For five days, Marlyn Wright laid on the floor of her Fulton apartment, unable to move her legs or even crawl.
“My one goal was to get to my phone,” said Wright, 78, who had just suffered from a major fall, rendering her unable to even crawl five feet away toward that phone.
“I just couldn’t move,” she said.
Wright was discovered five days later by her daughter, Cindy, who was coming by to take her on their weekly shopping trip. Instead, she was taken by ambulance to a hospital. While Wright miraculously broke no bones, she was found with a severe loss of leg movement, pneumonia and suffering from about eight wounds.
“I was nothing,” said Wright. “Two people picked me up out of the chair, set me in bed, put my legs up … nothing was working.”
However, after only two months, Wright was discharged on May 10 from the Onondaga Center in Minoa, where she received rehabilitation care.
“Wright’s determination to get back home was incredibly strong,” said Jeff Jacomowitz, the public relations director of the Onondaga Center.
“She has made great bounds,” said Renee Mahanna, a staff worker at the center, who described how upon arrival Wright was not able to dress, bathe or even sit up or down by herself. By the day of her discharge, she wheeled out on her own, with her walker.
Described by Mahanna as “an absolute sweetheart” and “a very tough lady,” Wright raised all three of her children by herself, while working full-time, after the death of her husband in her 30s.
“She did a wonderful job while she was here,” said Mahanna, adding that Wright made “excellent” progress in therapy and “despite all the setbacks, she never once gave up.”
Wright said her recovery, however, “was a horrible road.”
She said she had to be re-taught how to do basic things most take for granted, like being able to walk, brush your teeth or bathe.
“It took all my strength [to do anything] … I couldn’t even stand up,” said Wright.
Now, Wright is able to walk across an Onondaga Center hallway with a walker.
“It’s more about stability than anything else,” she said, as she described how walking down the length of the hallway “felt like five miles.”
“Each day was a little bit further,” she said. “Now I only use this to sit in,” she said referring to her wheelchair. “Before, it was my lifeline.”
For Wright, occupational therapy at the center has helped her the most.
“They work on every part of your body,” said Wright. “You don’t think of things like folding your clothes as occupational therapy, but it is. Just to brush your teeth, a remedial thing that you do every day, twice a day … for some reason your brain just forgets how to do that.”
Wright said one of the things she looks forward to the most is having her own room again, and of course, the absence of a roommate.
“She’s terribly independent to a fault,” said Mahanna.
On the day of her discharge, Wright’s daughter Cindy brought her a Boston crème donut – her favorite – and Wright has plans to stay with her daughter at her East Syracuse house, as her children have since moved out.
For potential residents of the Onondaga Center, Wright said that this rehabilitation center “is absolutely the place to be.”
“Because as you see, after all my setbacks, in two months’ time I’m ready to go home,” she said. “I would highly recommend [the center].”
Now as a former resident of the center and a walking woman, Wright looks forward to returning to her community, going on trips with her daughter and visiting one of her favorite places — Rudy’s Lakeside Drive-In in Oswego.
In the future, Wright hopes to drive her car again.
“If I can overcome that then I can overcome anything,” said Wright. “It’s like what they say: If there’s a will, there’s a way.”
Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican and Eagle Bulletin newspapers.
May 26, 2018