My Dad - Eli, hizzownself - hasn’t moved around a whole lot in his 86 years.
He grew up at one address in Bensonhurst, in Brooklyn. When he got married in 1950, he moved to an apartment with his bride, and then to a house on the south shore of Long Island a few years later. Fourteen years after that, we picked up and moved... a grand total of three blocks away.
His next move was 24 years later, to the house he shares with Toni, his bride of 21 years. That’s five residences in all the years he has walked this planet.
She Who Must Be Obeyed and I have that beat. We’re on our seventh house in less than 35 years... and I haven’t even counted the two of my childhood.
This is all a long-winded way to say that the Old Man doesn’t shift his residence very often. Today, however, was Moving Day. Today was the day Eli moved from his place in the hospital rehab wing to a separate short-term rehabilitation center.
He had spent 38 days in the hospital: five days in intensive care, the rest in the rehab wing. And every one of those days in the rehab wing was filled. Occupational therapy, to help him relearn the tasks of daily life. Physical therapy, to help him regain mobility in his limbs. Speech therapy, to help him recover from his stroke-related dysarthria and to help him manage his swallowing reflex. (This last one is important if you ever want to be able to drink regular, unthickened liquids.)
But in the world of Modern American Medicine, after a month, the money for acute hospital care runs out. You either go home or you find a place that can deal with your issues. We managed to do the latter, the former being an untenable alternative - for now, at least.
Going home is the goal, of course. The light at the end of a tunnel of indeterminate length. All we know at this point is that the Old Man isn’t quite ready to live at home without massive assistance... and yet, he has made slow, incremental progress toward that goal.
Stroke changes everything. In one fell swoop, it has converted a vigorous, active man into an invalid. And yet, diminished as he is, he is still Eli, Hizzownself. His personality and wit shine though in everything he says and does. And that will help him in his new - and, we hope temporary - home.