Friday, August 20, 2010

Rehab revisited...

It has been way too long since my last blog. I think that is partly because a lot of the things I felt like I needed to get out of my system have already been said. Another reason is that reliving it every day takes a toll. Now I have had a break and received an amazing email from my favorite nurse at Scott and White, I am ready to start again.  Traci made me realize that I have to finish my story, not so much for myself anymore, but for that one random person that might happen upon it and get some inspiration from it. 

I rushed through most of the rehab story because it was so frustrating and I really didn't want to get into it but it is important so here we go. 

Living in a rehab facility is really depressing...especially when you are the only one under the age of 70. I don't want to give the impression that Integra wasn't a great place or that the people there weren't amazing, but it is not a happy place to be. First of all, being back in Plano but not being able to go home was much harder than being in Temple. It was great to be able to see all of my friends that couldn't make the weekly 4 hour trip to Temple. As I got sicker of hospital food, someone was always bringing me fast food while Kip and Kristi brought me a home made meal every week. The medical staff joked about my room being standing room only on weekends and that was pretty much the truth. Those were the happy times. 

The unhappy times where when I was forced to accept reality...I was not going to walk out of there and back into life as I knew it. Unlike the hospital where it was all about encouragement and getting better, rehab was facing the cold, hard fact that I would be going home with a walker and wheelchair and that my goal was to be able to walk with a walker (if I was very lucky, maybe a cane). 

Like I said in the last blog, I started feeling really sorry for myself. I remember the day I decided I had to fight. I was sitting in my wheelchair, mad that they were making me sit up when they knew it hurt my tailbone to sit up. Even with oxycodone it hurt.  I was also mad that everyone was starting to get tough with me (friends and family) and telling to get really mad and fight. What did they know?  They didn't have their whole world destroyed!  They didn't have to hop down a hall on one foot every freaking day!  No one understood how bad it was but poor little me!  Then it hit me like a ton of bricks...if I didn't stop sitting in that wheelchair thinking that I was the only one in the world that had been through anything this traumatic, I was going to sit in that wheelchair the rest of my life!  I decided I was NOT going to live the rest of my life in a wheelchair no matter what it took!  

Making that decision was not all it took of course. I had to stop thinking about how bad it was and think about how lucky I was. It could have been much, much worse. I also had to remember that there were millions of people that would give anything to be in as good a position as I was in!  I had a choice of being in a wheelchair or walking, even it was in a walker. A lot of people don't have that choice. I was also very fortunate to have a good job with great benefits so, with some of the wreck insurance and some savings, paying my bills wasn't a problem and the hundreds of thousands of dollars of hospital bills were all being paid by my health insurance. 

With my attitude adjusted, I started taking pride in getting dressed before my occupational therapist came to help me get dressed. I would try to make it at least two or three more hops when I thought I just couldn't go any farther. My only problem was that nagging pain in my right wrist. 

Yes, as mentioned earlier, xrays showed it was broken in the accident (there was partial healing).  All of the weight I was putting on it during my hopping expeditions had irritated the healing bone to the point that I has to go see my orthopedist to make sure the rehab x-rays were correct. At least this trip to the dr was in a handicap van and not an ambulance. I was still a couple of weeks away getting clearance to put some weight on my left leg but my physical therapist told me make sure I asked about moving that date up. Here I am, with a date to go home (referenced in the last blog), and now my wrist is broken and my orthopedist tells me that I can't put any weight on it for a few weeks. Something welled up inside of me and I told him NO!  I had to have either my left leg or my wrist. He was taken aback but agreed to letting me put a little weight on my left leg!  

The next day my walker got a crazy, raised arm rest to take the weight off my wrist, putting it on my forearm. I also got hit with the news that my release date might be delayed because I was going to have to learn to walk with the new contraption. This was not an option for me!  I hopped the farthest I had ever hopped that morning and, in the afternoon, started actually walking with limited weight on my left leg!  I was going home!

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