Posted by: dlip | October 7, 2011

Ministering Angel

 by Jacqueline Colaco

If ever there was one, this is she – Mini Jacob!  With her gentle persuasion and her winning smile, Mini is able to coax the most reluctant muscle or joint (read: stubborn patient!) into greater mobility.

Sensitive, but strict!  No lame excuses hold water with her.  The ‘I can’t’ syndrome does not work either.  Her ready repartee smashes all verbal attempts to escape.

Like when I say, “I am too old now – leave me alone” she retorts, “But life only begins after 40!”  She works on every stiff and aching joint of mine (rheumatoid arthritis).  Be it fingers or toes, her skilful manipulations make them dance.  A few tweaks (from her) and shrieks (from me) won’t harm, says she.  Be it knees or hips, the quads and hamstrings must perform.

“How else will you walk properly?” she asks me.

“But I’m disabled” I tell her, “I don’t need to walk like Miss World!”

“No,” she comes down heavily on me, “you are not disabled and yes, you can, so practice getting rid of that limp.”

And she shows me how I should walk.  And then she takes me walking up the stairs.

“Hips forward, back erect. Look up.”

And once I’m up, it’s time to walk down.  She stands on the landing below – patient as ever, while I dither in making a descent.

“No, don’t look at me.”

“But you’re so pretty,” I demur, trying to delay that first plunging step.

She pretends not to hear.

“Look forward, bend your knee and just step down,” – (sternly now) – “you can do it.”  As if it is the easiest thing in the world.  And then – a spark of ego inside me dictates that I should accept her challenge.  My eyes sparkle with defiance and I try to do my best.  She has me hooked.  It’s not so difficult after all, I find.  And she nods in approval.  I feel so great that at last she’s satisfied with my performance. The result of our hard work together, day in and day out. I know from the look on her face that it hurts her as much to hurt me, but she does it for my good.

When people tell me: “you are walking so well now,” I say a silent prayer of thanks to this ministering angel – my physiotherapist, my psychotherapist, my friend.

 (Jacqueline Colaco is the Founder/Adviser of Arthritis Foundation (India). A former Bank Executive and India Hockey Player, Jacqueline was struck with RA at age 37 and for the past 15 years has been reaching out to arthritis sufferers and people with disability.  Check  –


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