Rehab – Day 18

Spiritual Smart Aleck


I greet you from Wesley homes, where I am safely ensconced during this heat wave. They have air conditioning, but even so, it’s warm.

My house does not have air conditioning, but it tends to be cool because it is shaded by big trees. At least for the first two or three days of a heat wave, it is comfortable at Casa Tuel, but then the air inside begins to equalize its temperature with the outside.

Wow. An excessively cheerful young woman just came to the door and asked if I wanted an ice cream bar.

Do I!

So now as I write I’m eating an orange creamsicle. Shades of my childhood.
Picking up the thread, I am here in rehab because I fell and fractured a lumbar vertebra. Broke my spine. On my birthday.

Quite painful, actually. So they are giving me oxycodone for the pain. I think it is ironic that I am in rehab and acquiring a drug dependency. Well, it’s not that kind of rehab, and my nurses assure me that the dose they are giving me is tiny.


The pain has decreased in intensity, thank goodness, and my physical and occupational therapists have me working on muscle tone in my arms, legs, and core. One day this week the OT had a bunch of us whacking a balloon around with badminton racquets. We were socially distanced, of course, in our wheelchairs.

That was the most fun I have had at therapy.

While I was here, my friends decided to organize a cleaning day at my house.
As a college friend once told me, house cleaning is not my strong suit. Imagine 44 years of accumulated things.

Before I fell, I could sweep hard floors and vacuum carpets, do laundry including putting it away (although that might take a couple of weeks of walking by the basket full of clean clothes and thinking, I really need to fold that laundry and put it away), wash dishes and put them away, clean the counter, clean and disinfect the toilet, dust, and clear out cobwebs with my Webster, a wonderful invention.

So I made my feeble efforts, and started clearing out some of the stuff that was surplus to needs. I made a little progress, but it felt like a Sisyphean job. So mostly I sat and dreamed of the day I could hire people to clear the place out.

So when my friends told me they were going to have a cleaning fest at my house, I was so grateful and happy that they were going to get me out from under some of my crap. They were doing what I have long dreamed of doing: a cleaning purge and a major trip to the transfer station.

Then I heard a little voice of fear saying that they would get rid of things I wanted to keep or save. I told that little voice to shut up. They’re going to clean my house and even if I do lose some of my precious hoarded items, it will be a burden lifted.

My, but I have changed.

This week they came to my house one day and worked their tails off, cleaning, shampooing rugs, washing windows, fixing the front porch, hauling out rubbish, and, honestly, I don’t know what all.

I have not seen it yet because I’m still at rehab, although Erin Durret, the one who organized this party and made it happen, sent me several photos of the work in progress.

I should have listened to that small voice of fear. An awful lot has happened to me lately, and I fooled myself about how much anxiety was building in me. When I realized that evening that I didn’t know where my dog was, all that fear and anxiety pushed up in me like a geyser. I lost my mind.

The hardest part of that episode is owning my behavior. I have not seen that side of Mary for many years. I think the last time I went so off the tracks was the day of my husband’s funeral. I couldn’t find one of my adult sons, and I lost it and yelled at him when I found him.
Yeah. That was a stressful day.

Truly, folks, I am not an ungrateful wretch. I am a grateful wretch.

I am so fortunate the Lord is my shepherd. Anyone else would have made me into lamb chops by now.