89. Reading Test


During their last visit, Joshie came down the stairs one night with a book under his arm. “I’m going to give you a reading test,” he announced. We seated ourselves at the kitchen counter and he monitored my progress through one of the Scaredy Squirrel books. I practiced using my eyes and my voice as I read through the chronicle of how Scaredy Squirrel eventually decides to get a good night’s rest even though he’s initially afraid of the dark. After every page, Joshie would tell me if my reading had been up to par – I passed the test.

I’m used to tests now. Almost every visit to the doctor requires some strength and vision testing and my therapists do evaluations at regular intervals. When I was an inpatient and wasn’t used to the strength testing yet I used to think, oh yeah – this is the part when he’s going to push me around. Basically, you sit or stand and the therapist tries to push you over. It’s really an exercise in obstinacy for me, but I think I’ve progressed since I don’t think PT37 has tried to push me over. She’s too busy being ready to catch me at various intervals during the evaluation.

One day during an evaluation at The Place, PT6 was done pushing me around and then he said, Okay…I just want to see…close your eyes and try to keep your balance. I was standing a foot away from him and I had my arms crossed over my chest. As soon as I closed my eyes I fell (thankfully in his direction). When I actually hit him he propped me up again, I opened my eyes, and he said, “Okay, ‘no.’”

On evaluation days he’d also follow me around while I walked with my walker, looking at his clipboard and saying stuff like, “Take a longer step with that foot…That’s right…heel to toe.” Joshie was not so exacting when he gave me my Reading Test. I think he was just enjoying the story.

It’s actually a big deal for me to be reading to someone. As an inpatient I only had to do Recreational Therapy a handful of times, and I wasn’t an overly enthusiastic participant, FYI. To my longsuffering RT’s – thank you, and I’m sorry if I gave you a hard time. In my defense, I did RT early in my stay at RIO (the 3rd Hospital) so I didn’t think what was happening was real. Then the whole piano playing incident (when I found out that my playing didn’t sound like it used to) soured the whole idea of RT for me, and recreation was never my forte anyway.

Anyway, since the whole thing was a dream, I reasoned, I might as well ask for what I want. I didn’t want to play the piano anymore, I did not want to play the Wii or poke around on the iPad, so I asked if they had any Berenstain Bear books. When I asked K one time and she said, “No,” I asked her again during my next session to make sure. I just wanted someone to read to me, and the Bear Family was a familiar presence from my youth, and I remember one of the teachers at the Discovery School had been reading a BB book to her class when I was in Africa.

So I made doubly sure that there were no Berenstain Bear books to be found in that hospital. The only thing that read to me was my Kindle. But when Joshie brought me that Scaredy Squirrel book a couple weeks ago I was able to read to him. And yesterday my dream came true when my friend R, who came to visit in November, mailed me a Berenstain Bear book for me to enjoy.