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Rated: 18+ · Fiction · Romance/Love · #1104609
Crystal's adventure in walking continues
Chapter 33 - New Challenges

         That next morning, when the alarm went off, Erick awoke to find Crystal smiling at him. “’Morning, sweetheart,” she cooed. “I’ve been watching you sleep for a change. And thanking God all over again for your love, and patience, and everything else about having you with me and the difference you make in my life.” She puckered her lips, letting him know she wanted that first kiss of the day.

         Erick leaned over and kissed her. “Thanks for telling me, honey. It’s a great feeling to know we both appreciate the other that much.”

         ”Yeup, it is.”

         ”How long you been awake?”

         "About 45 minutes I think. I can’t believe I slept that long!” she laughed. “But then again, I suppose I just proved what Dr. Bernhardt said about all this being harder on my body than I thought.”

         They both laughed. “I know, Crystal. I told Melinda exactly that as I drove her home last night. I also told her that I thought your adrenalin rush from really doing some normal walking had finally run out. Kinda like leaving you stranded.” He couldn’t help but laugh as she broke out doing the same thing.

         ”Honey, I think you really had that one right on target. I couldn’t have explained it any better,” she said, still smiling. “I love your wording. I’ll have to remember that one. Because last night may not be the last time that happens - at least for close to that year of practicing. You know?”

         ”Now YOU have a point, Crystal. But don't forget - Dr. Bernhardt said your body will build up its ability to handle the limbs as you practice.”

         ”That’s right!” I hadn’t remembered that. Thanks for the reminder, Erick!” she said, her mind quickly looking forward to that point in time.

         ”You’re welcome, Angel. Now. Do you feel up to walking today?” We need that decision so we can get things moving - whatever you decide baby.”

         ”Yes, I feel up to it, honey. And don’t worry. This time I’ll tell you I’m feeling tired before I come that close to collapsing,” she chuckled.

         ”Please do, dear. That will make a lot of things easier,” he said, laughing with her. “OK, Gorgeous. Let’s get this show on the road,” he laughed, a twinkle in his eye.

         ”Heard that somewhere before, have you?” she teased as she remembered where he had, and wondered if he did.”

         ”As I recall, my lovely wife said those very words to me, and to Dr. Bernhardt as we were getting ready to wheel her into surgery not so long ago,” he responded. He leaned over, kissed her warmly, then climbed out of bed to get their day started.

         I was wondering a little if you’d remember,” she admitted. “But I should have known you would, Erick. Because that day really was as important to you as it was to me.”

         ”You’ve got that right, honey,” he said as he began tenderly but quickly undressing her. “I know you said you were going to sleep naked next to me for the rest of your life, honey, but I didn’t have the heart to risk getting you undressed last night. You needed the sleep so badly I wanted to make sure you got all of it that you needed. So I just gently covered you after I laid you down.”

         ”Thank you, darling,” she said, sniffing a little. “I love you for that thought,” she said warmly. He removed her panties, put the caps and sleeves on her arm and leg, picked her up and headed for the shower.

         Later that day, as they were walking toward the Union for lunch, they saw Harold coming toward them from the opposite direction. They all met at the intersection of the walkways and turned toward the Student Union.

         In the midst of their conversation, Crystal spotted a gap of a few inches in the sidewalk about 150 feet ahead of them. At the moment she spotted the gap, her right knee began to bend. “ERICK!” she called, in a mild panic.

         ”Right here, baby!” he said lovingly as he grabbed her shoulders and leaned her back on her left leg. “Relax, darling. I’ve got you. Now stand on your left leg - I’ll balance you - and slowly straighten out your right one, then we’ll start again.”

         ”Sorry if I startled you guys,” she said.

         ”That’s OK, Melinda said.

         ”I’ll second that,” Harold said, smiling. “It’s just good to see you walking.”

         ”You bet it is,” Andrea added. “You noticed we were too surprised to say anything huh?” she chuckled. They all laughed.

