After the entire fall incident, things began to fall into place. I had a routine to follow, which was important for me then. I had Physical Therapy (PT) and Occupational Therapy (OT) four times a week, Speech Therapy (ST) three times a week and Recreational Therapy (RT) twice a week. I did exceptionally well in PT. By my third day, I was able to stand between the parallel bars and walk half way across and back. My left foot dragged a bit, but at least I could get her to move. I kept forgetting about my left arm and she kept hanging back. My PT would tap me and remind me to ‘bring her along’. My right arm would dutifully come around and drag my left arm forward to bring her up to speed.
My speech also improved, although it was still my most frustrating therapy. The inability to find my words, my constant stuttering, the feeling of being overwhelmed, and the inclination to cry when asked simple questions began to slowly diminish. I didn’t notice it until a few sessions in, when my ST pointed out that I had answered a question and did not cry; or I did such and such exercise without a hint of a stutter. It was a hell of a breakthrough for me; at least I knew people were understanding what I was saying to them.
Same thing in OT. We worked a lot on ‘daily living’ things: folding clothes, zipping zippers, buttoning buttons, etc. This was in addition to dressing, washing, brushing hair and teeth. They always focused on working my left hand and arm because that’s where my deficit is.
One thing I was notorious for, was clutching utensils in my left hand (or any other item–pens, pencils, mini-lotion bottles, etc) without even realizing it. Some days coming back from meals, aides or therapists would notice and have to take it out of my hand with a bit of force. I was just unable to let go, even though I willed my hand to. The staff caught on quick though. Every night before I went to bed, my assigned aide would go through my bed. Sure enough, by the time she was done, she had a handful of spoons, forks, straws, body lotion, and rolled up paper in her hand. 🙂
It was a lot of work, but I progressed nicely. I always looked forward to RT. I was always allowed to choose what we were going to work on. Since I wanted badly to be ‘normal’ again, I would pick games that required thinking skills like Scrabble, which I used to be really good at. Of all the times we played, I may have won one game; but it was a sweet victory. It was near the end of my stay.
In my down time I used to watch TV or read magazine that visitors bought me while I was in the hospital. Christmas was only days away, so I had visitors come see me while I was in rehab too. It was nice having the people I love and care about around me. A neighborhood family volunteers every year at the rehab center to sing holiday carols and popular songs in the lobby on Christmas Eve. I advised the floor nurse that I’d wanted to go, so when they were ready to start, a volunteer came up and wheeled me down to the lobby. It was a girl, her father and her grandfather. Three generations with their own little band. They played everything from Silent Night to Bad, Bad Leroy Brown. It was amazing.
My family came on Christmas Day to see me and visiting hour rules were ‘ignored’ by the staff on my floor. I was grateful for that. As much as the staff tried to bring holiday cheer to us, it just wasn’t the same. It just made me itch to want to go home even more. Every time the doctor came by, I asked him how long it would be before he thought I’d be ready to go home and do my PT, OT and ST on an outpatient basis. His answer was always, ‘Let’s give it a few more days’. I hated that answer.
Over the next few days, I busted my butt and worked really hard on my PT. I had graduated from using the wheelchair all the time to using the walker from my room to the lunch area or PT/OT, which were right down the hall. (I still had to sit in my wheelchair for further distances, like ST). I would be out of inpatient rehab as soon as humanly possible.
If I couldn’t do it for New Year’s, well then as soon after as I could,
That’s all I’ve got for this Part, I should have Part 6 up some time next week,
Until then, love you guys!