Leg Lifts in the Hospital (Mom, Continued)

Yesterday morning Mom, last seen Sprinting Up the Staircase at 83, had to return to the hospital for more major surgery, again involving general anesthesia.

It’s not about her knee this time – that’s working fine – but nor is it the kind she wants her daughter blabbing about on the Bodies in Motion blog.

Fine. We won’t go into specifics.

We’ll go directly to the story: Mom’s surgery takes place three hours later than originally scheduled. So Mom and Bernie, her husband, have to wait. Mom’s already got her hospital gown on, and she’s supposed to be lying on the guerney like any other compliant patient, waiting.

Except Mom’s never been the sort to lie around.

Especially when she’s still post-op from the knee surgery, and concerned that too much lying around is going to make the knee stiff.

So, even though she’s already got an IV dripping into her arm, Mom wraps the hospital gown around her, hops off the guerney and starts doing some exercises – wheeling the IV bottle and its metal cart behind her. “Nothing fancy, just some leg lifts, toe raises, flexion and extension, that sort of thing,” she explains to me later, when we talk about it.

I bet the nurses are still talking about it too. As they walked by, they were overheard exclaiming,

“What is she doing?”

“Is that the patient?”

“Why is she kicking her leg like that?”

“She looks like a New York City Rockette.”

“I think she’s EXERCISING.”

“Isn’t she, like, 83 or something?”

“She can’t be.”

“Have you ever seen such a thing?”

“No, but I’ll bet you one thing: She’s going to recover in record speed.”

And she did.

Mariah Burton Nelson
American Association for Physical Activity and Recreation MNelson@aahperd.org

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2 Responses to “Leg Lifts in the Hospital (Mom, Continued)”

  1. Rebecca Morgan Says:

    Your mom is so great!

    I don’t know that I’d be seen exercising in a hosptital gown, but I have now begun to do the exercises my PT has given me while I’m standing in line or in meetings. Don’t worry — unlike your mom, mine don’t involve kicking like a Rockette! My PT has be strenghtening my foot — who would have guessed! — to help me straighten out my knee problem. Turns out that if you aren’t standing right it throws everything out of whack! So I’m merrily flexing and pointing and spreading my toes — subtly of course — in all sorts of unlikely places now.

  2. Mariah Burton Nelson Says:

    How strange, when you think about it, that we don’t ALL do this! Think how different the experience of “staning in line” would become if one person was balacing on one leg, another reching up overhead, another swinging the arms to loosen the shoulders, another hopping on one foot, another doing deep lunges. Think how FUN that would be! People might actually TALK to each other too, comparing notes. When does this sort of playful, active engagement with our own bodies happen? When we’re YOUNG. Ever watch kids stand in line? They’re SQUIRMING – because their bodies are telling them to, virtually forcing them too. As we age, our bodies have the same desire to MOVE – it’s just social convention that keeps us rigid. So: GO FOR IT, Rebecca. Do your excercises. And, while you’re at it, PLAY a bit. Who knows? You might meet someone interesting (and open-minded, and committed to physical activity) that way!


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