Scenes from the hospital center

Nicole, my physical therapist for most of August, went on semi-permanent leave last week, and my PT continued this week with Justin, who has just returned from an anniversary trip to Italy with his wife.  I worked with Justin last fall after my hip replacement and David has worked with him too.  Although I liked Nicole very much, I had requested Justin from the gitgo, but he was on medical leave having broken both wrists in a biking accident that happened on a charity bike-a-thon. After he recovered a bit, he left for a long-planned vacation in Italy with his wife.

map_italyOf course I had to know all the details of their travel down the west coast of Italy, from Cinque Terre to Perugia with stops in Florence and Rome.  Justin’s wife is Italian and speaks the language, and he says they drove down the west coast, stopping in out-of-the-way places which was great except some of the roads were very scary.

As he poked, prodded and bent my leg, I quizzed him for the details.

I keep thinking I should start a bucket list and add Italy, but being a ‘life happens to me while I’m making other plans’ kind of person, I can always think of a reason to go somewhere else, or stay home.  Meanwhile, I read books about Italy, watch Italian mysteries on TV and dream.


Last week while I waited for Nicole, an enormous man with limbs that looked like elephant legs entered the PT room.   He clomped along on his swollen legs wearing make-shift flip-flops because his feet which fell in folds of flesh, were too huge for shoes.  With the soles of he feet resembling hooves, he was a frightful sight, but hopeful too because as he walked ahead of me to therapy, he talked about dealing with the swelling so he could get new shoes.  Nicole said he suffers with edema.  Apparently, his heart is too weak to pump properly, and his blood vessels are too shrunken to move much fluid up and out of his body.  Sometimes the kidneys are an issue.  Sometimes its a genetic thing, sometimes its the result of life long smoking.   There are other causes too apparently, like Elephantiasis.

This man reminded me of a line my mother used when I begged her for something she could not afford.

“I complained because I had no shoes, then I met a man who had no feet.” 

I vowed then and there to stop complaining about my knee which is improving day by day.  I still have some pain at night, but I can bend it into an acute angle of 90 – 68 = 22 degrees which means the swelling in the bone and muscles is greatly reduced.  And I can cross my legs.


Sitting in the foyer waiting for David to retrieve me, I saw a family enter the front door…mother, father and two kids.  As they walked along, every one of them was talking on his or her cell phone.  Reminds me of visits with my daughter and granddaughters.  I have WiFi in my home and they love it.  Sometimes David sits with us and fiddles with his laptop.  I haven’t made up my mind about the advisability of a wired nation.  I keep thinking of a scene in the new Sherlock series where all the reporters attending a police briefing receive a simultaneous message from Sherlock with the word “wrong.”  But I love my cell phone, iPad, and Mac.  And I love being in contact with my granddaughters more than ever before.  Just the other day, I received a photo of my granddaughter Rita with her beau.

Rita and Chris

Rita and Chris


23 thoughts on “Scenes from the hospital center

  1. It’s so true that we need to be grateful for what we have because it could always be worse.

    I’m wondering about getting a Macbook Air for travel. It’s so expensive, but sounds like a good idea. I’m thinking. I’m thinking.


  2. I am thrilled with wifi every where. Our ancestors probably crabbed about automobiles, radios, televisions, telephones, et al, ruining the next generation. I remember hearing someone say, when rail travel was talked about, that no one needed to travel faster than 25 mph. We are not going to undo the technology, so enjoy it.


  3. Just hearing 2nd hand about your PT therapist’s trip to Italy makes me drool. He certainly hit all the parts that I love and will probably never visit again …but I can remember them and smile.


  4. Your mother’s quote is a good one, but hard to remember when one is in pain. What a graphic reminder. I was struck by the fact that your PT broke both wrists in an accident; he must have wondered for a time if he would need to find another line of work. Yeeks.

    Good meditation about our wired nation. This evening we saw two couples in a restaurant where both were texting the whole meal. Nutso. But like you, I can’t live without my own devices. (Well, actually I can — as I have had had little or no access much of the time this summer — but it has to be for a good reason,like seeing this amazing state. If we lose the Internet at home I come unglued.


    • Other people’s pain has never helped me feel better. However, I realized seeing this poor fellow that things could be worse. Mostly now I am suffering from enforced idleness resulting from leg issues. I have thoroughly enjoyed trekking through Alaska with you this summer. Thanks for sharing your photos.


  5. Glad you’ve decided to go positive in the face of adversity. Rita is a beauty for sure, and her beau proves the point. Ever see more of a look saying, “I’ve really got that girl, and I couldn’t be more amazed and contented?”


  6. Have been all through Italy….fascinating country with just a tad of history too it.

    My mother had lymphodema after a double mastectomy. Her arms were so swollen it was hard for her to lift them. It’s an awful condition and I don’t think that poor man will ever have it any better.

    Rita is a lovely girl, is she the one in Charlottesville?


    • Rita is granddaughter #3 (our beauty queen) and attended George Mason University. She is a manager with a large corporation near her home. Her beau is with the military. Amelia, the girl at UVA is finishing her Master’s Degree in science education (CurrySchool?) this fall. She is seldom on Facebook and I see her about once per year. She plays in the UVA marching band and says she is the shortest girl carrying a tuba. I think it’s a tuba, it’s a bIg horn….could be a sousaphone.


  7. Sad about that man’s condition and a very wise quote. I have had acute bronchitis for the last month which is taking its own sweet time to go and am on three different kinds of meds to get rid of it, but I have a dear friend who is struggling with a degenerative lung condition and is on permanent oxygen. It’s only going to get worse. She has never smoked a day in her life and thankfully I gave up smoking over 36 years ago. Italy is on my bucket list. It has always looked such a beautiful country and everyone I have known who has gone there, including son and his wife twice now, have loved it. And talking about son, we also got a phone call one day when he had been out bike riding, starting off with these words, “I think I broken both my arms, can you come and get me?” He had gone over the handlebars and landed hard on his elbows, which he had fractured. A kindly postman stopped when he waved and dialed our number. We took him right to the hospital. I am so thankful he didn’t land on his head otherwise it would have been the ambulance or worse. Counting one’s blessings is so important in this day and age, and helping out when we can for others who are less fortunate. Lessons of life.


    • I hope you get well soon. I suffered with bronchitis and/or pneumonia every year from the age of 6 months. Knock on wood, I have been relatively free of cold symptoms for a while now. Avoiding public places and constant hand cleansing are key. Flying is always tricky.

      Too bad about your son, but good you had help when you needed it. I used to love bike riding, but not any more. Gave my bike to Joy.


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