         ”Well, yes, I did,” Crystal admitted. Turning to Erick, she shyly admitted, “I was thinking about which leg to start with at that gap in the sidewalk ahead of us. I sure found out what Dr. Bernhardt meant about just thinking about it causing the motor to start,” she said, a little embarrassed.

         ”I thought you might be, darling,” he said. “Are you ready to start again?”

         ”Yes, Erick. But keep a firm hand on me till we’re past the gap please?”

         He could tell she was nervous about it happening again. That was normal. Giving her a reassuring squeeze at the shoulders he said, ”Honey, you know you have to be able to balance on your own, so I can't hold on to you. That would be cheating you out of a vital moment of learning. But what I WILL do is keep my hands and arms closer to you so I can grab you that much sooner if anything does happen. OK?”

         “OK. You’re right, honey. I still have to balance on my own, and you holding me could actually make that harder to do. OK, I’m ready. Let’s go,” she said firmly. As she stepped off with her left foot, Erick slowly and carefully released his hold on her shoulders, keeping his hands only about an inch or so from her body.

         As they walked, the closer they got to that gap, the more Crystal kept silently telling her right knee “Don’t bend! Don’t bend!” Stopping at the edge of the gap, they all noticed that one entire square concrete section of the sidewalk was missing. “Erick, that’s too wide for me to step over,” she said.

         Erick noticed the mild concern in her voice. He liked the fact that it had so quickly become a MILD concern, and not the fear that it had been when she first got the chance to walk. “I’m glad she’s adjusting so rapidly,” he said to himself. Aloud, he continued, “That’s OK, honey. It’s not that deep a drop. Only a couple inches. Think if it as two one-step staircases. One down, into the hole, and one back up with your next step.”

         ”Perfect!” she squealed. “Thanks, baby. Here goes.” All of them watched closely as she slowly stepped down into the hole with her right foot. She paused a moment, making sure that her foot was flat on the ground, then pushed off with her left foot, safely bringing it down on the next block of the sidewalk. Pausing there a moment to remind herself that her left foot was now on higher ground than her right, since her right leg couldn’t tell her that, she finally pushed off with that right leg, and brought it safely down about one step in front of her left one, as if she’d taken a normal step to get there.

         ”Right on, girl!” Melinda shouted. They all laughed warmly as Erick tenderly gripped her shoulders a moment.

         ”Nice work, sweetheart,” he said. “You ready to start again, or do you want to rest a second? It’s lunchtime, honey. We’ve got the time.”

         ”I’ll rest sitting down, honey. That will help more I think. How about we linger at the table a little longer today?”

         ”Sounds good to me,” Harold added, giving Melinda a quick kiss. “I’d rather be with Melinda than in class anytime!”

         ”I couldn’t agree more, Harold,” Erick said as he kissed Crystal. “Go whenever you’re ready, honey,” he said softly. She silently counted to three and began again.

         Fifteen minutes later they’d all gotten their trays and were seated at their usual table for that deliberately lengthly lunch. “Remember the first time we sat at this table, Melinda?” Crystal asked.

         Melinda saw the twinkle in Crystal’s eye. “No, I don’t, Crystal, and you have me wondering. When was that?”

         ”About six weeks ago or so. The day Erick had to take me to the restroom during lunch and you were busting to tell us, when we got back, that Harold had just asked you out.”

         ”Oh, yeah,” Melinda blushed. “I remember doing that, but I didn’t remember it was our first time at this table, she said. “Has it really been that long?”

         ”Five weeks and two days, sweetie,” Harold chimed in. “But who’s counting?”

         ”Obviously YOU are, dear,” Melinda shot back as all four of them broke out in laughter.

         ”Yes, I am, and I’m not about to stop, OR lose count,” he said teasingly. “Erick, what say we get an early start on our lunchtime kisses with the girls?” Having said that, Harold leaned over and Melinda leaned toward him, her lips puckered and ready.

         ”That sounds like a great idea to me, Harold!” Erick said as he reached for Crystal. Erick noticed her lips were already parted, telling him exactly what kind of kiss she was expecting.

