Grateful Thoughts to a Loving Church
After retiring at the end of July of 2021, I anticipated finally starting to organize our den. The mess in this room is all mine, and dates back to before my father died. Maybe this time I would be able to let go of his old papers and tributes written by his fellow journalists.
But life went downhill fast. Five days later, on August 4, while helping elderly congregant Ruth Tyrol into our car for a doctor’s appointment, my wife Linda caught the sleeve of her blouse on the tailgate of our car, lost her balance, and fell on Ruth’s level paved driveway, breaking her left hip. Since her time as a deacon, Linda, along with Janet Kaufman, Kathy Mera, and others, had looked after Ruth’s transportation needs after Ruth gave up driving.
Linda spent four days in Sharon Hospital including surgery, then was transferred to Geer Nursing and Rehab for a month. On the Friday before Labor Day weekend, Geer informed us that Medicare was unlikely to pay for any more days spent in an Inpatient Skilled Nursing Facility. I was overwhelmed thinking about the cost of care. Geer said we’d have to hire private help full time, 24/7 times 3 aides per shift all at $20 per hour, or $10,080 per week. We could pay Geer directly or find someplace else for Linda to recover, as our own house was definitely not handicap-accessible at that time. Fortunately, her brother Peter Lundeen had offered the use of his 1760-era house in Sharon for Linda’s recovery, as it had a ramp and all facilities on the first floor. Barbara Collins and Rose Lamson found appropriate bedding and baggy clothing for Linda. Barbara borrowed a wheelchair from the Congregational Church in Cornwall, which loans medical equipment for free on an as-needed basis.
Before moving back into our own house in January, we rented a stairlift to enable Linda to move between the basement and first floor. Some years ago, Linda had her right knee replaced. Recovery now has been slow because she needs to also have her left knee replaced. Her left leg lost about 3/8” of length when the hip was mended and this made walking so painful as to be almost impossible. There were times last fall when I wondered whether Linda would ever walk normally again. In the meantime, she had a 3/8” lift put in one shoe so that both legs are of equal length.
At first physical therapists came to Peter’s house to work with Linda. Later I drove her to Physical Therapy at Sharon Hospital. Many people from our church brought meals to us in Sharon, and every Sunday asked how Linda was doing. We are most grateful for the outpouring of support from a generous congregation.