Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Time to Tango

She is almost 92 years old and still has determination written on her lined face. At first she appeared cranky and demanding but after our first few sessions, it was apparent that was just her protective front. She has led a fiercely independent life since coming to Canada from Eastern Europe after the Second World War.

“I didn’t speak a word of English when I arrived”, she tells me.

She attended night school after work learning to write a new alphabet and speak a new language. She remains conscientious, arriving for her therapy sessions thirty minutes early and working diligently at her exercises. She completes her leg exercises quickly and I tell her to slow down.

1-2-3-4, 1-2-3-4, 1-2-3-4, 1-2-3-4...

She learned to dance in secondary school in the old country and the tango was her specialty.

“If you have the right partner and the right parquet the dance is easy”, she tells me.

1-2-3-4, 1-2-3-4, 1-2-3-4, 1-2-3-4.

“Do you think my legs will be ever be the way they used to be?” she asks.

I wonder if she means before she broke her hip on the church steps, or before her stroke a couple of years ago. Surely she is not wanting to do the tango on her next birthday.

I tell her she is one of my favourite patients and she grabs my hand, her eyes filled with tears.

“Do you really mean that?” she asks.

I assure her that I am being honest and tell her I wish she could do the tango again.

“If you have the right partner and the right parquet the dance is easy”, she says again with a smile.

1-2-3-4, 1-2-3-4, 1-2-3-4, 1-2-3-4...


  1. I do hope she gets to do the Tango again,just to prove that she can.

  2. Seeing those pictures reminds me that I am hoping for the hospital to call sometime and book me for some physio appointments for my foot. It hasn't been right since it last went wrong.

  3. "Gotta' Dance!" So beautiful. I hope to have that kind of attitude at 94.

  4. Ruth, this post was so touching. I love this lady too and I don't even know her!

  5. I only can say wow, this lady is unbelievable, i admire her a lot.

  6. Lovely! A little snapshot of this woman's life. Thanks for sharing it.

    --Patricia Lichen


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