Anything, but normal |

Anything, but normal

In March, I had a hip revision, broken femur, a bacterial infection in my left thumb (required an urgent care visit), and have gout in my right wrist. And, if that isn’t enough, it looks like a haircut is going to be a long time coming. What is surprising about this calamitous array of events, is that I am truly riding the crest of good fortune. Here’s how.

I checked into Renown hospital just prior to the start of the worldwide coronavirus pandemic. Later I emerged from Sierra Ridge Rehab when you couldn’t book a bed there if you knew the owner personally. From there, I went to live with our son and his wife in their new home on a mountainside just northwest of Reno. Our son, Tom, came over from Napa for 10 days and was immeasurably helpful. Today our daughter Marla, who has finalized her 14-day quarantine (from Kentucky) returned Orllyene and me to our Smith Valley home.

Rather than a prolonged hospital stay, “Kindred at Home Health Care” provided three young women to assist in my recovery.

Katherine was my physical therapist. It was her task to assign exercises that would strengthen my body. She would prod, cajole, and dole out exercises. Overworking oneself is as detrimental as sloughing off and she assured me it was all right to be dependent on others for help if the task was beyond me. She is married to a history teacher (seventh graders), and declined the gift of one of my books because she says she no longer reads; she has a 4-year-old son and takes motherhood seriously.

Anjolie was my occupational therapist. The name is Turkish; she is not. It was her task to help me find ways to subvert my present immobility. There are a whole number of things you can do using a walker and a “grabber.” I have become a Houdini of the “grabber.” I can pluck a T-shirt off a shelf or a speck of paper off the floor with my “grabber.” It is my “Excalibur” and I panic if it is ever out of sight.

One of Anjolie’s tasks required Orllyene, Randy, and her to give me a shower in a safe manner. The only difference between the four of us was, I was the only one who was stark naked. I have achieved a very high degree of mental detachment because of this aquatic caper. Once in the shower, I soap down, give myself a quick washcloth scrub, and am back in my wheelchair lickety-split.

Amy is my nurse. Amy is cagey. She is a wonderful listener, asks many questions, and speaks her mind. When I gave her my book, she immediately gave it to her 92-year-old grandmother. Later she confessed she had read part of it and commented that it was time for her “to get started.” Amy confided that she would like to leave a legacy, and is developing an idea involving 25% vinegar and 75% water. I am using the formula with great success.

Being home is an incalculable blessing. It has been an eventful two months, and I am looking forward to a hint of normalcy.

Ron Walker can be reached at