I have had wonderful therapists through this whole ordeal. I never want to forget them. I can't do a full post about everyone with whom I worked, but there are a few main people I want to write about. This is the first post but certainly not the last.
Shortly after arriving in Rehab I met Libby. I remember thinking that she was somebody I could be friends with "on the outside" and I took an immediate liking to her. I still like her even though she tortured me every time she saw me:) I had physical therapy twice a day so I saw her often. Early on she started coming to my room to help me transfer from my bed to the wheelchair, and take me down to the gym. Each time I secretly hoped that she would forget or be too busy or something would happen to keep her from doing therapy just once. Sadly and happily she always came. On the many times when I didn't want a thing to do with therapy, she would have me at least go into the day room and do a small session there.
My trach was a constant problem for me and yucky stuff would come out at the most inconvenient times but she never acted grossed out and even commented once that we were close enough that she could just wipe it away.
She pushed and pushed me and was my biggest cheerleader. She often had an aide push my chair behind me and she would hold my gait belt while I very slowly attempted to use the walker. We would go half way, maybe 70 feet, and I would have to stop and sit down before walking the rest of the way. During our rests, she would chat with the aide or my mom (my constant companion, bless her) and include me in the conversation even though she knew no sign language and I was mute. Somehow she just knew what I needed her to know. In fact, I needed frequent breaks in whatever I was doing so chatting became just as much part of therapy as the physical work.
My recreational therapist occasionally planned outings to exotic places like the gift shop or the book store. These trips probably could have been simpler, but some of the time, we found ways to include my PT and OT in the trips so all 5 of us girls (Libby, Rachel, Catherine, mom and me) would get to go "shopping" together.
It probably meant almost nothing to her but one thing she did made a huge impression on me. When I was in IMCU for 3 weeks, I developed a muscle contracture that made my left foot point down like a barbie. She did everything in her power to stretch that muscle but nothing seemed to be working and walking was out of the question. But Libby is creative! She made a wedge for my shoe out of layers and layers of cardboard. This leveled out my foot so my therapy could continue. She didn't have to do it, it wasn't her job. And she made it in her own time, not even getting paid. That showed true dedication and commitment to my healing.
Lib even bought me Burts Bees lip stuff for my very chapped lips and we made sure I always had it with me.
She always wore fun socks. Some days there seemed to be nothing fun or humorous but when I saw her socks, it always made me smile. When I eventually did get to go home, she gave me a wonderful gift. Socks!
She became a very important part of my healing. The actual therapy was great, but what I will always remember is how she made me feel. I was not just another patient but a person and a friend. She will always have a special place in my heart.