         ”Now that’s a good way to use our extra lunch time if you ask me,” Melinda chirped. As the others responded in agreement, she asked, “Instant replay, anyone?” as she looked teasingly at Harold.

         A few minutes later, at a very rare lull in the conversation, Melinda broke the silence, a rather solemn look on her face. “Guys, I need some help,” she said tentatively.

         ”What is it, Melinda?” Crystal asked softly.

         ”Whatever it is, we’re all here for you, sweetie,” Harold said firmly but quietly.

         ”You can bet on that,” Erick added.

         ”Count me in,” Andrea said.

         ”Me, too,” Crystal said quietly. “Now. Take your time, and tell us what’s wrong.”

         ”Um… I hate to impose, with everything that the three of you have already done and are doing for me, but I don’t know where else to turn.”

         Crystal reached out with her right hand, taking Melinda’s in hers across the table. “We’re a family as far as I’m concerned, Melinda. What’s tearing you up?”

         ”Uh… okay, here goes, Melinda said as she took a deep breath. “My mom has to go into the hospital next Wednesday. She um… is getting a pacemaker. And… I need someone to help me 24/7 while she’s there, and maybe for a little while after she gets home.”

         ”How about me, girl?” Andrea said without the slightest hesitation. “I took care of my husband for five years like this, and I’ve been doing a lot of the same things on a number of days with you recently. My van is already equipped for your chair, and we get along like sisters. What do you say?”

         ”Are you sure? Like I said, I don’t want…”

         ”And you’re NOT imposing,” Andrea cut in with a smile. “I think you know me well enough by now to know that if I felt that way I wouldn’t have offered, don’t you?”

         ”Thank you SO much, Andrea,” Melinda said a bit emotionally as she saw the warm smile on Andrea’s face.

         Harold leaned over and kissed Melinda’s cheek. “And anything I can do, dear, just ask.”

         ”Thanks, Harold. I really appreciate that.”

         ”Now, Melinda, what time on Wednesday does your mom go into the hospital?” Crystal asked softly.

         ”3:00 in the afternoon. The surgery is Thursday morning at 7:00.”

         ”Okay, then, tell her I’ll pick you up as usual that morning,” said Andrea,” and if you two can have your clothes and stuff ready, I can just take you home with me from school. Then we’ll stop in near dinner time and visit with your mom for a while.”

         ”That works for me, Andrea, and thanks again!” Melinda all but shouted. It was obvious to all of them that having this settled was a big relief for her.

         That calls for another kiss,” said Harold as he approached her. Trying to keep from smiling with joy so she didn’t spoil the kiss, Melinda leaned over.

         ”I’ll second that,” said Erick, reaching for Crystal again.

         ”This lunchtime thing could get to be habit with you guys,” Andrea laughed.

         ”What do you mean ‘get to be’?” Melinda laughed. “I’d say it already is!”

         ”I’ll second that, too,” Erick said.

         ”Oh, you,” Crystal laughed, poking him with her right elbow. It felt good to be able to do that and have even more fun after all those months without it. She leaned over, lips puckered. After the kiss she teased, “Yeup, I knew that’s what you were going for, honey,” she laughed.

         ”You actually poked me with that new elbow, didn’t you?” Erick laughed. “When did you figure out how to do that?”

         ”I’ve been secretly working on it when you and I were in different rooms at home,” she laughed back. “When I wasn’t walking and didn’t have to have you with me. I’ve missed doing that with you in fun ever since we’ve been together, and I was determined to surprise you with it ASAP.”

         ”Well, baby, you sure as hell did that,” he laughed again.

         ”Now THAT is an interesting source for motivation to practice, isn’t it?” Melinda laughed.

         ”You’ve got THAT right,” Erick said, still grinning. “You do know that we’re really going to have to share that motivational reason with Dr. Bernhardt and Candice, don’t you, honey?”

         ”Wow! I hadn’t thought of that, but you’re right, Erick. The look on their faces will be priceless!” she laughed again as the others joined it.

