Tuesday morning Mary awoke with a new enthusiasm. She tried to wrap the elastic bandage as well as the nurses had wrapped them. She did the exercises they taught her. She moved from the bed to the wheelchair. When she had a chance to do so, she took the wheelchair out in the hall and rolled all the way down and back without stopping. In the bed she moved to the different positions without help. Karl was alive. Dana was alive. She had reason to live and to learn to get about on this stump. She wanted to be a wife and mother again. She wanted to move as quickly as possible from being needy to being needed.
When Karl came in to visit her after dialysis, he told her about discovering that Clifford Cartright was in this hospital and that Dr. Kubicki is his doctor. Clifford is suffering from amnesia but is ready to be discharged. Karl guessed that as soon as Melodie finds out she will drive down to get him.
Karl told Mary that he is discouraged by the first couple visits he made to apply for a job as diesel mechanic in Monroe. They discussed whether he would have a better chance in Arkansas. Karl said that he is going to ask Dr. Kubicki if Mary could be moved to Arkansas for her residential physical therapy.
On Wednesday Clifford and Melodie stopped in Mary’s room. They were on their way down to the business office for Clifford’s discharge papers and then on to Little Rock. Melodie told her that Dana was watching her children.
Mary said, “I thought she was at a shelter.”
“Apparently she was being mistreated there. She ran away and then called me and asked if I would come and get her. I told Karl that I need some kind of legal paper giving me temporary guardianship.”
Dr. Kubicki came in to see Mary on his rounds. He asked her to remove the elastic bandage even though Wanda was accompanying him on his rounds. He looked closely at her stump.
“Now let me see you wrap it by yourself.”
Mary worked quickly, but carefully, wrapping it tightly, but not so tight it would cut off the blood flow in her leg. When she was finished she looked up. Wanda was smiling approval. Dr. Kubicki said,
“I am impressed. Mrs. Cusak, you are making remarkable progress. Your stump has healed well. The elastic bandage is shaping it like it should. The nurses report on your chart that you are turning yourself onto the correct side or prone or on your back on schedule and without being told or requiring assistance. You are moving yourself from the bed to the wheelchair and from the wheel chair onto the toilet and back into the wheelchair without requiring assistance. You are rolling yourself down the hall once and twice a day. AND Mamaw’s Miracle Medicine has coaxed your kidneys into resuming their function.
“In summary, Mrs. Cusak, I am really happy. Anytime after this Friday, I will release you to be moved to a residential physical rehabilitation facility. I realize that it may take a few days or even a week to find a suitable facility. You will remain in our hospital’s care until then. Even though you are able on your own to make these movements from bed to wheelchair and back again and from wheelchair to toilet and back into the wheelchair, you must have a nurse observing you. Accidents can happen to the best of people. I want someone there to catch you if you fall. That stump is fragile. Think of it as fine china.”
“Thank you, Doctor. Thank the Lord. God bless you!”
“Let’s not forget to thank Mamaw.”
Mary was so happy. She couldn’t wait to see Karl and tell him.
When the dialysis nurse came, she told Mary that this would be her last treatment. Doctor Kubicki said that she wouldn’t need any further dialysis as long as her kidneys were functioning.
Karl came soon after the dialysis treatment was completed.
“Mary, I am not having any encouragement at all about finding a job in Louisiana. My years of experience working on large farms, for a heavy equipment dealer, and in the National Guard over in Iraq doesn’t mean a thing to them. Apparently, in the aftermath of Katrina, a lot of unqualified men were hired for the cleanup and rebuilding. They botched up jobs and it cost a lot of money to undo their mistakes. Others ruined valuable equipment trying to perform repairs or even maintenance which they didn’t know how to do. They want more than my word that I can do the work.”
“Karl, I received some good news from the doctor. He said that he would release me to a residential physical rehabilitation facility any day after Friday. He said we could take as long as a week to find one and I will remain in this hospital until we find one. Isn’t that good news? It means I am one giant step toward being a wife and mother, being needed instead of needy.”
Karl kissed her.
They talked more about Clifford and Melodie and about Dana.
Karl said, “I’m worried about her running away and Melodie is worried about police. I’m going to drive back there tonight and see what I can do. The Department of Human Services will be open tomorrow. It will be closed on Friday because that’s the Fourth of July.”