Today in therapy – Mon. 8/23/2021

Yesterday was not a good day. There’s no therapy on Sundays, but I had plans to get out of bed, dressed, and to move around using the wheelchair and work on mobility and some air bike work. Ah, no. Instead I finally understood why I need to go to bed wearing clothes, to make it easier to use the slide board to transfer to/from the bedside commode. Because I wasn’t and my skin stuck on the board. The staff decided for my safety and because of small Sunday staffing, I should toilet using the bedpan. I wore diapers. It was incredibly humbling, humiliating, and embarassing. I didn’t leave my room.

Today I met with Susan, my occupational therapist, and told her that I didn’t want next weekend to be like this weekend. I need to learn what I need to know to make sure “bedpan” isn’t in my future.

Started with Veronica, my physical therapist, by walking with the parallel bars. I’m relearning the rhythms of HOW to walk, how to suck in the tummy, tuck the butt, push off and then lock knees and stand, holding on for dear life to a walker or whatever, shifting weight to one side and taking a small step by relaxing the knee to move, then stepping, locking, shifting, and doing it again. It’s a lot to remember and a lot to keep track of for each step, but the goal is that the movements will become ingrained again. Today we STARTED with walking, when my legs were fresher, and I walked 10 feet, then got wheeled back to do it again, and managed 8 feet plus 4 steps going backwards (on purpose). This was HUGE.

Then we worked on standing leg exercises. Yup, standing, which is hard to do when your legs don’t hold you up. But you have to start. Standing up got a little easier, but leg kicking and swinging forward, back, to the side, seemed hopeless. But then, so did standing. Finally, we worked on transfers. These are huge – how to safely get from one place (bed/chair/commode/car) to another. There are ways to do it, each limited by whatever our physical limits are. My knees don’t bend on their own. I can’t pull my legs together, or turn myself on my side. Plus, you know, standing on my own.

After PT was Occupational Therapy, working on life skills. Today that meant a boatload of arm exercises to strengthen my upper body. I’m stronger than I thought but I need to build up more strength in specific muscle groups that mostly I don’t remember anyone mentioning to me before. So lots of reps of pull downs, pushing, back work, arm bike, and more. But my upper body doesn’t tire as quickly as the lower body, so this was still all easier than dealing with the movement work of physical therapy.

I also met with the team psychologist this afternoon at my request. There’s a lot to process and it was helpful to talk with him. But now I’m tired, body and brain. It’s time to rest and recharge. Surely there is a Hallmark movie that can take me away from all this.