A Healing Experience

From my window- lots of snow Photo: Courtesy of author
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After three weeks in a rehab facility in a suburb north of Chicago I am home.  I slipped on ice as I returned from an early morning walk, breaking my left arm and leg, requiring surgery, I remained in the hospital for one week before arriving at the rehab facility. I could barely move. I had severe pain and lots of swelling.

Courtesy of CDC on Unsplash- Receiving advice

Presently, the swelling and rainbow colors have gone.  I can walk with the aid of a cane and go up and down stairs, even going backwards downstairs.  It was very much because of the skill and dedication of the staff, from the CNAs to the therapists, kitchen staff, activities director and administrators that I am well on my way to the promised full recovery.  I think I owe a shout-out to the people who managed to show up and provide care, regardless of COVID or snow storms.

In one of the group Physical Therapy sessions, I met another woman near my age (80ish) who also walked outdoors regularly. Her typical walk was five miles, mine was closer to one mile. Both of us were regular and experienced walkers. Both of us slipped on ice and broke our legs. But I also broke my arm.

I was cheered by some of the staff, and motivated to work a bit harder by others and assured by everyone that things would be better and I should be patient and follow instructions.

I was charmed and intrigued when speaking with various staff members and I wondered what motivated them to come to work each day.  I also asked about the challenges each experienced in this kind of work.  Several people generously shared their thoughts with me.

Photo: Courtesy of National Cancer Institute (Unsplash) Consulting with the doctor

The RSN, BSN, Supervisor shared that, she is motivated to come to work-

to help people in need, thinking about my parents. Paying back the help they gave him (my father) when he was in ICU, I’m trying to do the same for others, even though you will have a rude patient thinking we are their servants.  I try to breathe and think about how I would like my Mom treated in the future.

She is challenged when –

Treating a rude patient’s family, when they want CNAs and nurses to do everything. They do not understand the term, “rehab”. We are here to help them do and not do for them.

One CNA was lovely to talk with as she helped me, always encouraging.  She shared that she is motivated to come to work because-

Coming to work every day gives me a sense of achievement and accomplishment.  Taking care of the residents brought a lot of wisdom and knowledge into my life that helps me develop skills in this field.  Foremost, I’ve learned to be very, very patient and more compassionate with everybody.

She is challenged at times

My job as a CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant) can be demanding in more ways than one.

I can have a challenge with difficult residents as I’m juggling different responsibilities.

Because we are all different as human beings, my biggest challenge is to watch a patient decline until death.

My Physical Therapist Assistant, was highly professional and very motivating.  He had me walking up and down stairs very early in therapy to prepare me for my stairs at home.

He is motivated to come to work –

Knowing that I am helping my patients to get better, to know that my service has a big impact on others and to see how grateful some patients can be and to advocate how important exercise/movement is among our aging population.

He is challenged-

When dealing with a difficult patient, mostly personality and character, this includes family members.

When I can see my patient will have a difficult time progressing due to how severe the injury and other medical issues present themselves.

I was fortunate to have another wise and caring CNA

What motivates me – I realize that I’m in this field for reason.  The first thing is that I  love my job,  I enjoy my co-workers and I love how I feel appreciated by the residents.  I wake every morning knowing what my purpose is. God has truly blessed me with compassion and empathy for people in general. I will always have a kind heart for people, especially my residents.  So, that’s why coming to work brings me fulfillment, and joy.

I believe the challenges of performing this kind of work is basically (P. M. A.) positive mental attitude.  You have to realized you’re going to be working with a lot of people with different personalities.  But as long as you remember why you are God sent, and keep a positive attitude, you will always see a light at the end of the tunnel.  And, as long as your attitude stays positive, you challenges will always be minor.

There were others who also helped me, the Speech Therapist,  my Occupational Therapist, and from the housekeeping staff, a lovely woman who brought sunshine in when she entered my room.  The Director of Healthcare activities handed out the “Daily Chronicle” along with her cheery smile and kind words.  This had fascinating facts and a Perk word puzzle on the back of each issue.

I am grateful for the major push I had to move forward in my healing process.

1 Comment

  1. It is wonderful to look back and see the progress made since this injury- also wonderful that you chose to thank and honor those who helped you in the process of healing. Passing along the blessings and expressing gratitude, even when things can be way less than ideal, is a powerful way to bring that much needed “uplift” to our world. Thank you for this reflection: inspiring!

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