This now fragile lady has fallen three times in recent weeks. She's had hip surgery, followed by a serious infection that left her weak and more confused. In the days following surgery, she was able to take one hundred and fifty steps at a time. But in the intervening weeks, all progress was lost. While realistic about her prognosis, we know that immobility will cause her greater suffering as endless days in a chair break down her body. So Bill and Bonnie coaxed and cajoled and confronted roadblocks to her recovery. Meds that left her groggy were discontinued. Bill treated her daily. The first day, she couldn't stand. By the end of the second, with several arms holding and lifting, she made five brief upright attempts. On Sunday, she grabbed hold of her walker and walked a bit, then repeated this on Monday and Tuesday.
One of my favorite books is Clyde Edgerton's Walking Across Egypt, the story of an elderly woman who takes to heart a sermon about "the least of these" and takes in a juvenile delinquent. Set in the south that I knew as a child, the book evokes powerful memories. The characters lived down the street and around the corner from us. Several were close relations. As one who has often wandered in the wilderness like the lost tribes of Israel, I can relate to Edgerton's tale. The title ran through my mind several times during our too-brief visit as we joined Bonnie in a walk with Miss Jean across her personal Egypt: a difficult, confused journey through a foreign land.