The gym was especially crowded today, and the regulars were there, some liking the workout and some struggling to complete their routine. The smiles of the staff and their “you can do it attitude” is contagious. Each physical therapist is hands-on, eyes on, and spot on with their residents. After the first round of exercises, the participants are sitting a little exhausted and looking around. During this time, I walk around talking to those that are either at the beginning of their workout, at the middle of their workout or recuperating from an exhausting ordeal. Regardless of where the persons are in their gym time, most will talk with the Chaplain.
Most like to talk about how tough the workouts were while pointing at their therapist—with a smile on their faces. They all say some of the same words like “I would not do this on my own— she makes me feel better.” As the residents sit in their chairs or lie on the tables, or work on some kind of machine, they know improvement is not an option—it is required. Walking around the room, I talked with a few residents one-on-one or in several small groups. Then I noticed a woman, wearing a light pink workout suit, with an ice pack on her hip. Out of curiosity, I asked her what happened, then she smiled and started talking.
After our formal introductions, she started talking about her physical situation and then she shocked me. As she was talking, the tears started to flow. In a voice that was trying to breathe between tears, she said, ”my husband has his own health issues with his back. I can’t worry about me, he needs so much, and he is in pain all day long.” Then she said, “I wish he could get what I am getting from here. He might get better as I did.” As she was wiping the tears from her eyes, she said, “I did not know how much pain I was in. It just hurt all the time, but I had to keep going. I had to keep pushing through for two years. Then few a weeks ago my left hip was replaced and now there is no more pain.” With a big smile on her face with tears still coming down her cheeks, she said, “I am finally pain-free—I am pain-free! I didn’t realize how much pain I was in all the time until there was no more pain.” Then her smile slowly turned to a frown, looking at me with the saddest eyes, she said, “my husband needs to feel this good. Why can’t he have this and then our lives would be happier—so much more happier!”
Wiping tears from her eyes she said, “at least one of us is getting healthy.” Then as her physical therapist approached, she began flashing the biggest smile. “She worked a miracle in my life—I thank the Lord for her.” As I was sitting there, they were preparing for the second round of her physical therapy and then she turned to me and said, “round two” with a smile and a single tear on her right cheek.
From the desk of Chaplain Bobby