From Patient to Caretaker – From Wearing the Gait Belt to Holding it

From Patient to Caretaker:

A little over a year ago I was wearing the gait belt while my physical therapist and my lover taught me how to stand and walk again. Today I held it.

Today was my first day officially working as a caretaker. Granted, it was only for one hour of my morning, but considering the circumstances, it was a pretty huge triumph. Β The tasks were simple, walk with my new friend, take out some trash, open some boxes of bacon, put away a pan in a low drawer, water some plants, set them in the sun, and chat…Intriguing, entertaining conversation is a must.

Since it was our first day alone together, my friend added a disclaimer after a few minutes of our walk down the street, “You can talk if you want to, just know that I’m not listening, so I’m not going to answer you. I’m just concentrating too much on walking.”

I chuckled and nodded. I hadn’t been talking because I already knew how much focus it takes to walk when it’s no longer natural and pain-free, as well as how exhilarating it feels to take a short walk with a walker in the sun.

It was a surreal feeling, not wearing the gait belt nor using the walker, but holding onto it like my lover did for me for so long. The sun was high in the sky and felt warm and soothing on my skin. The walk was slow. It was short. It was a victory. It was so reminiscent of my time in the hospital, but completely different.

After our walk, my friend expressed her satisfaction with the fact that she was deteriorating in her older age, since she doesn’t have to deal with it too long. She said, “I’m glad this didn’t happen to me when I was younger, because then I’d have to live with it for a long time.”

I had to smile.Β rat lungworm

I’ve been thinking about my recovery throughout most of today.

I’m pretty sure being in a diaper behind a walker at 29 constitutes younger.

I searched myself for how I truly feel about life in this state. This is what I found:

I’m less concerned with being upset that I have to live with neurological issues, nerve damage, a malfunctioning colon, bladder, chronic pain, and nightly spasms for the duration of my recovery, however long that may last, than stoked that I’m simply alive, connected with myself, the Earth, and my soulmate in Magical Moab.

Thought you’d be interested in knowing. πŸ™‚

Live, laugh, love, dance, recover.

Tomorrow’s not guaranteed, so live like you believe it!



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10 Responses to From Patient to Caretaker – From Wearing the Gait Belt to Holding it

  1. Jen Shaffer March 9, 2014 at 12:27 AM #

    Rita, my dear friend, you are such an inspiration! I love reading about your adventures. Like me you see things from the positive side of things instead of the negative. It amazes me how special you are and what a blessing you are to this awful world! I pray those who’s lives you touch take the time to realize what a special person you are and how blessed thier Libes are with you in it! Keep fighting the good fight lovely! You are am awesome person!

    Much love from Pa!!!


    • Hurricane Rita March 13, 2014 at 3:15 AM #

      Thank you! I’m happy you enjoy reading my posts! The good fight leads to good results! πŸ™‚

  2. Dan March 9, 2014 at 8:06 AM #

    Great attitude to have Rita. Unbelievable that this happened to you. Your postings are wonderful to read. THANKS.

    • Hurricane Rita March 13, 2014 at 3:18 AM #

      I feel like I’m telling somebody else’s story sometimes…It’s so crazy!

  3. Robert Bishop March 10, 2014 at 11:07 AM #

    Silly Rita… it’s been far too long and from the looks of it, you’ve been on quite a few adventures…

    Glad to see you are recovering well, best wishes.

    • Hurricane Rita March 13, 2014 at 3:19 AM #

      Wait…THE Robert Diva Bishop? Seriously?! Where the heck have you been!?

      • Robert Bishop March 15, 2014 at 12:47 PM #

        Lol… looking for a place to set down roots… I found it.

        I finished my last 3 years with the Army in DC, with the Old Guard. Worked most of it in Arlington, brutal and sad… but that’s a thing of the past.

        I’m enjoying my new life in Colorado. I’m finishing my undergraduate degree at CU-Colorado Springs in Geography and Environmental Science, with a minor in Sustainability. I’m focusing on conservation and restoration of our national parks… I couldn’t ask for a better career.

        I do not think I will ever leave this state.

        Glad to see you are recovering as I would have hated to read that you had passed from eating a slug (Really?!)

        • Hurricane Rita March 15, 2014 at 6:20 PM #

          I know, right…all the shit I survive, then it’s a slug that gets me? HA! So…neighbor…how about running a race in Moab, UT? As much as I’d ABSOLUTELY LOVE to end that sentence with “with me,” I’d rather you come sooner than later, so I’d hardly think we’d be able to run together…unless you’ve gotten super soft in your time on the east coast. Interesting…I was just saying that geography would be a fun study. πŸ™‚ So, you can email me at Then I’ll get you my phone number, and we can speak! πŸ˜€

  4. Israel Blanco May 3, 2014 at 9:26 AM #

    Wow….I had no idea what you have gone through. I saw the 72hrs TNT episode for the first time a few days ago, yeah way late. But when I saw you on the tv I was like I know this person. Not sure if you remember me but on your first deployment in Iraq we were running buddies. We’ll I should say you were the runner I was just slowing you down. I am glad you are doing well. Keep writing, running and enjoying life.

    • Hurricane Rita May 3, 2014 at 5:57 PM #

      Blanco!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Holy crap! Well, if you ran with me nowadays, I’m sure you could keep up! πŸ˜€ I had a much different attitude back then about running, although the premise of “as long as I’m moving it’s all good,” still reigned. πŸ™‚ HEHEHE. I’ve been through a bunch, but in essence, haven’t we all? I was just complimented by my patient for…..moving more slowly than her other caretakers. hahahahaha!

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