“I don’t know if it was the motivation and just his attitude,” Pelkey added. “He was amazing. It really doesn’t follow the normal recovery processes.”
Over the next two weeks, Beyl went from struggling to make it 10 feet using parallel bars to walking the halls of the hospital on his own.
“By the time he left, he was walking over 700 feet,” Shaw said. “We recommend a walker, but the day he discharged here, I actually saw him walking the halls with the therapist carrying the walker in his arm. His strength returned to what we call probably good, a good level in lower extremities, and he was totally independent in his ability to ambulate, and he had good return in the right arm.”
Beyl’s first desire was to walk hand-in-hand with his wife, Agnes Beyl, Pelkey recalled.
“It brought tears to my eyes,” Pelkey said. “It was amazing.”
With Beyl back on his feet, the couple is working to remove the evidence of 10 years of wheelchairs and walkers. Agnes Beyl has painted over the black scars that were left along doorways by the motorized chair.
“Our house is not built for handicapped,” Agnes Beyl said.
Now, though, the roles in the Beyl home have changed. Once, Agnes Beyl was the caretaker, but with Agnes Beyl suffering from an untreatable form of breast cancer, Jesse Beyl can do more to share the load.
“I feel better about myself,” Jesse Beyl said. “And I feel better because I can do some chores for her. ... I’m lazy, but I’m not that lazy.”
Along with the return of Beyl’s ability to walk came the desire for independence. He once had his golf clubs up for sale. Though he still struggles with weakness in that right arm, he believes he’ll be back on the course playing with his daughter soon enough.
“I said, ‘Don’t give up on me yet,” Jesse Beyl said. “‘You might be able to play a round with me yet.’”
Matt Koesters is a reporter for the News and Tribune in Jeffersonville, Ind. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.