Back to Business…: Bev’s Story Part 7

a6c9c5_4106fe3827ce422cabd49ef22c176b03 LET’S GET BACK TO BUSINESS!

In the summer of 1989, I saw a neurosurgeon, at Kaiser, who agreed to send me to rehabilitation so that I could try to regain the use of my legs. I had mixed feelings because I wanted to be on my feet and be able to move around, but at the same time I didn’t want to leave my baby. But I checked into the rehab hospital and I stayed there, during the week, for five weeks. Luckily my physical medicine doctor would give me a pass to go home on the weekends. After the first couple of days, Greg would come out to see me in the evenings and he would push my wheelchair across the street so we could eat a real restaurant, instead of the hospital cafeteria. If you’ve ever eaten hospital food then you will know that there is no comparison between that and the restaurant food. My mother would sneak a visit in, from time to time, with the baby and Lindsay. I remember that the girls would get up onto the hospital bed with me and I would hold Brittany while Lindsay would be quite happy playing with the TV remote control. I had my Bible there and pictures of Greg and the girls, on my hospital tray, which helped me through each long day.

In rehabilitation the nurses and I got along quite well because they usually didn’t have someone like me in the program. Surprise, surprise, they had never seen anyone like me before! Most of the people were stroke victims or amputees and here I was, a young mother with a newborn. So I could relate to the nurses much easier than most of the other patients. The days in rehab were quite busy with P.T., O.T., and R.T. which is Physical, Occupational and Recreational Therapies. Luckily I didn’t have to go to all of the sessions and could eliminate those pertaining to the stroke victims.


Then I went to Casa Colina in Pomona as an outpatient. This is the Cadillac of hospitals which specializes in spinal cord injuries. They had an adaptive gymnasium filled with all the latest equipment. The theme of the Physical Therapy department was, “work it out!” You could buy tee shirts that supported the saying, and of course, I bought one. There was even a bathroom that was completely accessible, including a raised toilet seat. Another big advantage was that the cafeteria restaurant was completely set up for wheelchairs. (Besides that, the food was good!) I was fitted with A.F.O.’s on my legs to help me walk between the bars. I was learning how to cook with special equipment and using little tricks that would enable me to manage to put a meal on the table. They even wanted me to bake a cake using a mix instead of from scratch. I told them that I had stopped canning fruit and making jelly and jam, but I wasn’t ready to give up everything! I started painting ceramics, figurines, etc., and that was enjoyable but with children at home I wasn’t sure I’d ever have time to pick up a paint brush. They showed me how to use the sponge like extenders that helped me put my eye liner on. The O.T. would look at me like I was crazy. Why did I even want to bother with eye liner!? Thank goodness with all the nurses, health aides, doctors, and therapists, through the years, I haven’t spoken unkindly to one yet… even if I did want t

a6c9c5_f633db45b12c4fa38d156b2078032293By this time my left arm was not functioning much at all, so the first thing they did was to put me in a wheelchair that is controlled with one hand only. I remember the first time I had to get to physical therapy on my own, it felt as though it was five hundred miles away. I was having a difficult time controlling the chair. I would turn it towards the wall and head right into it over and over again! By the time I arrived at the gymnasium I was exhausted and they would say, “All right you can begin exercising now.” I would think, “Are you crazy? What do you think I was just doing?” Having my family and babies at home was always a good incentive to try my hardest, in therapy, to get well. Besides, I always thought about the passage “I can do all things through Christ Jesus who gives me strength,” Phi. 4:13. I think I turned into somewhat of a Scarlet O’Hara at that point. I won’t WORRY about that today… I’ll THINK about that tomorrow!


Eventually my insurance benefits ran out and I was limited to outpatient P.T. and O.T. back at Kaiser. I thought I was doing alright as I had my electric go-cart to take me around. I could really get around quickly in that cart. I could move up and down the aisles, at the mall, faster than lightning.  The main problem was watching out for shoppers who would inadvertently step out in front of me. It was a good thing that the cart would stop as soon as I would let go of the control knob. Lindsay enjoyed sitting on my lap in the cart and pushing the controls to make it stop and go. In November, Greg and I had gone around the block for some fresh air. We saw some of our neighbors and stopped to chat. When we were finished with our visit, Lindsay wanted to push the controls to drive us back home. Unfortunately she pushed too hard and she and I tipped the go-cart over. Greg said it was like watching Artie Johnson, as the little old man on the tricycle, on the Laugh-in show. All he could do was stand there, helplessly, and watch us topple over. Actually we escaped without a lot of injuries which was really fortunate. I had a scrape on my ankle and a bruised elbow, and Lindsay was only very scared. Greg carried her home and made me promise not to allow her to drive the cart anymore.

About a week later I developed a cold and started having difficulty breathing. I was becoming weaker and weaker and finally I told Greg that I thought I should go see the Doctor. Once we arrived at the hospital, Greg tried to get me out of the car and into my wheelchair. He didn’t realize how weak I had become and I ended up sliding down onto the cement in the parking lot. That’s been the only time he has ever ended up with me on the ground. Of course at that time, I didn’t much care if he would have just walked away and left me right there. Thankfully I can talk to Jesus sitting on the cement in a parking lot just as well as I can in church. “Lord, please give Greg the strength to pick me up and get me in my chair.” Sometimes he answers my prayers very quickly and Greg was able to pick me up and very shortly we were seeing my neurologist.

a6c9c5_9c8cb7da528148febd122f12f2a3ec68The neurologist didn’t like the way I looked and thought I should check into the hospital. I quickly agreed, as much as I hated the hospital, I was really feeling “too pooped to pop!” They put me on oxygen and started giving me several tests to find out what was the matter. In a day or so they scheduled another M.R.I. to be done. One day my best friend, who knows I’m big on angels, brought me the cutest angel. I put in on the stand at the foot of my bed, right where I could see it. So no matter what happened I was reminded I had an angel watching over me.
The results of the M.R.I. showed that there were mastastacies in my brain stem. What a blow. By this time I was very weak and could hardly move my arms up and down at all. It was almost Christmas time and thankfully I had already purchased everything I needed for the big day except for a few stocking stuffers. At the time I was just hoping to be home to be able to celebrate Christmas with my family. The doctors couldn’t find anything specifically wrong so I was sent home and told that I’d had a viral infection. Of course, according to a friend of the family who is a physician, that’s what they always say when they can’t figure out what is really wrong with their patient! Oh well, at that point I didn’t care what they called it, I just wanted to be home. Thankfully, I was allowed to be home and I kept busy planning my baby’s first Christmas. My seven year old was full of questions like wanting to know how Santa Claus could possibly fit down such a skinny chimney? So, it was back to being a MOM.

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