In early February, I wrote about my daily practice of writing with an online service called 750 Words. As of today, I'm on an 81 day streak and I've managed to write a minimum of 750 words each day. It's the only practice that I was able to maintain after my dad, Fred, landed in the hospital.
Landed is the perfect word. He fell after dinner one night, on his way from the dining table to his walker, parked several feet away. It's been part of his usual routine at The Regency, where he and my mom have been living for nearly three years. He leaves his walker against a wall and slowly shuffles his way to and from the table with his stroke-weakened legs. One night, his left foot missed a beat and down he went.
After a week in the hospital, unable to stand or walk on his own, Fred spent the next six weeks in a rehab center where he received physical therapy.
He was walking and talking with more strength and ease than before his fall, when he made his way back to his apartment on Good Friday. On Easter Sunday, he reached down to pull up his pants and fell again. This time too, he didn't break any bones but lost most of the strength gained in his legs. As muscle spasms in his low back subside, he's slowly able to stand and walk and I expect he'll be back to his "new normal" self when he starts another round of physical therapy next week.
I put some of my daily practices on hold during all of this in order to adjust to a daily visiting schedule for my mom and me, as well as to allow for my own energy needs. Yet, I gained the most benefit by watching an 87 year old improve with daily exercise and therapy. It gave me an even greater respect for the human body and individual persistence. Every time he stands, Fred risks falling.When he falls, he gets back up. When he's able to, he stands up again. It's the way we learn to walk. It's the way we learn to live.
Never lose infinite hope.