by Robert B. Albright
I took my granddaughter Jessica shopping October 5, 2003. My wife, Bonnie, had just celebrated her sixteenth birthday for the 60th time three days earlier.
When we returned home, my great-grandson told me his great-grandmother had fallen and was hurt bad. Apparently she’d had a mini-stroke, or something else caused her to fall as she came in from hanging out clothes to dry. We both have a problem with our brains moving faster than our bodies; if we move too fast we’re apt to fall. I’ve practiced that more, so I don’t get hurt.
My hunting budding and his wife, David and Romona, both LPN’s, were attending her on our back patio. Bonnie had broken both arms, the left at the wrist, the right at the shoulder. If I had been there, I could not have even gotten her up off the floor the way she was injured. There was no assurance she’d ever regain use of her right arm.
Our friends accompanied us to the emergency room, where we were met by our granddaughter Colleen, a nurse’s aid. David, Romona and Colleen stayed by my wife’s side for three days, putting their lives on hold for Bonnie and me.
I wasn’t doing all that well myself. We’d been married 58 years; it was almost impossible to imagine such an alive, vibrant person being totally helpless. Bonnie rarely asked for help with anything. Now there she lay in a hospital bed, doing nothing for herself.
She came through the double surgery beautifully. Now we had the long road to recovery; she couldn’t use either arm. Colleen, David, Romona and I had to do everything for her.
To me that was a privilege, not a chore. It seemed rather romantic to me to feed her. But Bonnie is a fighter. As fast as she could do anything, she was up doing it.
At first she couldn’t get up by herself. Soon, when I got back from taking my granddaughter Jessica to school, Bonnie was in the kitchen fixing her own tea. She ate left-handed. Then she was dressing herself. Even when she went to the hospital to have the internal brace removed from her right arm, she wasn’t down long.
Now she’s driving and can do everything but reach the top shelf with her right arm. With the help of our friends and family, Bonnie has come back like a roaring freight train. She no longer goes out to hang up clothes, but that’s the only concession she has made. Some comeback for a lady the doctors scheduled for hospital, rehabilitation, and nursing home because of her age and the severity of her injuries.
Through all this, I realized again just how important my 16-year-old bride has been to me all these years. I so admire Bonnie’s determined recovery.
But without friends and family, neither of us would have made it. Because of Colleen, David, Romona, and others, we have an awful lot to be thankful for.