Gigi Day Is on Her Way Home

  • Here?s Gigi Day walking at the end of February with the help of a walker and assisted by Physical Therapist Jonah Mae Sayson. Gigi has just returned to her home in Frazier Park.

    Here?s Gigi Day walking at the end of February with the help of a walker and assisted by Physical Therapist Jonah Mae Sayson. Gigi has just returned to her home in Frazier Park.

It was a terrible accident the day before Thanksgiving that put AARP President (and semiprofessional ballroom dancer) Gigi Day, 80 into Bakersfield hospitals for three and a half months battling critical injuries. An armored vehicle is reported to have hydroplaned on Frazier Mountain Park Road in the rain. It came into her lane and hit Day’s Subaru head on. This week she is officially returning home to Frazier Park— and the “Gigi Sightings” are already beginning.

Roving Reporter Frances Durocher called Tuesday, March 17 to say, “I just ran into Gigi Day and her husband at Costco in Bakersfield. They were stopping on the way back from a doctor’s appointment. She was riding a motorized cart and had a small cast on her foot. Her husband said that after the accident ‘she looked like a jigsaw puzzle with pieces missing.’ But now she looks absolutely gorgeous.”

Here is a recent report from husband Bill Day regarding Gigi’s progress at the beginning of March.

By Bill Day

Gigi can now put 80 percent of her weight on her left side, where she had a broken hip, and 20 percent on the right side where she had a crushed ankle. This means she can’t really walk, but swings her right foot forward, while supporting most of her weight on her arms and the walker. Then, she brings her left foot forward and transfers most of her weight to it while she swings the walker forward.

It’s clumsy, but until she gets the cast removed from her right foot and gets the ‘OK’ to put full weight on it, this is the method she’ll have to use.

Her heel was so badly shattered that its healing is the main hold-up to her walking properly. There’s no way of knowing, at this point how normally she’ll be able to eventually walk, or how long complete healing will take.

In the meantime, she’s up to walking about 150 feet at a time before she gets tired and has to sit down to rest.

In the accident, her right eyeball was scratched, which gave her blurry vision. When her vision finally cleared up she realized that when she looked up or down, she had double vision.

An MRI revealed that her orbit, the bone that supports the eyeball, had been fractured in the accident, and had trapped her lower eye muscle. They thought they could do surgery to correct it, but after extensive tests she was told that the surgery could make the situation worse, and that she would probably have to live with the problem. The eye doctor suggested the high-tech solution of wearing a baseball cap to force her to turn her head up, instead of just her eyes, and that would keep her from getting the double vision. Gigi wearing a baseball cap? I suppose she could get used to that, since she’s almost never without one anyway.

Gigi’s spirits are high, and she’s able to get in and out of her wheelchair by herself, which makes her feel a little more independent.

The criterion for coming home is being able to get around reliably on her walker in the house. Even after she comes home, there will be a long period of physical therapy to try to get her back as close to 100 percent capabilities as possible.

She really appreciates the love and support from everyone, and is looking forward to being back on the hill to see her many friends and supporters.

Frances Durocher reported Gigi shared a small private ambition when they talked Tuesday:

“She wants to visit the physical therapy unit where she was staying, and walk out doing the tango,” Durocher laughed. Everyone who knows Gigi Day, knows that is no joke. She will.—Editor

This is part of the March 20, 2009 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.

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