Gertie Cranker is a retired association manager who for 30 years directed and ran a professional trade group located in the north central part of the US. Her first project upon retirement was to undergo total hip replacement surgery, a necessity long overdue. ”It was those damned uneven castle steps in Ireland in ‘06″, she says of her hip pain.
Unfortunately, patience is not one of Gertie’s virtues and during her recovery from the first surgery she managed to fall and break the bone in the same hip. Needless to say, Gertie was discouraged and disappointed at having to begin four weeks of recovery all over again, and she vowed not to make the same mistakes the seond time (well, she impatient, but not dumb…). This blog finds her a week after the second surgery ensconced in a nursing home not far from her own house. She is, at 66, the ’spring chicken’ in the current extended care society and very much a newcomer not only to her current environment and but also to being the ‘helpee’ rather than the ‘helper’ she has been for the last 30 years.
Gertie’s name, by the way, is a reference to the musical instrument she plays, the hurdy gurdy. This instrument, probably of 11th century origin, is played by cranking a wheel which rubs against the strings, much like a bow is drawn across violin strings. Gertie has been playing this instrument for several years, as well as being an Irish whistle player in several traditional folk music groups.