?

Log in

No account? Create an account

(no subject)

« previous entry | next entry »
Nov. 22nd, 2011 | 05:30 pm

No-one can make you do Physical Therapy.
 
The doctor can prescribe it, the nurse can wheel you to it, the therapist can welcome you to the room of treadmills and railed walkways and brightly colored half-pound free weights, but if you say “I don’t want to do Physical Therapy today,” and are of sound mind, they will wheel you back to your room.
 
Only a family member can force you. Only a family member can stand over your wheelchair, alternately wheedle and bully, push and cajole, refuse to stop talking and leave you alone, refuse to take you back to your room or even the men’s room until you have done ten leg lifts and ten ankle circles and maybe even taken five steps, the belt around your waist held tightly by Keo and your daughter dutifully pushing the wheelchair just behind.
 
Your daughter can drive in from out of state, come daily to wheel you in the PT garden, do her own calf raises and arm stretches while you balk at using your adductor-abductors and insist you want to go inside. She can debate you for twenty minutes (Be it resolved, going to Physical Therapy is not optional), then leave you under a live oak tree, pop the locks on your chair and say, “Fine. Go wherever you want, but the only place I’m taking you is PT.” She will return in an hour to bribe you with half a McDonald’s shake thinned with milk so you can get it through the straw, so it will taste like her mother’s milkshakes, carefully poured together while sitting at the red light, the nurses have told her any calories are good calories now.
 
You may call her a “fucking bitch” when she tells Keo not to let you sit back down until step number six and it will stab her more sharply than missed dance recitals and spelling bees, forgotten birthdays and the lie about the pony, but she will still use her strong trapeze artist arms to lift you from your bed, she will thank the years of acrobatics with heavy, awkward beginners that she can pivot you to your wheelchair. When you shout, “I’m not going to Physical Therapy! I don’t want to!” and grab a walker from the foot of another patient’s bed, blocking the doorframe with it, she will rhythmically push you to and fro, saying, “That’s it, Dad, keep pushing on the walker, this is good for your upper body. Can you push harder?” You will curse her for laughing, but she is behind you and she is also crying.
 
She will hope that “Hey, babe” is an endearment and not an inability to remember her name. She will be secretly prideful that you remember her name, and her mother’s, more than your current wife’s. She will feed you Lemon-Flavored Thickened Water from a plastic cup. Questions will arise for her that have never been conceivable before, like, How can I avoid seeing my dad’s penis? and, If he asks me to kill him, can I do it?
 
And after a few weeks, your daughter will discover that your current wife has no intention of ever bringing you home. She will discover that two weeks and a break for a job and two more weeks of Physical Therapy still only adds up to ten steps. She will learn, on her fourth visit, that the new nursing home has misplaced the Physical Therapy orders and instead moved you to a wheelchair with a higher back so you can sleep more comfortably in the afternoons when you are not allowed to be in bed. She will secretly not-mourn that her tour schedule allows her zero weeks off between May and October. But she will still sometimes appear, sitting quietly until you wake. When you open your eyes, she will be there like a shadow. As if the movement of the sun through vertical blinds has brought her there, as if no more than a morning has passed.
 
 


whipchick probably would have lost interest in the pony after a week, anyway.

Link | Leave a comment | Share

Comments {66}

Page 1 of 2
<<[1] [2] >>

C.S. Inkheart

(no subject)

from: frecklestars
date: Nov. 22nd, 2011 11:03 pm (UTC)
Link

This was really powerful. Wow.

Reply | Thread

whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: Nov. 23rd, 2011 03:50 am (UTC)
Link

Thanks - it was rough to write it and make it for the reader and not just self-indulgent, so thanks!

Reply | Parent | Thread

tigrkittn

(no subject)

from: tigrkittn
date: Nov. 22nd, 2011 11:38 pm (UTC)
Link

Damn. That was wrenching to read, and likely even more so to write.

Reply | Thread

whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: Nov. 23rd, 2011 03:50 am (UTC)
Link

There were a few tears in the coffee shop :) Thank you.

Reply | Parent | Thread

(no subject)

from: faerie_spark
date: Nov. 23rd, 2011 04:17 am (UTC)
Link

Deeply powerful writing. Filled with pain and hope and sadness and the significance of history and the meaninglessness of history. The vivid details, such as the shake thinned with milk and the "trapeze artist arms"--make this story both rich and unique.

Telling this in the third person emphasizes how unreal this must have in some ways felt, even as it was painfully real.

Thank you for sharing.

Reply | Thread

whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: Nov. 23rd, 2011 04:29 am (UTC)
Link

Thank you - as a writer, I wanted to experiment with the different POV, and the shifts, and yeah, as a person it still feels weirdly unreal. Like I was never supposed to parent my dad in this way. Part of me wishes I could drop everything and move down there and take care of him, and part of me thinks, "well, Dad, maybe if you were nicer to people someone would want to drop everything and take care of you" which is horrible, but also true.

Reply | Parent | Thread

The Michelle Tanner Experience

(no subject)

from: xreesex
date: Nov. 23rd, 2011 04:25 am (UTC)
Link

This was incredibly beautiful and painful all at once. How strong you (I assume this is true?) must be, how much love for your father. I loved this.

