In Memory Of Jerry Frampton:
Tonight, as I write this, I think of walking recklessly, uncoordinated into that first day of Physical Therapy when I was nine years old to meet a tall thin man, with a kind, gentle face, smiling and looking at me very concerned. It was Jerry he was a spiffy dresser covered sometimes by a lab coat, but his crew cut was perfect every day and I later found myself always wanting to rub his head, kind of like a good luck charm. In fact, he was probably as well known for his crew cut as his ability to heal broken spirits. Jerry was definitely the healer of many broken people with various broken parts leading them to his theatre where he was the maestro of getting people’s limbs and body parts to work in concert with their brains, nerves, muscles, tendons and ligaments. The room always smelled of antiseptic like all old hospitals did in the 70’s, was staged with Jerry’s instruments and we all had to share them from parallel bars, mat tables, weight tables and whirlpools he conducted his business of getting our bodies back to best we could be from that point on.
His subjects were people who hurt with every movement or their mentality was deflated from fear after a surgery and Jerry was gentle and strong in his work. He never let you just get away with a little bit, you had to work for him because he was giving you his all. For me, my limbs just flailed all over, there was no rhyme or reason to their movement and my brain and limbs just didn’t communicate well and Jerry had to figure out where to begin or if to begin.
I was told many years later that Jerry told my family that he doubted he could help me much but he sure did give me a try in fact we saw each other 3 times a week for probably a year or more. The difference between me and many of Jerry’s patients was, I never knew I should be afraid that I may never walk again and Jerry never let me think he ever had any doubts. I really was a mess and he and I became very close.
I’ll never forget my Mom telling him that when I had a seizure that I just dropped and I think he thought maybe my family were being over protective and he found out very quickly how fast I went down. That’s when Jerry got me a helmet, he realized how dangerous this could be if I hit my head again. It was an ugly black leather thing, with wool padding reminding me of an old football helmet from the 30’s and 40’s. He put a sticker on it with a bumble bee and a banner proclaiming “Super Bee”, he wanted it to appeal to me so I’d wear it. I later had it covered with Baltimore Colts and Philadelphia Flyers stickers.
One of his favorite stories, that he always told me was; as we were practicing walking, me not him and he had a gait belt around my waist we would walk all the halls of the hospital and make our rounds. He said one day I seized and he had me by the gait belt and I was dangling in the air. I visualize that and think of me being a like spastic, brief case, that he was toting around and then putting me gently to the floor until I recovered and then in a wheel chair for the ride downstairs.
As I recovered, slowly, and started to move better and walk better, part of my physical therapy became helping others with their physical therapy, but I didn’t know it. Jerry would let me change the weights on a man getting his knee back in shape, he would have me walk beside a young man who was disheartened at the prospect of having to use the parallel bars and in general he’d be helping me as much as them. Jerry never let us give up on ourselves and he never gave up on us. Jerry was one of the best things that could happen to you after an injury, heart attack, knee surgery, broken limb or a traumatic brain injury.
Today I reminisce because even though these should have been very difficult times, times that I should have dreaded and would want to forget like a bad dream; they aren’t because Jerry made it effortless and fun. Oddly enough it was a highlight of my many years of recovering. I’ll never forget that I can point at an object because of him, walk, grasp things, and be independent because of him.
Thank You for giving me a firm and steady stride. You will never be forgotten and will always be missed by many.
Rest in Peace and Peace be with your family and friends.
P.S. My Aunt Wrote this after my post something I didn’t recall. This is Jerry Frampton Classic:
“Amy this is a very touching tribute to Jerry Frampton.
That very first day your Mom and I wheeled you into the PT room at Beebe Hospital, and in Jerry’s evaluation of you, he started out by laying you on your back on the padded table, he laid beside you and said, “Okay Amy let’s see what we can do.” He had you start by counting as many ceiling tiles as you could while pointing to them. Then using your right arm stretching toward the ceiling asked you to follow the lines of a tile to make a square. He repeated this with your left arm/ hand, then each leg/foot. He praised you with each step of this exercise. Tears ran down your Mom’s and my faces as we watched because you were so spastic what you “drew in the air” didn’t come close to being a square. When he had you sitting on the edge of the table is when he saw your first seizure. Jerry could not believe you were sent home from the hospital in Wilmington with no protection for your head. We left the PT room that day with that ugly black helmet. It was while his assistant was fitting you for the helmet that Jerry told your Mom he couldn’t make any promises that you would ever walk again but he would give it his best shot. Never did he speak anything but encouragement to you. If something wasn’t working, he’d try a different approach.
It was quite apparent that Mr. Jerry Frampton loved what he did, loved seeing his patients making progress and knew the hard work that went into the achievements of those who completed their PT and were stronger and healthier for it.
May his family find peace and comfort in the testimonies of his patients. God bless his soul.”