For the last month and a half, FateBeneFratelli in Cannaregio has been literally my home away from home. Tomorrow that routine comes to an end. The better part of each day I've been coming here for physical therapy. It's not the best way I could have thought of to spend the winter, that's for sure! However, despite how grueling my days have been, the people I met at FateBeneFratelli made every bit of it worthwhile.
Once inside the front door of FateBeneFratelli, my first stop each and every day was at Massimo's bar. Massimo always has a smile on his face, he knows everyone by name. Each morning, I'd be thinking to myself, "Ok, I have about 15 minutes before the agony begins", because I know how painful it was going to be. But Massimo's boisterous "Ciao, Signora!" and big smile jolted me out of my thoughts, and put a smile on my face too. He knows my morning routine- I have a pineapple juice and cornetto con marmelata, and he has it ready for me by the time I reach the counter. Somehow he changes my entire perspective and instead of dreading what's coming next, I leave his bar looking forward to the next few hours.
Next stop is La Piscina- the pool. The pool is where I met most of my little FateBeneFratelli "family". You see the same 8 people every day for several weeks, and before you know it, besides knowing what ailment they are suffering that brings them here, you also know where the live, what kind of work they do, and who their favorite soccer team is. When you see them outside on the street, you are getting hugs and kisses from them. It's these people who share each little accomplishment with you, and also share in your aches and pains. I'll miss them, but most of all I'll miss seeing GianCarlo every day. I met GianCarlo during my 3 week residence time here. We both had knee replacements the same week. After being discharged, we discovered we would both have our outpatient therapy sessions at the same time. This charming man made it his business each and every day to stop and talk with me, in both English and Italian. The Italian was for me to practice, the English was for him to brush up on his language skills too.
Right after La Piscina comes Palestra time- the gym. In the gym, I had 45 minutes of private time with a physical therapist every day. I've already mentioned my therapist, Blaga, in a few previous posts. This woman has worked small miracles on me, there is no doubt. I won't even begin to describe how tough my road to recovery has been. I'm not sure I would have ever made as much progress if it weren't for her persistence. She whooped for joy when I would struggle to get my knee to do something for days and finally be successful. I'll remember her yelling "Finalemente!!!!!!" for the rest of my life. On the very last week of my therapy, Blaga announced she would only be working with me on Monday. The rest of the week I'd have a different therapist, because Monday was her last day working there. The only thing I was thankful about was that I'd made it to the last week of therapy without losing her earlier.
Heartfelt thanks to each and every person involved with FateBeneFratelli- the doctors, nurses, aides, physical therapists- everyone. This place is truly miraculous. I am forever grateful for the care and friendship bestowed upon me.
Note- March 29- About a week ago, Blaga was on the same vaporetto I was on, as I was headed to St. Marks. She told me she was returning to work at FateBeneFratelli beginning April 1. I'm happy. This mean some other lucky people will be able to work with this angel during their rehabilitation.