What I Learned from a Blooper

The theme for this month’s group writing project at Middle Zone Musings is What I Learned From Bloopers, Mistakes, and Embarrassing Moments.

While I’d like to say I’ve never experienced any of those, you’d know I was lying. 🙂 The hard part was deciding which one to write about.

When I was in physical therapy following a stroke, the therapists used what I understood to be a gate belt. It was a long canvas belt they strapped around my waist. At first, before I could sit or stand, the therapists used the device to transfer me in and out of the wheelchair. When I reached the point I could walk, they held on to the belt while I walked to keep me from falling. They could pull me back if I leaned forward or to the side because of my poor balance.

I was in the rehab center for a month as an inpatient and went back several times a week as an outpatient for many months after that. For most of that time, the therapists strapped on the belt when I started therapy, and it didn’t come off until the end of the session.

Gate belt seemed like a strange name for the device, and I wondered why it was called that. A locked gate to keep me in place, maybe?

Then I wrote a romance novel in which the heroine experienced a stroke and went through much of what I did. When my mother read the manuscript, she said, “I found a typo in the book.” She pointed to the page. “You spelled this word wrong.”

“What do you mean? Of course, I didn’t spell it wrong. G-a-t-e, gate.”

“No, Lillie,” she said. “It’s gait, g-a-i-t. You know—like walk.”

Oh …

From that experience, I learned that my vocabulary isn’t as good as I thought I was.   🙂  If I wonder about something—like why a medical safety device to help a patient walk is called a gate belt—ask.

And I learned that even if I called the device the wrong name, it still did its job. I never fell in therapy, and I learned to walk again.

The video below shows a young lady in therapy walking with a gait belt.

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