Counting Up and Down

It was nine weeks ago today that I fell and went to the ER. I thought I was going to spend a few hours, get checked out, and be sent home. I never could have imagined being gone for two months. I’ve never gone anywhere for that long. My knee replacement recovery was 6 weeks per knee but at least I was home while I did it. I’ve missed birthdays and anniversaries, parties and Mah Jongg games, dinners and shopping excursions and craft fairs and … well. Lots of stuff.

At times it feels that every one of these days has been the same, but of course they haven’t been. I changed locations twice: Hospital to Rehab #1 to Rehab #2, where I’ve been for five weeks tomorrow. Though I’ve complained a fair amount, I need to confess that so much has gone right here. I have a private room, one of the only places around where that’s possible. I share a bathroom with the woman next to me, but that’s never been a problem for either of us. Having private space to retreat to is a blessing. In Rehab #1, I was tired so much of the time and needed quiet and rest. But here I’m more aware, more active, and have a room that looks like a dorm room (well, sort of) rather than a hospital room. That’s made it easier to adjust to being here, that and being able to spread my own stuff out. And I have a lot of stuff.

Food hasn’t been great but I never really like institutional food, especially overcooked vegetables. In college the only dish our dorm kitchen prepared well was cheese grits, and this place doesn’t make those. But food is plentiful and I don’t have to think about it, shop for ingredients, cook, serve or clean it up. And there are options so no two of us are usually eating exactly the same meal. So what if it’s not what I would normally eat? It’s food and it’s there – and I have protein bars to supplement when I need to.

Therapy is different in #2 than in #1, but for the most part, we are less in need of “intensive care therapy” here. I’m extremely grateful to have had three weeks at #1 with double the therapy hours, working one on one with therapists. I was where I really needed to be to make the progress I did, and don’t think I could have done that here. But I’m much more capable of doing independent exercises now under guidance but not necessarily the eagle eye of a therapist. We built on what I had already learned, which is what I have to continue to do going forward. Everything I do now is putting in practice things I’ve learned. I go to the bathroom alone. I dress myself. I wheel myself around in the chair or take short walks (if I have shoes on). Still can’t do showers alone but I will have help with that. I need to see what I can do to figure out what I still need to learn HOW to do.

But I’m also counting down the days until I’m home. There are only three more full days here – and four nights in this bed that I’ve come to hate – before I’m packing up all of this stuff and getting ready to take it home. I’m making lists, lots of lists, of things that I think need to be done. My car will be sold which both makes me sad and also is a relief. I am so very ready to be home, which is why I know the timing is right. When I left Rehab #1, I knew I was far from ready, much as I wanted to go.

Image credit: Photo 40804271 / Counting © Yasen Bedzhev | Dreamstime.com

One thought on “Counting Up and Down

  1. Ginny King

    So glad you have stuck with the regular journal entries- a good way to help you process what you are experiencing at several levels, as well as a reference to look back at your progress, remember insights and see notes about things you need. I know this next transition will be exciting and challenging and a bit scary facing some “firsts” in your home setting. Thoughts and prayers are with you and I think you will do well. Your cats will be so happy to have you home

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