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.
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.”
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!!!!