2017 will be the year Delila Mayer walks again. She believes, between therapy and prayer, she will get out of her wheelchair, walk, and be able to go back home. Her positive spirit will help too.
Delila became paralyzed in June 2015. And the reason remains a mystery.
“I couldn’t hold a glass of water,” Delila says. “I got up at five in the morning and couldn’t hold a glass of water. I thought I was having a stroke. So I called 911.”
Delila, 74, and her husband live in rural Mott. She says when the ambulance arrived, she could still walk to the door. But whatever was attacking her body was happening rapidly.
“I had to crawl into the ambulance. By the time I got to Bismarck I was totally paralyzed from the neck down. I couldn’t do anything for myself. I couldn’t touch my nose. I felt like I was in a cocoon and I couldn’t get out.”
Delila’s doctors were not able to determine exactly what caused her paralysis; they could only conclude that she had contracted a virus. Delila received shock treatments to begin restoring movement in her arms and hands, but she was not able to return home. She moved into the Good
Samaritan Society in Bismarck, where she has physical therapy each day. She has been gradually improving.
“I remember the first time I wrote to my husband, it was Valentine’s Day. I wrote, ‘I love you’ and it took me a half hour to do it. It’s such a gift to have this back.”
Delila is remarkably upbeat about her condition. She considers herself blessed to be having this experience.
“The wonderful thing about this is I didn’t have pain. They would have to rub my legs at night because they were hurting a little, but it wasn’t bad at all. Most people in here are hurting. They have pain. That was the blessing of it all, I didn’t have a lot of pain.”
But it’s more than that. Delila considers it a privilege to suffer.
“I can’t explain it to you. It’s sweet suffering what I’m going through. I don’t have pain. I pray that whoever comes through this door will be a blessing to me and I’ll be a blessing them.”
Delila has a heart for loving people. She was a Teens for Life advisor and the youth leader for her parish in Mott for 40 years. So when word got out that she was sick, people came. And people keep coming. Her room at the Good Samaritan has become a place of ministry.
“Someone will come in and ask me a question and I may not know the answer but I say, ‘I’ll pray about it.’
“I don’t get a break from the ministry. It’s a joy to be in here. I haven’t been able to walk yet. But they are getting me ready to walk soon.”
“I wish you could have seen Delila when she first got here,” says Good Samaritan’s Activity Director and Volunteer Coordinator, Lori Roehrich. “She couldn’t move anything.”
Now Delila is moving others.
“When somebody new comes she is right there making them feel welcome,” Lori explains. “She is visiting with them or praying with them. They always have a friend in Delila. She doesn’t let anyone just sit.
“She brought the church to us.
Every Monday they come from everywhere. The chapel is full. They come from her community, and all her friends come.”
Delila is confident she will go back to her home and community soon.
“I’m getting stronger every day. I can stand for about 15 minutes. I will go back home as soon as I can walk and take care of myself. My husband is 81 and still farming.
“I look back on this past year-and-a-half and it’s been the hardest year of my life. But it’s been the best year, too.”
To see more photos of Delila, click here for a gallery by Photos by Jacy.