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Phyllis Donovan: Life limps on with just one good leg

March 21, 2018

By Phyllis S. Donovan



So what happened after I fell and broke the tibia and fibula in my right leg and had surgery at Midstate Medical Center by Dr. Keith Aldrich to put a 14-inch titanium rod inside the tibia? Naturally, that meant that I have to stay off the leg for six weeks…no weight bearing at all.

    Can’t do that at home in a raised ranch with 13 stairs from garage to main floor. In fact, with a full soft cast encasing my leg from toes to above the knee, I couldn’t move out of bed by myself if I had to.

    Solution: Back I went to Westfield Care and Rehab Center where I’d been two years ago after a back operation. There I knew I’d get the rehab regimen and care I’d had that helped me recover the last time.

Although it felt like regressing to be back in that care situation again, at least it was also like a minor homecoming once I arrived and started refreshing old friendships.

One big problem was, I was taken there directly from the hospital with only the hospital gown on my back and would need my own clothes to wear for rehab.

The job of collecting a suitable wardrobe for the duration fell to my poor beleaguered husband who had to rummage through my bureau drawers and closet to find the clothes I needed.

Lucky for him, I am a very organized person. When I put away the laundry, everything goes in its rightful place. Of course, he knows where his things are but he was at a loss to find mine.

For example, this ensuing text exchange.:

Me: “I need my purple sweater.”

Him:” Where do I look?”

Me: “Right side of my sweater drawer.”

Him: “Where’s your sweater drawer?”

Me: “Tall bureau. Top drawer, your underwear. Second drawer, my underwear. Third drawer, sweaters! A whole drawer full.”

And so it went. Our daughter Peg finally arrived and helped him pull it all together.

Once dressed, I was back in rehab regularly each day. Determined to get back on both feet again I tried to work hard for Kathy Bossidy and her crew, Sarah, Sue, Andrew and Mary, who put me through my paces. But first I had to learn to get washed up and dressed with one leg the size of a giant log. Not easy!

A prime task was standing on my good foot, holding the bad leg aloft and transferring from bed to wheelchair, a big project even supported by rehab  people on both sides of me.

After two weeks, the doctor swapped the cast for a big black boot that weighs 2.4 pounds  but feels like a ton. All the staples came off on that visit and the Xrays were encouraging.

So back at Westfield, I’m working hard with my whole rehab team, plus nurses Aileen, Regina, Erica, Jessica, and all the wonderful women who help me daily like Bozena, Ivarine, Sharon and Priscilla. And then there are the people who spread good cheer like Bonnie in recreation and Phyllis who delivers mail and flowers, and a night crew including Fred and Joe who keep things running smoothly in the wee hours..

So, yes, when personal disaster happens, there is truly a village standing by to help us through it. And I, for one, am very grateful to them all.


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