Monday, June 15, 2015

Patients and Patience

In the brief time that the Missus and I have been the owners of a beach house (six whole weeks and counting), this weekend marked the first time that we have spent no time at all there.  Our excuse is - frankly - an excellent one.  Early on Friday morning, Margaret's father-in-law Joe - eighty-two years young - underwent a total knee replacement of his right knee at St. Peter's University Hospital in New Brunswick.  His recovery has - thus far - proceeded with sufficient smoothness to put him on track to be transferred from his current home away from home to an in-patient rehabilitation facility. 

His stay at as soon-to-be home away from home is - as I understand it - presently set as one of indeterminate length.  His progress shall dictate how long he shall be there before he is medically cleared to return home.  I have told him - kidding of course - that I have already paid the facility to keep him until the Tuesday after Labor Day.  It is a joke.  I have paid them to hold him through that Thursday. 

I spent a considerable portion of my Sunday keeping Margaret company at the hospital as she kept a watchful eye on Joe.  While there, I also was reminded firsthand of just how remarkable Suzanne is.  She is a Speech Language Pathologist, having earned both her Bachelor's and her Master's - with Honors - from Seton Hall.  Since she and Ryan made their journey home from Texas one year ago, Suzanne has worked in a local school system.  However the first five years of her career were spent as a top-notch Speech Therapist in the two finest in-patient rehabilitation facilities in this country - and perhaps the world:  Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation in West Orange, New Jersey and TIRR Memorial Hermann in Houston, Texas.  Yesterday, she did not simply visit her grandfather - who would have been happy had Suzanne done nothing more than sat and made conversation with him and kept him company.  No, she cared for him as well.  In between visits by members of the hospital staff, Suzanne and Joe were a powerful two-member team, her providing the care and the instruction and him doing exactly what she directed him to do.   

It was quite incredible to watch.   Her supremely confident in her own training and abilities making him feel utterly at ease and him, feeling something that is hard for any of us to feel in the strange, alien environs of a hospital - irrespective of  our age, which was totally at peace.  He knew intuitively that he was safe.  

And it was an incredible sight to which to bear witness.  

-AK 


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