While there were several people along the inpatient rehab way who were either unhelpful, or downright frustrating, there were also many who were wonderful. I have gone back and looked through different things I posted during those days, and these are the names of the people who helped me “get by” during those days:
Ramona, who was a patient technician on the rehab unit. She was one of the few people Strokeman came to trust, and would (reluctantly) allow to help him. She was mindful of his need for privacy, but would just sail in and inform him that he smelled bad and would be getting a shower. She endured with grace his bad moods, silly jokes, and ridiculous demands. As an added bonus, when she would clean his room while he was in therapy she would sing spiritual songs.
Roberta, a gentle, sweet nurse who would smile when she would see me walking down the hall, give me a big hug, and say, “I needed that!” – as if I was there for her instead of the other way around. I could tell that she was somewhat embarrassed by Strokeman’s unfiltered humor, but she would gently deflect it and continue to serve.
Roby, the physical therapy tech who had to endure being called a physical terrorist, and the same joke about being contacted by Gitmo – every day.
Jessica, the physical therapist who was small, blond, and a runner, which made me think of my Jenny every time I saw her. She was such an encouragement to me and to Strokeman, and was one of the people I have missed having in my life the most from that time period.
Valerie, the physical therapist who shared the work load with Jessica and deflected silly jokes about ST with amazing grace. She was one who would push him to do the unthinkable, and would shoot straight with me about what I could expect. She was also the one who took time on her last day of work at this facility to drive Strokeman to my daughter’s graduation, under the auspices of a therapy field trip. She helped me get him on stage, and then sat with us through the long graduation of children she did not know, helped him stand so that he could hug his daughter and hand her the diploma, then helped him maneuver his wheelchair through the crowd so that he could see the display table set up in the reception hall with all Faith’s memorabilia. Then she took him back to the center and got him settled in to his bed while I got to stay behind and do the mom thing for a few hours.
Allison, the speech therapist who tried to find ways to make a difficult, unpleasant task more palatable for Strokeman by finding articles about guns, politics and theology, and helping him write about things he was interested in.
These people meant so much to us during this difficult time in our lives, and now they are gone. It was a hard thing for me to lose them at the end of our stay. They were like family in a way. And because the facility closed down soon after we left, it is not like I can go back and visit them there. At any rate they left a lasting mark on our lives, and I thank God every time I remember them. Had it not been for them, I don’t know if I could have gotten by.