         When things settled down, Crystal asked calmly, “Melinda, how long is your mom supposed to be in the hospital?”

         ”She said about four days or so, if everything goes right. The nervousness in her voice was obvious to all of them.

         ”I know it’s not easy, honey,” Harold began. “But you just remember - pacemakers are pretty common these days; the operation to put them in has even become rather routine. Besides, Melinda, no matter what, if anything, happens, the three of us are going to be right by your side through it all. Right, guys?”

         ”This time using a calm but determined tone, Erick said warmly, “I’ll second THAT too!” as he looked Melinda in the eye.

         ”You just had to say that, didn’t you Erick?” Melinda chuckled. “Thanks for doing it that way, though. I needed it.”

         ”You’re more than welcome, Melinda.”

         Crystal looked at her watch. “Guys, it’s almost class time. We better get moving!” she urged with a grin.

         ”Not without one more kiss,” Harold said firmly but smiling.

         ”I saw that one coming,” Melinda teased back as she leaned toward Harold.

         ”I know, I know,” Crystal laughed. Turning to Erick she said, “You’ll second that one too, right?” She leaned toward him, lips parted.

         ”Of course,” he smiled. “I’m not about to veto any chance to kiss my wife.”

         Once the deed was done and they prepared to leave the table, Harold smiled and said, “What’s with this ‘Veto’ thing, Erick? You’re not going political on us, are you?”

         ”Hell, no,” Erick said as they all laughed. “My wife has to be able to trust me. And I could never blame her for not wanting to trust a politician!”

         ”I’LL second that one,” Crystal chimed in as they headed for the door. Others who were entering the Union as they left found themselves wondering what the laughter was all about. Erick, Crystal, Andrea, Harold and Melinda couldn’t help but smile at the perplexed look on the faces of those who had just heard them.

         The following afternoon at 2:00 P.M. was Crystal’s next appointment with Candice. As always the three of them were already grinning, even before they began the session. “I think these sessions are therapy for all of us,” Candice admitted.

         ”I know it is for me,” Crystal said. “But… how is it for Erick, and for you?”

         ”Yes, the physical therapy for you, Crystal, but from where I’m standing, I think these sessions, and your practicing, are wonderful ways to deepen the relationship between you two and make it even stronger, and more meaningful for you both. Am I right?”

         Crystal and Erick looked at each other, a warm look of love on both their faces. “I certainly believe that you are, Candice,” Erick said warmly.

         ”And with the way I’ve felt these past few weeks, seeing Erick’s devotion to me grow deeper with each day, I can’t do anything but agree with that, Candice. Thank you.”

         ”You’re both quite welcome. Here again, your relationship is obvious to anyone who meets you, and that’s a very good thing.”

         Thank you again, Candice,” Erick said. “But… let’s finish the subject,” he smiled. “How is this all therapy for you?”

         ”Because it gives me a well-earned break from the problems, both physical and emotional, that most of my patients have. I don’t have to be part psychologist with you two. Let alone a marriage counselor. I usually see problems in both those areas with the stress something like this puts on most people. And, it’s also therapy because I continue to be able to learn from you two about what love really means and how many wonderfully different ways it can be expressed between a husband and wife. For both of those reasons it’s therapy to me, and I thank you for that.”

         ”You’re very welcome, Candice,” Crystal said. “We’re always glad to see how our love, and just being ourselves, can help so many others.”

         Smiling warmly, Candice said, “Shall we get started?”

         ”Before we do, Candice, Erick and I would like to share a special moment with you.”

         ”Mind if I listen in?” Dr. Bernhardt asked as he entered.

         Momentarily startled at hearing his voice, Crystal said, “Not at all, Dr. Bernhardt. Actually, I planned on telling you later if you weren’t here.”

         ”So what’s the surprise?” he asked, smiling. “I’m all ears.”

         ”Watch and listen closely,” Crystal said. Poking Erick with the elbow again, she said, “Go ahead, honey. Tell them.”

