She lived to rock the drug babies, a patient I’ll never forget from years ago. Then she was 88 and has since passed on. I’ll always remember her as an example of the many people who are patients and friends, and also angels to others.
She had nobody left in her family, and her husband was long gone. Her life’s work was walking two blocks to the hospital every day, going to the nursery, and asking the nurses who needed rocking. Most days a newborn from a mother who was addicted to drugs would need comforting, and she would sit for hours, rocking and comforting the baby who was going through withdrawl.
The day she came in to my office she was thinner than I remembered, walking slowly and down in the dumps. I asked what was wrong, and small tears started flowing down her hollow cheeks. Her feet hurt too much to walk the two blocks to the hospital, and she hadn’t been in over three weeks. She was in worried and in despair, not for herself, but for the babies who needed rocking.
“I can’t afford a cab, and I can’t drive anymore”. It was heartbreaking. But after looking at her feet, I told her she had plantar fasciitis. Her shoes were worn out and too flat with no arch support. Her achilles tendons and skinny calf muscles were tight as a drum.
The hospital social worker found her some new shoes, and the physical therapist came to her house for a month. She worked tirelessly to stretch her leg muscles. A more motivated patient I have never had.
One beautiful Spring afternoon she returned to my clinic – walked in beaming from ear to ear. That morning she had walked to the hospital and rocked ‘her’ babies for the first time in two months.
She was able to do that for a couple more years until she quietly passed away one night.