Melissa Shenk

March 2005


Stories of Success: Independence

            Can you imagine always being an independent person then one day not being able to do anything on your own? You no longer can feed yourself, bathe, or get dressed on your own. What would you do? How would you react? Would you give up or gain your independence back with great determination? Mrs. Marjorie Lawrence, an elderly woman and resident at The Newport Retirement Home in which I work, was incredibly independent, but she lost her independence, and then struggled to gain it back.

            Mrs. Lawrence has always been known for her independence. She is a ninety-two year old woman who has never had to depend on anyone for anything until she started getting too old to live at home alone. She was still able to do everything on her own but with the safety of the certified nursing assistants. Every day she would bathe, dress, feed, and make her own bed by herself. If one of the certified nursing assistants asked if Mrs. Lawrence needed help with anything she would always say, “No darling, I got it!” She enjoys being independent because it is a big part of her pride. It is what separates her from the other residents at The Newport. 

            A little over six months ago, one morning, Mrs. Lawrence woke up at 6:30 a.m., as she does every morning, to go to the restroom. On her way out, she slipped between the bathroom floor and the hallway door. When she fell, she landed on the left side of her hip. She was in so much pain that she could not move her body to get to the call bell for help. Luckily, one of the nursing assistants heard her fall and came to her rescue. The ambulance was immediately called. Within a few minutes, the ambulance arrived, put her on a stretcher, and rushed her to Riverside Hospital. Mrs. Lawrence suffered a broken hip along with bruises on her face. She also had to get a catheter in her bladder to control her urine. Ultimately, she was unable to walk or feed herself. She could not handle having people wait on her for everything. She felt useless but determined to get better. After several weeks in the hospital, Mrs. Lawrence returned back to The Newport. Unable to walk by herself, and with the catheter still inside of her bladder, she was not going to let herself continue to get worse. She was determined to do everything she could to gain her strength back.

            Mrs. Lawrence’s pain was not going to stop her. She took physical therapy three times a week for several months. The therapy built up her strength day by day. Each day, one of the certified nursing assistants would walk with her to and from lunch and dinner. She knew it would help her get better. Every week, she could see the improvements in her strength. After a month back at the retirement home, the catheter was taken out of her bladder. She was able to go to the restroom on her own again. That was a major relief for Mrs. Lawrence. When all of the positive things started happening to her, her determination grew stronger to get better. Once she got to the point where she could walk by herself with a walker, she knew she was not going to get any better. Even though she was not as strong as she was before her fall, she was happy with the outcome. Mrs. Marjorie Lawrence went through a lot to get where she is at ninety-two years old. She knew she was as good as she could possibly be. Her accomplishments made her incredibly proud of herself. Every morning, she still gets up at 6:30 a.m. and goes to the restroom, but she is more cautious with each step she takes.

Mrs. Marjorie Lawrence’s independence was and still is a major part of her life. Even though she was badly injured, she did not give on gaining her independence back. After several months, she was back to doing everything on her own and living a happy life as a ninety-two year old woman. Her success story teaches people, old or young, to not lose. Determination can lead you to success regardless of what you have to overcome. If you truly want something to happen, if you put your mind and heart to it, you can achieve anything.