Looking for Mistletoe
Every now and then I get to work with someone who really brightens my day. Now, don’t get me wrong, I enjoy all my patients. Working with someone in the environment of his or her own home is about as good as physical therapy gets. I’ve cried, I’ve laughed, I’ve talked, I’ve laughed some more. Everyone is unique and interesting and boy, some of the stories I’ve heard . . .
But occasionally I’ll meet someone who puts that cherry on top of my day. I just got done seeing an elderly woman, a real cutie, for several weeks. She lives alone in a very small apartment in a very small town in which she is the self-proclaimed “town historian.” Her medical record says she’s “mildly retarded” but I saw no hint of it. She loves to talk, loves to laugh, and LOVES to talk (did I say that already?). Many a time I sat through photo albums of town history, listened to stories of her past, kidded her, laughed with her, and watched her improve both physically and emotionally.
One time, before leaving I asked her if there was anything I could do for her. Five minutes later I was climbing a step stool to re-hang a blind and curtains in her kitchen window. Then I was filling a pot of water to sit over the heater register. Then I was taking bags of garbage outside to the garbage cans. I don’t remember all that being in my job description, but I didn’t mind at all.
Monday was the last day I was to work with her and as I sat at her little kitchen table she said to me, “Mike, do you know the one thing I really miss about Christmas that no one does any more?”
I was expecting something very philosophical or sentimental. Some story about Christmases past and how commercialism has changed everything and real meaning hasn’t gotten lost in the mix.
She looked at me and smiled. “Mistletoe!”
Okay, so it wasn’t philosophical or sentimental . . . but we both got a laugh out of it.