Another Day, More Therapy

Let me start by following up on a few things from yesterday that generated a fair amount of comment. First, the wound on the back. I saw the Director of Nursing this morning and asked if he had heard back from my surgeon about the photo of the wound that I knew had been sent. The doctor was apparently not worried about what he saw, confirmed my next visit as being Sept. 22nd (next week), and asked that the wound be dressed daily. The dressing was changed this morning and was, in fact, placed better to provide protection from gait belts. The rest of the incision is healing beautifully and doesn’t need to be covered. Rest assured that I will stay on top of this.

Second, aides helping me dress but doing too much themselves. This morning’s aide is one I know and who knows what I’m trying to do for myself, and she let me do what I could before asking for help. I talked with the OT this afternoon about the best way to approach this with other aides, and she confirmed that simply saying that “I know I need help but I also want to see how much I can do for myself first” was the way to go. I like to know everyone’s name and to chat with them through their time with me – I don’t take them and their valuable help for granted, and I always thank all of them for whatever help they provide. I do not want to be THAT PATIENT that no one wants to see when the bell goes off. But I also know that I need to stand up for what I want and need because I want to go home. As I add new life skills, I will be clear in conveying what they are and what I need to be working on so they become ingrained.

One of my therapy friends went home today, an 87 year old woman recovering from knee replacement surgery. She’s done very well in her therapy and recovery, and was a delight to talk to at meals. I’m very proud of her progress and the grace with which she faced her challenges. Another man on my hall also left today but he was going to a nursing home, which he doesn’t want to do. My next door neighbor had a stroke in July and has been here a month; she’s not ready to go anywhere yet. And there are a few others. Most of us take our meals together, though not all and not all the time. By dinner time, many of us are just really tired. But today I’m heading out to see what’s for dinner – it’s usually a mystery even though we had the chance to select our meals, we’ve forgotten by the time the food shows up. It’s never actually that good.

PT this morning started again with a walk from my room to therapy, which is 175 feet. I had one short stop on the way after 75 feet. Once in the therapy room, we started at the bar by doing standing leg exercises. To my surprise, they were actually easier to do today than yesterday, though don’t get me wrong, these muscles still need a lot of help. It’s easier to do the leg lifts and kicks and even marches while standing instead of in the chair. Have I mentioned that I’m not in love with being in the chair? After these exercises, I did 15 minutes on the stationary bike, doing some little pattern with a goal of keeping a car in the middle of a lane by pressing evenly with both feet. Press too hard with the right, and the car goes into the right lane; the same if you press too hard with the left. It’s still boring but it’s less boring than doing the arm bike (which I did in the afternoon) with nothing to look at. Oh, and I almost forgot already that I walked another 100 feet at the end of therapy. Couldn’t make it the whole way, but It’s still progress.

OT started right after lunch with the arm bike (see above) and then scooting myself around the mat from one side to the other and back again. This should be easier than it was, but my pants kept getting twisted up. And going around the corners was very hard. Note to self: try not to scoot around corners on your butt. After that we did a fun exercise with a big orange ball and a 3 lb weighted stick, with the therapist tossing it to me and me hitting it back to her using the stick. I thought it was just hand-eye coordination and arm work, but apparently it’s also working unsupported back, and trunk flexibility and some other stuff I’ve already forgotten. It was more fun than scooting, I’ll tell you that. We finished up with standing at the bar and putting little rings on posts on different sides, then putting them back, followed by a similar exercise where I had to shift my weight and side step to reach the place to put the little rings. I noticed that my left leg was picking up but the right leg was just sort of dragging, so I made more of an effort to actually STEP and not just slide it. More work but necessary. Yayyy me for noticing it.

I had a visitor this afternoon and we got caught up in general and also spent some time going over questions she had from covering part of my church job while the position is vacant. I feel a tad guilty about resigning with no notice; I don’t think I had a choice, but I’ve never done that in a job before. So since many of the tasks are things that I started, or at least in their present format, I’m happy to help someone else figure out how to do them. I never want any job to be gutted because one person is missing; very few people are irreplaceable. I know I’m not, but I never planned to leave without an exit plan to help someone new pick up the tasks.

Oh, one more thing – I saw the head of maintenance from the building I live in, and asked about the status of the porch screen and the glass shower door. The porch screen is in process (they had to wait for materials) and the other had submitted a quote but no commitment had been made. So I had a chance to kill that shower door before it got started. When I asked for the shower to be glassed in, I was walking. Now I’m in a chair and headed for walker. What I need is a roll in shower, which I already have. No glass door will make bathing a lot easier for me. So relieved I was able to stop that without incurring any funds!