Sam, the physical therapist, worked all week with Katie and Arf. They both worked hard learning how to use certain words and signals to communicate with each other. They learned the exercises Katie must do several times a day in order to strengthen her spine and legs. When Steve came to pick them up, Sam gave them an excellent report and then asked to speak privately with Steve.
“This is going to be a hard road for Katie,” Sam said. “She has spent so many years thinking of herself as being paralyzed, and it’s too soon to tell how successful the surgery was. We can’t yet ascertain the total amount of strength and feeling she’ll be able to gain.”
Sam was an excellent physical therapist. He also insisted his patients give 100%.
“I’m afraid Katie may be somewhat resistant to therapy,” Sam said.
“Resistant?” Steve couldn’t believe what he was hearing. He waited for Sam to continue.
“It appears that all these years Katie has accepted her paralysis without question. Has she ever asked you if something could be done? Also, please forgive me for the next question I need to ask, but the answer is important for her team of doctors and therapists to know.”
Steve walked over to the window and thought for a moment about Sam’s question.”You’re right, Sam. Katie has always fully accepted her life in a wheelchair. Now please, what is the other question?”
Sam sat down on the edge of his desk and looked at Steve for a moment before asking, “Does Katie know her mother left right after she was told her baby daughter had contracted polio and would never be able to walk?”
Steve turned from the window to face Sam. That question hit him like a ton of bricks.
Hurry, hurry, hurry. We’re almost back to the ranch. Steve, Katie, and me, Arf, will be home any minute. Just wait until everyone sees how many commands I know. Wait until they see how much we have to do every day. I hope Katie can go walking with me soon…without the chair with wheels.I always think about what Sam says, “Katie needs you, Arf.”
Here we are and there is Jamie’s Jeep… and there is Jamie. Here comes Brad on his horse and Miss Bessie and Grandma Helen are sitting in rocking chairs on the porch. Everybody is here. Wait until they see this!When Steve got Katie out of the truck and into her chair, I ran to Jamie and nosed her hand and then backed up to Katie. “He wants you to stand by me,” Katie said. By that time, I had done the same thing with Brad, and ran to the other side of Katie. Then, I stood in front of Katie and barked once. Katie twisted her spine slightly in Jamie’s direction. Then I barked twice and Katie twisted slightly in Brad’s direction. I began to direct Katie to move faster and at the same time move her arms. Finally, I switched it up so she really had to pay attention to know which way to go. I didn’t work her too hard because she was tired from the long drive, but I could tell it helped her, because she wasn’t so stiff.”Arf just made me do spine strengthening exercises,” Katie said. “It’s fun, but I don’t believe I will ever be strong enough to walk.”***I whined and put my paw on her hand. Doesn’t she know that we’re a team? I decided I needed a drink of water. This was going to be harder than I thought.