         ”I think you just did, Crystal,” Dr. Bernhardt laughed.

         ”I agree,” said Candice. “How long have you been poking him with that elbow, and how did this come about?” she chuckled.

         ”That’s your turn, honey,” Erick laughed again.

         ”Oh, you!” Crystal laughed back, poking him again.

         ”Okay,” Crystal began. “I’ve been pretty frustrated since Erick and I have been together at not being able to poke him with this elbow, in fun, of course, when he’d make a comment that deserved it. I’ve always been right-handed, so using this elbow for that was a natural thought for me, and much easier than the left one, especially for doing it on the spur of the moment. Like this,” she said, poking Erick again and smiling. “So for about the last two weeks or so, whenever we were in different rooms at home and he couldn’t see me, I’ve been working on this. The frustration at not being able to do it on the fly gave me the motivation to work at it. And this morning it paid off,” she grinned.

         ”Gee, thanks, sweetheart,” Erick laughed.

         ”You’re welcome, honey,” she laughed back. “The only thing I had to get used to was the fact that the amount of force I use when I poke him is the one part of this equation that had nothing to do with the arm being mechanical. That force comes from my upper arm and shoulder, which are my natural right side. I tend to look at this as a two-part task - bend the elbow, that’s electrical, then use my upper arm and shoulder to do the actual poking. Once I separated the two ideas, it was all a matter of practice,” she finished, a wide but naughty smile on her face.

         ”I love that!” Candice said, smiling broadly.

         ”You just proved what you said about not losing your motivation, Crystal, and in a very creative way, I might add,” said Dr. Bernhardt. “Your finding reasons to motivate yourself will really speed up your recovery, too. I congratulate you on standing up to the challenge.”

         ”As do I,” said Candice. “And all this gives me an idea. If we can arrange it to fit your class schedule, would you two be willing to talk to some of my future patients about this, and your motivation in general? I think it would be a big lift to many of them, especially those who start to lose the determination.”

         ”We’d love to,” Crystal said.

         ”I’d like to see their faces when she pokes me,” said Erick.

         "The campus isn't that far away, Candice. That should work fine," Crystal added.

         ”Great! Thanks to both of you. I’ll let you know when those situations come up. And trust me - it’s not ‘if’, but ‘when’ Now, Crystal, are you ready to start learning how to change directions while walking? “

         ”You bet!”

         ”Excellent. But first, I want to see how well you can navigate over this short series of obstacles,” Candice said, pointing to a row of step and broken pavement-type objects in the center of the room.

         Crystal’s right knee immediately started to bend. “Erick!” she shouted.

         ”Right here, baby!” He grabbed her shoulders and steadied her till she got balanced again.

         ”Sorry about that,” Crystal blushed. “Dr. Bernhardt, this is the second time I have proven the accuracy of your statement when you said that even thinking about it could start a motor running. And both times it was the knee.”

         ”No need to apologize, Crystal. It happens to all our patients with these limbs till they get more used to the instincts involved. Just keep trying. This will pass in time. You have my word on that.”

         ”Thanks, doctor. Okay, Candice. You two watch while I show you what I’ve been doing with a good deal of my practice time,” she said, smiling. “Ready, honey?”

         ”Whenever you are, sweetheart.”

         ”Let’s do it.”

         Crystal began slowly walking up to the first obstacle: a 3-step staircase. 3 up, 3 down. Pausing for just a moment, she then stepped off with her right foot, watching carefully as she brought it down on the first of those steps, making sure her foot was flat on the step. Without stopping, she immediately pushed off with her left foot, bringing it down on the second step, balancing there for only a second before pushing off with her right foot again, and bringing it down on the top of the three steps, then brought her left foot up to that step to join it. “Excellent, Crystal!” Candace shouted. “Now keep it going!”

         Crystal wasn’t about to stop, or make a mistake now.

