paint. he is a motivated guy, quite impatient to get up and go. and so i talk to him about patience to avoid frustration and depression. he strains to hear what i say and understands. each day i visit, he shows a bit of improvement, nevertheless a significant gain. yesterday, he was able to move his left shoulder, transfer to his chair and do pedal exercises. he was able to take in teaspoonfuls of gelatin and lugaw by mouth. he is not much of a talker but his few words were definitely much clearer. today, he was brought down to the gym and was assisted to stand between the parallel bars. he did nearly ten minutes, what a feat! he was obviously very happy. he told me he will make a painting for me.
wisdom in words and action, even way beyond their years. i suddenly miss my gramps, superlolo, who turned 104 last may.


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