Too Fit To Be Tied


At Island Hospital in Anacortes, Washington, there was never an absence of concern. After I’d been there only a few days, the Hospitalist argued with my health insurer to admit me to a special physical therapy program at Providence Hospital in Everett, citing my age (92 years), partial paralysis (right side) and relative immobility ( unsteady, dizzy). I was rejected as a candidate since my symptoms were not quite severe enough tp warrant admission. In spite of the urgency that I receive early treatment, it was more than a month later before I was scheduled for an evaluation at the PT department at Island Hospital, all of which was okay with me.

I knew meanwhile what I was going to do. I was going to continue the floor exercises that I’d developed over the years. And so, after discharge from the hospital on June 13, I did just that, working my way through the short set of exercises every morning which included 30 push-ups from the knees and another 20 at full body weight interspersed with a series of back stretches including stacked elbows and hands to toes. Lying on my back, I rotated my bent legs in a circular motion, one way and then the other, to keep my hips flexible. I ended every session with a modest 15 deep squats. I noticed that eventually I was getting some feeling back in my right side, particularly the shoulder and arm.

Eventually the first PT appointment came through and on Wednesday, July 17, I was evaluated by a staff member to determine the level of treatment I would need. Since the staff member, Emilio, was unable to detect any weakness on either side of my body and was frankly puzzled, he opted to conduct a more comprehensive test which took another half hour or so. He tested my physical resistance comparing right and left legs and arms and my mobility and vertigo, walking me up and down the hall rapidly, looking left and right and stopping and starting abruptly. He also examined my ability to track his fingers with my eyes. When Emilio finished the test he was more puzzled than ever. He could not find any justification for admitting me to treatment at any level! I was completely normal in every respect. When Emilio learned my age he about fell off his chair. He said he had many patients in their sixties and seventies who were not nearly as healthy as I was. I quickly became his model of what he wanted to be like at my age.

So here I am, too fit to be tied to any therapy class at Island Hospital. For Emilio’s positive assessment, I credit my practice of doing my exercises regularly every day regardless of my personal schedule or convenience. No matter where I am, I can usually find floor space and ten minute’s time.

The big question is what brought on the stroke to begin with? The cardiologist, ever realistic, tends to write it off as age-related.. What should I expect? My body’s 92 year’s old. Organs begin to wear out. Right now I’m just thankful the stroke was not worse. My naturopathic doctor pointed out that if it had been the left side of my body it would have meant that the right side of my brain, the cognitive side, would have been affected, making the damage much more consequential.