Last Friday, I noticed that Jerome’s left leg was starting to develop some blisters, and his right leg had a small wound that looked like he bumped into something. Since he has diabetes, we keep a close watch to forestall any future trouble. Wound care is always a priority with someone with that disease, since they can be very difficult to heal, and in some instances can lead to amputation. Luckily we have been able to keep his problem in check thus far.
There is a wound clinic that we take him to. The doctor there is a miracle worker as far as I am concerned. A few years back, he was referred to me by one of the Emory doctors, because another patient I was helping to take care of was also having some very serious problems with his legs. His wounds were so bad that the underlying structure of bones, and ligaments, could be seen. To simply take care of the legs, would take up to an hour every day. To top it off he also had, and still has, MRSA, a serious staff infection which complicates the problem. When we took him in for his first visit, the doctor actually got excited with the challenge, and with is staff began to formulate a battle plan. I was intrigued by this, and was encouraged, since amputation was an option given to us by a couple of doctors. Well in any case it was a success. I took him in every week for about a month; then every two weeks, which eventually got down to once a month. We have not had to go back for the last two years, so yes he is miracle worker as far as I am concerned.
Well his staff is also like him, very dedicated to the well being of their charges. The nurse on duty that day was one I knew well. Her name is Jane, and I love to watch her work. In fact I love to watch anyone work, no matter what their job is, if they take pride in it, and perform it well. Bank tellers, waitresses, and waiters, cooks, well just about anything that is done with pride, and efficiency, is for me a thing of beauty, and should be admired. Good workers have a rhythm that is a joy to watch. A couple of times I went on long trips by bus, and when possible, would sit to the right of the driver, just so I could watch him drive, they are so good at it, an seem so relaxed. Well I guess I am easily entertained, or perhaps distracted, who knows.
So there I was with Jerome watching Jane work on his legs. So I asked her how her daughter was doing in Germany. She responded that she was doing well, and that soon she would be going over to spend a week with her. Her daughter warned her that it was very hot, and there is little or no air conditioning available, so that part of the trip would be a problem for her. As we talked, and I was sort of leafing through a magazine, she mentioned that she was taking a gift over for the teenager sons of the family her daughter was staying with. I said “oh”, and she said “yes I have eighteen boxes of pop tarts in the suitcase ready to go”. I stop leafing through the magazine, paused, and then looked up and said, “What, pop tarts?”, and she said, “Yes pop tarts”, so I paused again and said “really?” she laughed and responded “I understand your response, I did the same thing”.
I laughed and told her a story about my mom. In 1971, when I went home for an extended visit of about a month, my mother, for awhile was in the habit of having pop tarts with tea, every night before she went to bed, and while there also partook of that habit, and did enjoy them. She was still amused by the request, but that is what they wanted. After this little story, she told me that she had to look in on another patient and would be back in ten minutes. So I thought I would run down and get some coffee. In the elevator I wondered if they had pot tarts and tea available, a fond memory of times I shared with my mother, brought very much alive by a simple humorous story.
When I returned, another nurse was wrapping Jerome’s legs, and when I waked in they were in the middle of a discussion about her pets. It seemed that she has a pet horse, that is 31 years old, and that she has had for 27 years. In fact it shares the same birthday with her son. I listened with interest has she continued her story about her other pets. She adopts donkeys, and also ponies, that the government offers up for adoption, that were rescued from abusive owners. She related to me that she adopted a donkey that was severely abused by her owners, and she was able to take care of it for a few months before it finally died. She was happy that the poor creature had at least a few months of a pleasant life before it expired. I responded that I never really thought of horses as pets, or donkeys for that matter, since I thought people owned them for riding, or perhaps for work. Well she just had them, and seemed to really love being around them. She also related that she read about some women who had 21 cats, who became ill, and her family had to take her upstate to live near them. So she adopted all 21 cats, put them, male, and female, in very large pens, separated according to sex, with lots of room to move about. She is having them “fixed” and then hopefully find homes for at least some of them. She was a very good story teller, so she kept me interested, and I thought what an interesting person, a healer of people and of animals both.
So all in all it was a good day at the doctors’ office, so many stories, and so many lives. I suppose being in a room full of people, is like being in a large book store, something interesting behind every book cover.