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Sunday, September 9, 2018

Eight weeks


                   
By the time I reached the rehab hospital, less than a week after I broke my way down the right side of my skeleton, I was mentally leaping ahead in rehab, planning on reaching discharge. As I said so often, “This isn’t my first rodeo!”, and indeed it isn’t. This is the third time I’ve had to re-learn how to walk.

How easy those last two times were! When I had the stroke, no one told me how fortunate I could still stand and shuffle down the corridor, held upright by the therapist with the gait belt.  When I had the brain injury in D.C., no one mentioned how fortunate I could still stand and transfer to a wheel chair to get to the therapy room.

On the other hand, no one said “Too bad you can’t stand and we need the Hoyer lift to get you out of bed.  Instead, I learned slide transfer, and then to stand and transfer to the wheel chair with the walker. My goal was to be home before Laura started school. She actually was in day five when I came home.

The therapists did not want to discharge me, and the basic reason was the five steps into my house. “I could rent a ramp!” I told them, but it would be too steep. 

On a Friday afternoon I sat and ordered everything the therapists said I would need to be discharged: a wheel chair, a walker, a tub transfer seat, a toilet riser. In retrospect, the wheel chair was the waste of money. I’d warned Laura, and she had everything assembled and in place when I came home the next Wednesday.

I told the therapists on Monday, I would be leaving on Wednesday. I cut through the chorus of “The steps!”, and rolled the chair to the next room, where the steps were in the corner.  Before I arrived, Sharon was blocking the steps.  I quietly said to move, I was going up the effing steps.

Let me tell you, whispered, that word resonates through hall after hall of a Catholic institution. I felt therapists and dear old nuns and Father Tom come through the doors to watch me. I went up, and down, no walker. I came home on Wednesday, two weeks ago. A nurse evaluated me and the therapy supervisors, too, the first week.

I’d already been for a doctor appointment, and to lunch with friends. So, when the physical therapy supervisor was here I explained I had thought it through, and knew how to drive my car. For all the medical people out there, I have 60% weight bearing on my broken leg, so I merely concluded if I were looking at a 100% weight bearing braking situation, it would be my left foot on the brake.

The supervisor said since I intended to do it, I might as well demonstrate it, and I did, Including stowing the walker in the passenger seat by heaving it over. 

So, it was eight weeks last Friday. Two weeks until my ten week appointment with my orthopedist, marking the theoretical ‘healed’ date. And, I can no more give up my walker than I could fly, though I can drive my car.

“Strength and balance! Strength and balance!” I tell my home therapists, and faithfully do their exercises. It’s not that I have neither; it’s that I cannot walk without support to stand and balance. 

It’s getting mighty old. I have one more week with the home therapists, then, I think, transfer to a clinic setting, and my friend the parallel bars, for strength and balance. Without the walker. My cane will be a pleasant change.


It's not snowing on the other side of the white, white windows. It's pouring rain, day number two.

41 comments:

  1. Glad to read that you are able to drive. Thinking of you, B

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  2. Your determination is awe inspiring. My father's expression 'more stubborn than stains' leaps to mind.
    I am sure that this is getting (has got) old for you, but equally sure you will triumph.

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    1. Thanks, EC. I may title a post some day. Though my mom did tell a story of raging at the wind for blowing in my face.

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  3. Here's to hoping that you recover your balance soon and that Laura never REALLY needs to sit in that wheelchair.

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  4. Don't be rushing, my friend. Discretion is the better part of valour, and all that. Is it your core strength that is giving you problems? I hope you get it sorted out and DON'T BREAK ANYTHING IN THE MEANTIME. I mean it. Take your damn time, you hear? :)

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    1. The gym is my friend. The gym is my friend. It will be even harder this time.

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  5. Joanne, your determination is amazing! You inspire me!

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  6. You have achieved so much. Glad you don't need the wheelchair, but it was there if you did need it and that is not a bad thing. Thinking of you and being inspired.

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  7. You really are an impressive woman. I pray you have it easier each and every week.

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  8. Obviously you need no words of encouragement from me. You and Laura have everything under control.

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  9. There's something rather terrifying about you !!!

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    1. Well, you're an entrepreneur, too. It's a good thing to be clear.

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  10. I truly love and admire your get up and get going attitude and hope I have half your stamina as I age. I'm a real wimp with pain though.

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  11. like they say...determination is good, but don't rush it!

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  12. You are so resilient, inspirationally so.

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  13. I guess you never heard the expression, “Slow and Steady”. However, you are going to do what you are going to do and the medical people know you are a force to deal with.

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    1. Says the woman who marched on Washington! Maybe we're all heroes.

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  14. You must be the toughest person I have ever known to be able to do what you do and keep your sense of humour intact. Fingers crossed the doctor moves you on to those parallel bars.

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    1. I should tic off the heroes on this page. You're one.

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  15. The rubber bands seem to help. I fell in the garden next to the lake yesterday cutting saplings that have grown tall. I thought of you. Just had to figure out how to get up. The recent surgery didn't cause any pain, so I guess I'm no worse for the wear. I simply cannot stand upright with the angle down to the lake and bricks and rocks not cemented down. I looked around to see if anyone was watching (it wasn't pretty) then wondered if the ants were going to swarm me. You really are tough Joanne.

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    1. I fell. I called Laura. I handed her the gait belt and told her how the EMS do it. She got me up. Note to self, and Donna, don't fall again.

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  16. You're making amazing progress. After I spent 2 weeks in the hospital I didn't know how I was going to get up the 10 stairs to our house. But I did it.
    You are so strong it inspires me.

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    1. And you carve feathers. One day we'll all land the same place.

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  18. You have my admiration. I've not known many people, if any, with your determination. Good goin'. Your g'kids have a role model that few kids have.

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    1. Five of my six grands don't know I exist, and that's OK. Lives of their own and all that. Laura does pay attention, and that for the purpose of not having to ask G'ma how to do anything.

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  19. Astonishing! You are doing remarkably well, no whimpering , no boo hoo-ing, you just get on with it, You are made of good stuff! You are my hero, Joanne! Such a fine human!

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  20. Wow! My kids call me a tough old bird. I think you take that prize. Balance is everything, isn't it?

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  21. Dear Joanne, because I took a blogging hiatus beginning in mid-July, I did not know about your falling and your broken bones and all the difficulties that have been part of your summer. I am so sorry to learn that this is happening for you. But once again, your fortitude and determination inspire me. Actually I feel awed when I read your response to troubles. Please do keep us updated as to your continued therapy and your recuperation and return to "normality"--whatever that is now that we're older! Peace.

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    1. As Peace said, balance is everything. I thought I had it, last time. I was wrong!

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    2. Dear Joanne, my balance is not good--that's due to age + Meniere's + compromised vision. So I'm learning to tread carefully and to live in the moment of this step forward and then that one. Peace.

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  22. I've been wondering how it was going for you. I'm happy to hear you are kicking butt and not taking prisoners. But truthfully, it never occurred to me that you would do otherwise.

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  23. You've done so amazingly well! You know how to make being feisty work for you!

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    1. I haven't taken on a foreign government yet! But I know who to ask.

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  25. fortitude, determination, resilient, stamina, - I found all these descriptive words in the comments. I agree all these words apply.

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  26. "Just do it" huh? I can see that you follow your own advice, Joanne. And I think that you and Laura can take on the world. Congrats on your healing progress!

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  27. I hope your recovery proceeds steadily. It's good that you can still drive.

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  28. I hope you can weave. You just keep keeping on, and I will be with you.

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  29. The mental attitude is half the battle.

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