Myrt's Triumph

Amazing If You Try

JULY 2011

Sharing in Life

“My family gets together every July 4th for a reunion,” explained 87-year-old Myrtle “Myrt” Moerdyke. “The past three years, I wasn’t able to get into my son’s swimming pool because I couldn’t get out. This year, I was determined to stand up and walk, and get into the pool and climb back out using the ladder.”

The wheelchair-bound resident of The Lodge at Samaritas asked the rehabilitation staff for help.

Occupational Therapist Cathy Pinson focused on upper body strength. “For two months, we worked on strengthening her arm and shoulder muscles for supporting her weight on a walker and getting in and out of the pool.” Physical Therapy Assistant Heather Niemeyer focused on her legs. “We had her using a stair unit, pedaling the bicycle, and stepping over objects to simulate climbing out of a pool,” she said. What is amazing is Myrt’s other health obstacles, such as severe arthritis in her hands and pain in her wrist since falling on it. She has had three new knees, both hips replaced, a new shoulder, lumbar laminectomy back surgery, an ankle fusion, and recent surgery on the muscles of one of her hips.

“My kids called me the Bionic Woman,” Myrt laughed.

The big day finally came. “The water in the pool was cold,” Myrt said. “No one was swimming, but my grandson Tyler was right there. And I did it! I got in by myself, swam a bit, and got out again.”

Joan Blodgett, Myrt’s daughter, said, “As a girl, my mother would swim the two miles across a lake. But at 87, this was a big accomplishment. I don’t think her orthopedic surgeon thought she would ever walk again after her last surgery, let alone climb down a ladder into a pool. I have to give Samaritas kudos. They have really helped her with her therapy and motivated her. We’re very thankful.”

Myrt hopes her recent triumph can motivate others to give it all they’ve got. She wrote: Whenever I sit in my easy chair, I wonder what I’m doing there I have things to do, a story to write about what you can accomplish when your motives are right If you give it your best, with your heart and your soul, the chances are good you will accomplish your goal Myrt is not done inspiring us. “I signed up for 90 more days of therapy,” she said with a smile.

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