Home visit – with cats!

I went back to my apartment today after seven weeks away. Okay, seven weeks and one day, not that I’m counting. Alas, I couldn’t stay; I was there with my physical therapist to do an assessment of how it will work for me when I do go home – what do I need to get, move, rearrange. That was the purpose but I was distracted by wanting to see and love on Ellie and Emma, who were not at all sure about the wheelchair but were lured by Mommy’s voice and familiar smell. It was hard to leave them.

The best part of the apartment is that there really isn’t that much that we have to do to get it ready for me. Some furniture rearrangement, moving rugs, seeing if we can get taller legs for two chairs so they are easier for me to transfer and get out of. Putting something under the recliner to keep it from moving when I’m getting up or down. The shower chair is good; I need a toilet lift with arms to help me get up, but not a drop down grab bar. Clothes in the closet need to be rearranged so frequently worn things are on lower bars. The kitchen is workable though the microwave over the stove might as well be in Siberia. I’ll talk to the PT tomorrow to see what I forgot and/or what she noticed that I didn’t, and what that means for what’s left of my recovery before the move. Of course, there will be continued work AFTER that, but it will happen in familiar territory.

What’s hard now is the open endedness of time here. In the hospital, it was clear that I’d be there until surgery, then a few days, then rehab. Olympic Center rehab gave me a defined discharge date at the end of the first week, so I knew how to factor the time. But this place just seems endless because there is no idea when I can leave, although I know it’s coming. It could be so much worse, I know. My next door neighbors are not in good shape and may not be getting better fast enough to stay longer than whatever Medicare decides is their alloted time – and she’s not sure where she will be going after that. Me, I know I have a great apartment with excellent adaptive design and two beautiful cats just waiting for me. So I’m going to try to stop complaining and just concentrate on getting stronger.

In OT today I had to step up on a shallow stair. Actually, not even step UP, just put my foot on the stair and put it back. It was impossibly hard and I cried at how hard it was to do something so simple that I took for granted two months ago. I think I’m doing well and then something like that just stops me in my tracks. I’ve come a long way but there is such a long way to go and I can’t give up just because it’s hard. I want to get back every bit of functionality that I can, which means working really hard all the time. It’s tiring.

In PT today, in addition to walking and leg exercises and the bike, I tried using a bright pink rollator walker. I see so many people use them but had no idea how very light they were to use and how FAST they go, which means using the brake to slow it down so it doesn’t fly away from me. I didn’t think I would be moving to a rollator at this point in my recovery – my walking isn’t that steady – and am not sure I’m comfortable with it, even while having a rollator would be a lot easier than a wheelchair and a folding walker. Well, it will be easier after I learn how to use it properly. One little spin in the hallway doesn’t do it by itself. But again, it’s a step. At least I don’t have to try to step up on it.