Teamwork, diligence and faith can make miracles
Fifteen years ago, I was in Chicago, crossing Canal Street, when my taxi stopped for a light. I looked up at a high-rise building, where I could see two window washers doing their work.
I couldn’t perform as a window washer. I hate heights, so the first floor would have done me in. Because of my fears, I had a greater appreciation for their work.
They were meticulous. Have you seen the platform the washers stand on and the two ropes that support them? Have you observed their washing techniques?
Tiny motions, smooth movement, incredible coordination, balance and (in my opinion) inhuman strength sustain a window worker.
Plus, they have to have a lot of faith that their support from above will continue to hold them up.
I was in Chicago headed to Pennsylvania to see my dad. Dad had had a stroke seven weeks prior.
At the time, before I left Missouri, I had talked with one of my favorite speech pathologists, Angie.
I wanted to give my father speech, occupational and physical therapy during my four-day visit. In other words, I wanted a miracle.
Angie reminded me to teach rote things, use “lead-in phrases” and music. I had always known music works with those who have a brain injury. I had witnessed this repeatedly, with Kelsey, my special-needs daughter. Sometimes she couldn’t talk. Yet she could sing.
I believe it’s because speech is on one side of the brain and music on the other. I think.
Anyway, when I arrived at my father’s rehab center, he was waiting outside in a wheelchair with my sisters and brother.
He knew me and hugged me. It felt so good. It was the first time I had seen him since his stroke.
He jabbered. They call it perseveration. His arm and leg were limp. His face drooped down.
We wheeled him inside to his room and called his nurses to help him back into bed.
Dad had faithful people delivering his care. June, Kim, Lisa, David, Megan, Nicole, Patti, Teresa, Willie, there were so many.
Anyway, Dad was in bed when the nurses delivered his food tray. He pushed the food away.
All the food had been thickened. It didn’t appeal to me either.
I wanted to try music therapy, so I started with “I saw Mommy kissing Santa Claus,” one of my dad’s favorite songs.
My mom watched when Dr. Diane went to work. Remember, he hadn’t spoken but a few words.
I told my dad to listen while I started to sing, “I saw mommy …,” pausing so my dad would join in. And he did!
He finished the line with “tissing danta caus.” My mom cried, and I cheered, practically scaring my dad to death.
I couldn’t take any credit. The care center worked tirelessly with therapy and support.
Along with my siblings and mom, who ran round the clock shifts, making sure he received his services. Watching everyone’s efforts wore me out.
Helping my dad to heal, mend and restore was a very meticulous effort.
It’s like my Chicago window washers. The entire team, Daddy’s caregivers and family, all did their parts. Add in their patience, strength, coordination, and by tiny motions, his rehab and healing came together and Daddy progressed.
Remember how the window washers had two ropes to support them and the faith that this support from above would hold them. So did daddy’s team. They had to combine their faith and good work ethic, with Heavenly Father’s support from above.
What my siblings and Dad’s rehab team were able to accomplish, after a massive stroke left him paralyzed, was phenomenal. Within a few months, my dad returned home from the facility and lived another 11 years. This was truly a miracle.
I love you, Daddy.
Diane Mack is coordinator of Putting Families First, Jackson County's Family Week Foundation. Email her at Director@jacksoncountyfamilyweek.org.