I often tried to ease her fears by telling her the operation won’t be that bad and that the pain won’t last forever and to look to the bright side of things. I even told her about the wonderful feeling morphine gives. (not sure if that was very wise, but she giggled to that comment.)
One morning I woke up and looked around the room and soon discovered Gertrude was not there. I went into an immediate panic and began pressing the ‘buzzer’ over and over again to call the nurses. Thinking something bad had happened, I was relieved to discover that she had had her operation and will be back later that day… Whew!
A few days after her operation I was blessed to see her stand for the first time and it was then that I realised the seriousness of her condition. I needed one person to hold my hand to walk and I was getting better by the day and able to walk a few times on my own. But Gertrude needed both nurses to hold her and to hold her well for her entire body weight rested upon them.
Even then, I saw the struggle it was for her and by her second step she was exhausted and needed to lie down.
I still praised her that day, congratulating her for having the courage to walk and for being able to, even though it was just a step. (she had never tried walking before because she was always told she couldn’t).
She was such a special person to have close to me and I thought about her every day for a long time after I left the hospital.