My mother peered over her glasses and smiled at me when I walked into her room. Her smile was bright, and her eyes were clear with recognition. It was wonderful to see.
“I’m moving up to rehab on the sixth floor. I’m just waiting on my sandwich.” As if on cue, a nurse came in with a small turkey sandwich. Momma deftly opened a packet of mayo with both hands (Hooray!) and then spread it on the outside of her sandwich. After realizing her mistake, she ate the sandwich with a fork.
“Yep, I’m moving on up to 468,” she said as she brought the fork to her mouth.
“638, Max.” Her friend J was there with us.
“Oh, yeah,” Momma brought her forefinger to her chin. It’s what she always does when she’s trying to figure something out. “That’s right. 638.”
Other than keeping up with minor details, like room numbers, days of the week, and where to put the mayo, she a is doing extremely well for a person who had brain surgery 14 days ago.
Momma starts “rehab boot camp” tomorrow. It’s intense physical and occupational therapy to literally get her back on her feet. She will be in the gym at least four hours a day.
“I get to use the treadmill!” She declared. If I had asked her two and and a half weeks ago to go to the gym or exercise in any way, she would have asked me if I had snapped. But, I think she has learned her lesson. Momma’s stroke was brought on by uncontrolled hypertension, so if she wants to keep another stroke at bay, she will have to make some dramatic changes in her lifestyle. And so will we.
The most challenging change for her, I think, will be staying from behind the wheel. She always said that she couldn’t imagine not being able to drive, and now she’s been put on restriction for a minimum of six months. I smiled and told her I’d take good care of her car while she recoups. (While I’m not happy about the circumstances, I’ll take the temporary reprieve from the one-car blues.) She rolled her eyes jokingly. I know using her car means that I double as her chauffeur.
I don’t mind at all. It just means we’ll have more time together.