Thursday, April 26, 2007

What I Remember

It is interesting what we remember, isn't it? I was thinking about this, amongst other things, as I sat in a community meeting about eating locally (where were you, Monique?). Looking around the room, I saw several people I knew from my almost 13 years in Vernon. I saw one woman farther down the row who I remember but who does not remember me. For me, she is unforgettable.

I met her when I was in the hospital with an 8 month old baby having just broken both my legs. It was a shocking situation for me to be in. I was stunned by the fact that days before I had been running and jumping and now I couldn't even get up. She was one of my nurses. She had been my nurse for several days. Her manner was brusque and bossy and she annoyed me. She seemed insensitive.

A young physiotherapist had been assigned to help me figure out how to manoeuver myself with my arms now that I couldn't use my legs. When you break your knees, you don't even get a cast, so I could absolutely only put weight on my arms. Anyone who knows me, knows that the nickname 'small arms' aptly applies to my upper body strength. I was now supposed to lift myself up by my arms to transport myself from bed to commode or bed to wheelchair. This was my second session and it was not going well. The physio was busy talking to another physio. They had both recently had babies and were gabbing about their children as she absentmindedly told me what to do. I was flustered and desperately trying to do what she said and failing because I was too weak but she barely noticed me and was awkwardly shoving and manipulating me as I got more and more discouraged. She left and for the first time since the accident, I was in tears. I couldn't see how I was ever going to be able to go home, how I would be able to manage myself at all. I sat there behind the curtain with tears of impotence running down my face. And my nurse saw. And she understood. And she helped me. She told me I was going to be able to do it. She got another physio who was much better at teaching me how to lever myself so I could move around. And I began to see that I would be able to do it.

Her kindness and compassion when she saw my vulnerability is something I will never forget. In the 6 years since then, I have seen her around town maybe 5 or 6 times and she doesn't remember me any more but I will never forget her. Every time I see her face, I remember her kindness to me when I so desperately needed it. Every time I see her, I am filled with gratitude and love for her and I hope that she feels it coming through the air.... (and yes, I have told her in person, the first time I met her after I was out of the hospital, she was embarrassed to be so thanked and flustered but I could tell that it meant something to her, too, to be acknowledged like that)

And it just got me to thinking. I am sure I couldn't spot that physio who so carelessly worked on me without seeing me. Within months she was out of my mind and my memory. But I will never forget that nurse.

1 comment:

Mary-Sue said...

I love the way your memory works! It seems too many remember only the bad, forget the good...