Case II: Chapter 9: The Benefits of Exercise
Dudley tried to maintain a calm and pleasant disposition as he got up to leave. He knew there was nothing he could do about Mrs. Branch’s behavior and her insistence on getting involved in everyone’s business. He would just have to work harder at avoiding her and being dragged into those discussions and her overly suspicious nature.
As Dudley reflected on his meeting with Hannah Halverstrom, he realized how relieved he was that she was a competent person and would aggressively market his home. He realized a bit more everyday that being here at La Vida Aureo was the right decision for him. He was very appreciative that Isabella had reached out to him and offered him this opportunity not only for a good place to live, but also the opportunity to be actively engaged in something worthwhile. He also realized that his health was returning and that his doctor’s and children’s recommendation that he undergo physical therapy was actually a good idea and probably something that he never would have initiated on his own. He realized that the physical exercise was doing him great deal of good, not only physically but also for his entire outlook and general well-being. He would approach Isabella about incorporating an ongoing program into his “total compensation package”.
He decided to ask Hans for his assistance in developing a broader physical exercise program. In addition to continuing to improve his cardiovascular system, Dudley realized that some basic strength building exercises would be of benefit.
With this thought in mind, he went to the main exercise room and found Hans sitting at the small desk provided for the therapists. “Good morning, Hans. If you have a moment, I would like to talk to you about expanding my physical therapy program into a more comprehensive exercise regimen. I know you will be surprised to hear me say this but I believe the exercise is really doing me a world a good and I would like to incorporate some strength training.”
“Well, Mr. Dudley, that may be the smartest thing I’ve heard you say. I’ve always considered you to be a relatively intelligent fellow and figured that eventually you would understand the benefits of a regular exercise program, particularly at your age. I am confident that if we work together, we will be able to come up with something that meets your needs and is not too boring. I can recommend various types of exercises that we can alternate throughout the week that will give you variety and help achieve your goals.”
As Dudley pulled out a chair to sit down at the desk with Hans, he noticed that Ekaterina was talking to someone he had never seen before. He guessed that this new gentlemen had a knee replacement recently as he was using crutches to move around the room. Ekaterina guided him toward one of the leg strengthening exercise machines and helped him position himself in it. Dudley watched as she began her “Betty Boop routine” with this new person. As she was adjusting the backrest on the machine, she made an obvious gesture of pressing her breasts into this man’s upper arm. It was not an accident as she continued to slowly move back and forth pressing herself against him. Then she moved away toward the front of the machine and while facing away from him, bent over to pick up some invisible object on the floor. She must not been able to find it as she stayed bent over for an extended period of time. She stood up and turned around with a smiling face and began to talk to this man, presumably about the exercise he was about to initiate.
Once this initial overture was completed, her actions became less overt and she began to instruct him on the use of the machine. After a few repetitions, she stepped forward and began to massage the muscles around his knee. It did not take long before her hands began moving slowly and deliberately up his thigh. She apparently decided that this initial exploratory phase was sufficient and she left him to continue with his exercise.
A few machines away, Horace Johnson was in the middle of his physical therapy program. Ekaterina approached him with a large smile on her face and placed her hand on his shoulder and gently pressed her breast against him. This action did not have the desired effect as he pulled back and glared at her. “What’s the deal with that new guy? Just what you think you are doing? I thought we had an understanding. “
“I don’t know what you’re talking about, she replied, equally angrily. He is a new patient and I was helping orient him to his first exercises for his knee.”
“Well, I know what I saw.”
Dudley didn’t think he was staring or eavesdropping but could not help but observe this interaction. He must have been, however, because Hans said “It looks like there’s some trouble in Happy Valley. So why don’t we just focus on your exercise program and ignore that little spat.”
“I’m sorry, Hans, I didn’t mean to ignore you and didn’t think I was staring. I still am confused by the whole situation surrounding this young woman, but it’s not my business.”
Hans got out forms and began to indicate some specific exercises for a more comprehensive program. Dudley was interested and very appreciative of this effort but was soon distracted by another heated interchange between Ekaterina and Horace Johnson. He heard Johnson say, “It looks to me like you’re trying to recruit somebody else. What gives?”
“I don’t want to talk about it in the middle of this room in front of other people, she replied. Why do we go into the massage area where we can discuss this in private?”
