Breakthrough!

Della Durr

Those who choose careers of service sometimes find their reward in the most unexpected ways.

Della Durr was admitted to Patriot Ridge Community in Fairborn, Ohio in February. Della is hard of hearing and legally blind, and thus endures many frustrations to do activities many of us take for granted. She also presented multiple challenges to the staff at Patriot Ridge, as it was difficult to get her engaged with her new surroundings. Della mostly liked to sit in the lobby and experience the world on her own terms, muted and fuzzy. She preferred to be a spectator, though not necessarily a participant.

While Della had recently used hearing aids, they weren’t really powerful enough to help her much. Patriot Ridge personnel quickly recognized the aids’ inherent deficits, and fitted her with an amplifier. Now that she was hearing better, they then offered Della the use of audio books. Della was not keenly interested, saying that though she had once loved reading as a favorite pastime, she hadn’t been able to read since becoming legally blind four years ago. Upon discovering Della’s long-unspoken desire to read, rehab manager Crystal Smith approached her about using an adaptive sight device that magnifies reading materials.

What happened next can only be described as miraculous. It’s what happens when persistence morphs into assistance. There was Della, with tears streaming down her face, using the magnifier and marveling at her ability to read a magazine, an activity she simply assumed was no longer within the realm of possibility. Right beside her was Crystal, teary-eyed, rejoicing at the wonder of breaking through with Della.

Patriot Ridge has since ordered Della’s favorite magazine in large print and she’s anxious to “catch up” on her reading. Being able to read again has enriched her life even more now that she is able to read letters and cards that she receives from family and friends. While some may consider this to be simple good fortune, it’s certainly far more than that for Della. It’s a game-changer, a life-enricher, a passion-engager. You might even ask her about it, if only you can tear her away from her reading.