         Remembering to start the “down” side of that 3-step staircase with her left foot, Crystal easily took care of what was left of that obstacle, then moved on to the “missing” block of sidewalk obstacle she saw in front of her. Still silently reminding her right knee “don’t bend!” as she approached that next obstruction, she remembered what Erick had said when she encountered that same issue on campus: ‘think of it as two one-step staircases. One down, one up’.

         “Nice work, Crystal!” Candice shouted as Crystal checked that one off the list with no problem.

         Finally, Crystal approached an obstacle of buckled “concrete”. There was a piece of that “concrete” sticking up in the air a few short inches because it had been “broken” in the middle because something had pushed up on it from underneath. Crystal quickly realized that she’d seen this before, too, and that by raising her leg higher than a normal step she’d been able to actually step over it. Taking a deep breath, Crystal led off with her left foot, so she would know when she’d successfully stepped down on the other side, and would be standing on her left foot, so she’d have the chance to balance on it long enough to bring her right leg over the same object.

         Bringing her left foot down flat on the other side of the obstacle, she paused a moment to be certain her foot was flat, and to feel safe with her balance, then easily stepped off with her right leg, raising it up a little more than enough to successfully bring it down a step in front of her left one.

         “Excellent, Crystal!” shouted Dr. Bernhardt, as Erick reached out and embraced her, giving her a congratulatory kiss.

         “Nice going, darling!” he said loudly, not hesitating to let her see his pride in her accomplishment for herself.

         “Thanks, darling!” she squealed.

         After giving Crystal about ten minutes to rest, Candice asked, “Do you feel up to learning something new today, Crystal?” But Candice already knew the answer she would get.

         “You bet, Candice!”

         “Alright, then. Erick, your familiar role comes back into play here. I’m going to tell Crystal how to begin changing the direction she is walking. Your job, as usual at this point, is to be ready to catch her if she stumbles, but not support or guide her in any way. Keep your hands your usual inch or so from her shoulders. Are you both ready?”

         “I am,” said Erick.

         “Me too,” said Crystal.

         “OK, Crystal. Listen very carefully. We’ll start with turning to your right, since that will be the more difficult of the two turns for you. Since you can’t turn your right ankle, you’ll have to start any turns to your right by gradually turning your natural right hip, just a few degrees with each step. Think of your right leg as a hand on a clock. For this example, consider that we are using a clock that is currently set at 12:00. Your right leg is the minute hand. Facing straight ahead, your right foot is obviously pointed at the 12 on the clock face. Let’s try the motion you’ll need before we take an actual step. Erick, steady her with your hands on her shoulders. This first couple maneuvers are about the motion she’ll use, and I want her concentrating on that motion, not on maintaining her balance.”

         “Got it, Candice,” Erick said as he put his hands gently on Crystal’s shoulders.

         “Now, Crystal. I want you to turn your right hip outward, so your foot will be pointing to about 12:03 to 12:05 on that clock face. Whenever you’re ready.”

         “Good job,” Candice said as Crystal handled that with no problem. “Now point your leg straight ahead again.”

         Once that was done, Candice said, “OK, now you’re going to do the same thing, but taking a single step at the same time. Once you’ve taken that step, go ahead and take a step with your left leg so you can maintain your balance. Whenever you’re ready, Crystal.”

         Crystal thought a moment, then took a step with her right leg, turning her hip at the same time. Once she knew she had that foot flat on the floor, she took a step with her left foot for balance, like Candice had suggested. “Nice going, honey,” Erick said with a smile. You’re still standing on your own, too. No balance issues. And, you’ve taken that first step to change your direction. Your body’s not facing straight ahead anymore.”

         “Thanks, sweetheart!”

         “Good job, Crystal,” Candice added. Now. Take a short series of those same steps, right foot, then left foot, turning your right hip about the same distance you did in that first step. If you take that series of steps doing exactly the same thing each time, you’ll find yourself turning completely to your right. And once you’ve made that right turn all the way, if you want, you can keep going with those steps, for practice, until you’ve turned a full circle if you want. Whether you just do the right turn, or the whole circle, is your choice. Erick, keep your hands off her shoulders for this. She’ll need to get comfortable with her balance this time, too. Whenever you’re ready, Crystal.”

