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Monday, July 26, 2010

Rehab Hospital – Step 4 of 4 to going home - Part of Picking-Up the Pieces Mondays

The day that I had worked so hard for was finally just hours away, I was going to get out of this hospital! What I didn’t realize was that it wasn’t going to be a straight trip home. There would be a detour to a rehab hospital which would last a few weeks.

My first day at the Rehab hospital – was welcoming. I discovered that during the day I could wear my own clothes – and in the evening my own pjs. The nurses all seemed very helpful and I was in a semi-private room. This would be home until I was able to achieve: walking with a cane, go up and down stairs - But first I would need to learn to transfer out of bed into a wheel chair (on my own) – and back into bed; I would also have to learn to feed myself with my left hand; and gain some strength and become weight bearing on my right side. My actual stay would be dependent on successfully achieving the above goals.

After an Angel Friend (more on this in future posts), had me settled in my “new temporary” home, he went off to get me some food. In the meantime a nurse came in to get me washed up, she thought it would be best to have me sit on the bath bench, while she hosed me down, gave me a shower. The last I recalled was telling her I was feeling dizzy – then hearing her scream, as I found myself slumped over the side of the tub face planted on the floor blood spurting from somewhere, as the floor was covered in blood. As she approached, she kept saying “I just stepped out to get some towels to dry you”.. yes, in my dizzy state she had left me unattended.

Once I was back in bed, my Angel Friend arrived and the first thing he said was “look at the size of your nose! What happened?” As I filled him in on my first shower experience – the nurse came in and again apologized “I’m so sorry – for leaving her unattended- I just stepped out to get a towel.”

The next few weeks I was put through extensive physiotherapy, exercises geared to rehabilitate my movements and dexterity and cognitive testing. The food was not much better, here – the staff was friendlier and more helpful. Friends continued to bring me food – now from favourite restaurants, as I was able to eat and magazines that kept me entertained – I couldn’t focus to read but the pictures were entertaining. My hopes of being in my home for Christmas came and went, with New Year’s Eve approaching. So my most favourite celebrations, Birthday, Christmas and ringing in the New Year were spent in the hospital.

I was convinced that home would be a much better place for me, and practiced, practiced walking around my bed with a cane – every opportunity I had. Finally I was told that if I could transfer from the wheelchair to a car I would be a few steps closer to going home. I was excited by the news, but wasn’t sure what all would be involved in this transfer to car business. I was soon going to find out, that afternoon I was taken to the hospital parking lot in my wheelchair, and the instructor set out to demonstrate how I was to get into the car. As I watched him- back towards the passenger seat, sit down –so legs are down, facing the open door-, then slightly turn his back inward and rotate in the seat with legs together until he was in sitting position – back against the seat and legs safely in the car. I knew I would pass this first try … after all, anyone who has had to get in and out of low sports cars knows – this is the first thing a “well heeled lady” learns, so as to not put her panties on display or look like an Amazon getting in and out. The instructor was amazed at how “quickly” I caught on; I just smiled and asked “so do I get to go home now?”

What I want to share with others;

This is perhaps the toughest step for your loved one. They have now been in the hospital a few months and the “novelty” of visiting a friend in the hospital has worn off for most people, as they feel the person has made it through the worst of it. This however is the most important time for “caring” friends and family to really let the loved-one know they are not alone; they have not been forgotten.

Although your loved one is now able to speak for themselves – they are still not able to fully comprehend what their limits are – and that they can voice their opinions. Even if they are telling you so, or are telling the kitchen staff that broccoli has florets and that just the stems is unacceptable. I went through extensive painful rehab on my right elbow – despite the fact that it was “never” going to gain any movement. To this day, I often wonder how this fact slipped through the “physio” people at rehab. Yet, at the time I was not able to question their techniques.

Next Monday we start with being home!!!!


  1. i just went and read your very first post, I wanted to know the background... I'm proud of you that you found the inner strength to make it this far, I can't even imagine what you must have had to go through. I am so sorry. Did they ever find the driver who hit you? What went on there? Did they not see you, were they driving too fast, or were they drunk...??

  2. Hi Cafe Bellini - Thank you for your sweet words and encouragement. According to police report He just didn't see me (he pulled out from behind another car) he was travelling 65-75 km in a 50 km zone.

  3. Bonjour dearest!
    How I admire your strength and courage, and your quick wit! Thank you for reminding all of us how much our loved ones need us during times like these.
    You are a true inspiration!
    Wishing you a beautiful week.
    xoxo, B

  4. As I was reading the instructions on how to get in the car I was thinking hmmm she will have nooooo trouble with this lol!

  5. It is just so hard to imagine what people in your situation have to go through and as for being left unattended, she should have been sacked! xx

  6. I am speechless (almost) that after you telling the nurse you were dizzy she left you alone! Oh my word! Had something like that happened to my mother while she was in the hospital, I would have raised the roof! I had to chuckle at your comment regarding getting into a car because of a recent conversation my DIL and I had about that very subject. It amazes my dil how smoothly I do that. She just cannot quite get the hang of it. Of course, this is the same girl I am always telling to pick up her feet when she walks...

    I love the Shopper’s Prayer!

    What a wonderful benefit! As you have probably gathered, I love anything to do with animal support/rescue and fund raisers and do what I can when I can. I added Longrun to my Animal Rescue page.

    ~ Tracy

  7. Hey there brave girl!
    Just read this post and thought I'd say once again how I so admire you for your amazing strength! No matter what, you are still letting your spirit shine even with all the set backs! Punch that nurse in the nose so she know what it feels like!
    Hang in there and thank you for your nice comments about our little bench...

  8. What an inspiring story my friend. Thank you for sharing your experience with us so we can now help so much our loved ones if ever the need arises! I love your brave, fighting spirit!
    Hope your week is off to a good start!

  9. I admire your inner strength my sweet blog friend. It's wonderful to have family around at such a fragile time. That nurse was not very sensitive, was she? Be strong. Your blog friends are here for you. XX

  10. I try to not miss your post each day. Hate to read what you have been through, but yet I want to know about it all. You should write a book. Go to my post today and maybe it will put a small bit of cheer in your day. Take care. Sometimes, it takes a tragedy to make us a better person. I think you are a perfect example of a survivor.

  11. I love reading about your recovery and words of wisdom.

  12. Oh, my brave friend, I feel your disapointment supposing you were going "home" and had to go to something in between. Well we haven't anything like that here.
    I remember the day I went home from the hospital "I really had to go home after I knew it" or I tink I would get "insane."
    That time I were living alone in a little studio with no space to a wheelchair, so I had to learn how to "move" on an office chair with weels. The physiotherapiest still saying that I might never walk again.... it was such a lonely time... yes, many times I thought I have been forgotten, with no friends and no family.

    It's so very important what you tell and call attention for others, my brave and sweet friend!!!
    I can't stop telling about my admiration for you, because I've been there, I also know.......

    Tons of love lovely
    Big hug

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  14. WOW You are so strong! You can be so proud of yourself and your recovery.


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