Purple pantsuit a beautiful sight

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Sometimes seeing an 82-year-old woman dressed in purple zoom by in a wheelchair on her way to bingo can be a truly beautiful experience.

Last Thursday it certainly was for me.

My mom has been struggling during rehab for her broken hip these past couple of weeks. There were several days in a row where she was tearful and fretful each time I went to see her in the nursing home.

She told me she wasn't particularly in pain; her therapists said she was slowly but surely making progress.  Everyone had treated her well; she had lots of cards and notes of encouragement, phone calls and visitors. She was still &#8220miserable, just miserable.”

And when Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy, right?

That's why I was so glad to see her out of her gowns and out of that bed and into one of her favorite pantsuits when I went for her care plan meeting last week.

As I talked with Mama's nurse, Eloise Shirley was kindly giving mom a helping pair of hands to wheel her to the residents' afternoon bingo game. After finishing up with the meeting, I was able to sit in on part of the bingo session with Mama and her friends.

She will tell you her vision isn't as good as it used to be and her mind doesn't always process as quickly. Still, Mama was doing a good job finding the numbers and covering them with her chips.

&#8220Good job, girl!” Her buddy &#8220Miss” Lois Early and I glanced across the table at each other and smiled conspiratorially. We've been wanting Mama out of that room and out among other folks for quite a while now.

Mama's back started hurting her, but she didn't want to rush away from the game, either. &#8220I guess I'll stay for one more round,” she told me with a little smile.

After wheeling her back to her room, we talked about how important it was for her to do that socializing. I told her she had to keep on keeping on with the therapy, no matter how tiring or painful it could be.

Sometimes I feel like Coach Angie.

It's been an up-and-down experience, much as I expected. For a while, I was worried she was giving up on us. &#8220I think she can make a strong recovery, but it's up to her to want it,” I've been told by the staff.

I have seen her stand up and walk, with a walker, across the room during therapy. I have watched her go from not being able to turn over without assistance in bed (and in great pain), to being able to sit up on her own, and with a little help, get to the bedside potty and back.

It's a lot of little baby steps to get where you want to go sometimes.

My little white-haired girl is slowly but surely making it, it seems. If we can keep getting her into her pretty pantsuits and out of that room, I really think we will see some progress.

In the meantime, if you happen to be at Crowne, drop by Room 28-B if you have a chance, and give Mama and her roommate &#8220Miss” Theresa a shout-out.

Tell ‘em Coach Angie sent you.

Angie Long is Lifestyles reporter for The Greenville Advocate. She can be reached at 382-3111 ext. 132 or via email at angie.long@greenvilleadvocate.com.