         As they watched, Crystal began taking that series of steps. Since she wasn’t really turning her hip that far each time, she quickly discovered that maintaining her balance was not a problem. She went for the full circle, and finished it with no problem.

         “Great!” said Candice. “Now, for your right turns, it’s just a matter of practice. You’ll need to keep one thing in mind as you practice, and you can help her with this, Erick. Always remember that the farther you turn your leg to the right for a step, the more effort it may take to maintain your balance until you’ve taken that corresponding step with your left foot. You did a good job of keeping your balance on that circle, so you’ve already proven to yourself that you can do this. Just remember that you’ll need to be careful of your balance when you practice with right turns that are sharper than the one you’ve used so far. I want you to practice taking right turns of varying degrees, so you become fluent at it and are able to safely navigate various turns, especially in unexpected situations. And Erick, you already know this, but, as always, whenever Crystal is practicing these turns, whether to the right or the left, I want you right there with her, for at least the next year, like we’ve already talked about. Now, Crystal, do you want to try left turns, too, so you can practice both of them?”

         “Yes, Candice, I do.”

         “Alright, then. Erick, help her get back into position where she’s facing straight ahead.” Once that was done, Candice continued. “OK, Crystal. For the left turns, you can take the steps with your left leg like you always do, but do it slowly at first, because you’ll have to get used to taking that second step with your right leg this time, to actually move ahead, and still maintain your balance. And make sure you start out with slow turns like you did with your right leg, until you get used to making that second step correctly, and coming down with that foot a step ahead of your left one, and flat on the sidewalk. Until you get the hang of that, don’t try any sharp left turns. You’ll just be giving yourself balance issues you shouldn’t have to worry about. OK, Crystal. Do you feel you’ve got the idea down on doing the left turns?”

         “Yes, Candice, I do.”

         “OK, then, go when you’re ready. And Erick, be ready to catch her if she has balance issues, but don’t give her any other support or help.”

         Crystal started off slowly, but remembered to turn her left foot only a few ticks on that clock face with each step till she brought her right leg into place with the following step. A few minutes later, she’d successfully turned a full circle to her left.

         “Perfect, sweetheart! God I’m proud of you today!” Erick said loudly.

         “I am too,” Candice added. “We’ll stop there for today so there’s no chance of you starting to feel tired. Now. The things we’ve covered to this point should take care of around 97% of your normal activities. So, I want you to continue practicing everything you’ve learned to this point, all the way back to getting in and out of chairs. And if you get a set of arms that you can attach to your toilet, you’ll be able to handle going to the bathroom yourself after a bit of practice. And, if you think it would help, you can get an elevated toilet seat, too. Now if you find you run into anything that you start to do that you realize isn’t covered by anything we talked about, you call me, and we’ll set up a class to cover it for you. And whether you call me or not, I want us to meet in four weeks to discuss how things are going for you at that point, and cover anything you have questions about or want instruction on again. Would that work for you, Crystal?”

         “Definitely, Candice. And I promise I’ll call if I have questions or need help with something. Otherwise, I’ll see you in four weeks,” Crystal said with a big smile.

         “OK, Crystal,” Candice said as she headed for the door to the hallway.

         “I’m going to walk out of here today, Candice,” Crystal said calmly. “Erick, please be ready to help me with any turns that are sharper than what I’ve done so far.’

         “Will do, honey.”

         “You two are still making us look very good this time, Crystal, Erick,” Dr. Bernhardt added as he followed Erick and Crystal from the room. “And you’re certainly having no problem with your motivation, your enthusiasm, or your level-headed approach to this, Crystal. That’s why you are able to make what you’re doing look so easy,” he said with a smile and a laugh. “See you in four weeks.”

 Chapter 34 - The Pacemaker  (E)
Melinda's mom gets her pacemaker, and plenty of help as she recovers.
#2287757 by Incurable Romantic

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