Reply | Thread

whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: Nov. 23rd, 2011 04:30 am (UTC)
Link

Thank you. And yes - I was surprised at how much being a physical performer helped - most of the time, the nurses discourage people from trying to lift their relatives, but I got them to teach me how to get him in and out of bed. He and I are a lot alike :)

Reply | Parent | Thread | Expand

pingback_bot

No title

from: pingback_bot
date: Nov. 23rd, 2011 04:30 am (UTC)
Link

User ashgaelsonaria referenced to your post from No title saying: [...] http://whipchick.livejournal.com/4710.html [...]

Reply | Thread

Ellakite

So sorry you had to go through all that...

from: ellakite
date: Nov. 23rd, 2011 05:06 am (UTC)
Link

I come from a medical family, and over time various relatives have needed this level of care. Some of them have fought like hell to get back what they've lost, some have gone through the motions without really trying... and some of them just gave up and refused to even pretend.

It's never easy. Never.

(((((HUG)))))

Reply | Thread

whipchick

Re: So sorry you had to go through all that...

from: whipchick
date: Nov. 24th, 2011 07:40 pm (UTC)
Link

Thanks for the hug :) It's been interesting to me seeing how much trouble my dad has with PT - I think, to be honest, it's that he's never been fit, so he's never had the experience of "don't want to go to the gym...boy this is hard...I'm glad I did it!" so it's hard for him to take that first step that's painful, because he's never had the reward.

Reply | Parent | Thread

Vice Captain of the Universe

(no subject)

from: sweeny_todd
date: Nov. 23rd, 2011 06:34 am (UTC)
Link

*tears*

... nope, no words.

*a few more tears*

Reply | Thread

the middle of the road's fine with no cars around

(no subject)

from: noodledays
date: Nov. 23rd, 2011 06:24 pm (UTC)
Link

that's almost where I was too. :o

Reply | Parent | Thread

Jemima Pauler

(no subject)

from: jem0000000
date: Nov. 23rd, 2011 07:04 am (UTC)
Link

Wow!

This was very well written; a strong piece. The emotions behind it are palpable.

Reply | Thread

whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: Nov. 24th, 2011 07:42 pm (UTC)
Link

Thank you - It was tough to write! Enjoyed your modern fairy tale very much, too - I think you really hit it, that it's not so much that the circumstances are different these days, it's that we don't think like fairy tale princesses think!

Reply | Parent | Thread | Expand

the middle of the road's fine with no cars around

(no subject)

from: noodledays
date: Nov. 23rd, 2011 06:23 pm (UTC)
Link

this was beautifully moving, even heart-wrenching.

Reply | Thread

whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: Nov. 24th, 2011 07:43 pm (UTC)
Link

Thank you - it was pretty heart-wrenching to write, and it took a few drafts to make it more than personal therapy!

Reply | Parent | Thread | Expand

(no subject)

from: iamthesea
date: Nov. 23rd, 2011 07:18 pm (UTC)
Link

Powerful, moving and very well written as always :)

Reply | Thread

whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: Nov. 24th, 2011 07:44 pm (UTC)
Link

Aw, shucks :) Thank you - I'm so pleased it worked for you! Your piece about internet friendship made me realize what a disadvantage it is being from different generations - I'd Facebook my dad every day if he knew how to use a laptop!

Reply | Parent | Thread | Expand

lawchicky

(no subject)

from: lawchicky
date: Nov. 23rd, 2011 09:01 pm (UTC)
Link

Wow, just wow. This struck me broadside and left me in tears.

Reply | Thread

whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: Nov. 24th, 2011 07:44 pm (UTC)
Link

That's high praise, thank you - it was a bit weepy to write, too :)

Reply | Parent | Thread

pingback_bot

No title

from: pingback_bot
date: Nov. 23rd, 2011 10:44 pm (UTC)
Link

User belenen referenced to your post from No title saying: [...] http://whipchick.livejournal.com/4710.html [...]

Reply | Thread

hours in the rain

(no subject)

from: nyxocity
date: Nov. 23rd, 2011 11:41 pm (UTC)
Link

Wow, so beautiful and visceral. Gorgeously written!

Reply | Thread

whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: Nov. 24th, 2011 07:45 pm (UTC)
Link

Thank you! Your forgiveness piece was great, too!

Reply | Parent | Thread

shimmerdream

(no subject)

from: shimmerdream
date: Nov. 24th, 2011 12:24 am (UTC)
Link

This was incredible: Poweful and moving.

Reply | Thread

whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: Nov. 24th, 2011 07:46 pm (UTC)
Link

Thank you - I'm glad it wasn't too self-indulgent :)

Reply | Parent | Thread

zhent

(no subject)

from: zhent
date: Nov. 24th, 2011 12:29 am (UTC)
Link

Nicely done. Good luck this week.

Reply | Thread

whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: Nov. 24th, 2011 07:46 pm (UTC)
Link

Thanks, you too!

Reply | Parent | Thread