They left the room together and with some difficulty Dudley was able to focus his attention on Hans and his new exercise program. “It must be that she has some Gypsy blood, said Hans, It seems like she got rather heated pretty quickly.”
“I don’t know. But it’s probably not worth either of us getting involved. I assume you will incorporate one of those Special Protein Shakes in my new regimen so I can bulk up like some of those baseball players I’ve read about!, He said jokingly.”
“If that’s what you’d like, Mr. Dudley, I would be happy to oblige. But, you should realize that there’s no “protein” in her shakes and you won’t look like Barry Bonds, either. It’s really just a clever disguise; she crushes the pain pills and blends them in some relatively harmless stuff to mask the taste. I have to give her credit for the idea and making it part of her “shtick.”
“You know I was just kidding, Hans. I met a woman last week who was another of Ekaterina’s patients who was given a strawberry smoothie for presumably the same purpose. I agree; it’s pretty clever.”
Dudley worked with Hans for the next 20 minutes and was pleased with the results of the program Hans had outlined. He appreciated the fact that there were different kinds of exercises and he would be able to vary his routine over a two week cycle. He thanked Hans and got up to leave. Just then, Horace Johnson came back into the main room and headed toward Dudley on his way to the exit door. He looked at Dudley and said, “Don’t pay any attention to that old stuff at all. It was just necessary for me to clarify a few things with her and I made sure there was a “happy ending” and he hurried towards the door.”
Dudley noticed that Horace had left approximately half of his own “special protein shake” on the floor beside his machine and Dudley retrieved in with the intent of catching up with Horace. But by the time he reached the exit door, Horace was halfway across the parking lot and did not seem to care much about the remainder of his drink. Dudley looked around for trash bin, but another thought came into his mind. “There is something else going on here, he mused. Maybe Horace was just being overly jealous that Ekaterina was showing some attention to another man but I don’t understand why he use the word “recruit” in reference to her actions. She was obviously being overtly sexual towards him that that would seem to explain it all.” The more these conflicting thoughts remained in his head, the longer he hesitated disposing the shake in his hand. “I should not be so suspicious, he chided himself. I don’t approve of her behavior, but that’s really none of my business. She seems to be popular with people who come here for physical therapy and maybe this is just all part of her TLC approach.”
As Dudley reentered the building, he noticed Ekaterina and Martha Arthur standing just outside of the physical therapy room. Mrs. Arthur appeared confused and said to Ekaterina, “I don’t understand why it is necessary to refill with my prescriptions so soon. They always seemed to last for or about a month but it seems like it’s only been two weeks since the last time.”
Ekaterina patted Mrs. Arthur on the arm and said, “There, there, Mrs. Arthur, I think you are slightly mistaken.”
“No, I’m sure about it. I think I should just talk with my friend Millicent Branch. She always helps me keep track of things when I get a bit confused.”
“That will not be necessary, Mrs. Arthur. No need to get anyone else involved. It is a little more frequent than before, but that’s because I’ve been experimenting with the dosages as I promised I would. You know you can trust me, Mrs. Arthur.”
“I remember you telling me what you were going to do. The pain in my back doesn’t seem to be responding to this new approach, however. Are you sure that this will work?”
“Just give it little more time. I’m sure that by the next time we refill your prescriptions, you will be feeling much better.”
With that reassurance, Mrs. Arthur turned around and walked away.
Ekaterina looked up and noticed Dudley standing there with a half-empty glass in his hand. “Is everything alright, Ms. Bubolsky? I trust that Mrs. Arthur is doing OK. She’s a really sweet old lady and I know that her back pain really upsets her.”
“There is no problem, Mr. Dudley. She just was confused about her prescriptions. I’ve been trying to help but I suspect a lot of her pain is really just her imagination. But I will continue to work with her because that is important to me. By the way, what is that you have in your hand? I trust that it’s nothing from the physical therapy room like one of my protein shakes. It would be inappropriate for any medications to leave that area.”
“Oh no, I think it’s just something like an iced coffee that someone dropped in the parking lot. I was on my way to the trash bin to discard it.”
“Very well. Good day, Mr. Dudley.” Ekaterina Bubolsky turned and walked toward the physical therapy room. Dudley could not help but notice that she had assumed her characteristic Betty Boop walk as she left.