I don’t mean to make this blog all about the accident; there are, after all, other things happening in the world around me. But I did want to share a bit of the recovery process, and some lessons I am learning along the way.
As an English teacher – and lover of the written word – I must confess the most frustrating part is the lack of communication between health care entities. Perhaps the system is overworked – perhaps the pace is too fast – perhaps they don’t wish to take the time to clarify directives. But whatever the reason… I seem to be left scratching my head most of the time.
- On Thursday, Jan 14… doctor’s PA tells me I should be leaving that day. I voice surprise, since I just had hip surgery twelve hours before. She had no record of the hip surgery.
- On Friday, Jan 15… different PA tells me I will be going home on Saturday. I voice surprise again, as every one – including the doctor, nurses and therapists – indicated I was ready to leave that day. My nurse successfully advocated for my release.
- My first day home (Saturday) the physical therapist gives me a few basic leg exercises and tells me I will be ready to do stairs in 7-10 days. I’m thrilled.
- A week later she indicates I can do no more than 50% weight-bearing for four weeks – therefore stairs are out of the question. I’m disappointed.
- On Tuesday, Jan 19… the Occupational Therapist starts me on elbow exercises. I am shocked how much the elbow atrophied in just one short week. I’m petrified to begin OT for my shoulder after six weeks of non-use
- On Friday, Jan 22… I am encouraged to use my hand and arm (up to the elbow) as much as possible. I try to do so throughout the day, leaving the sling on only at night (9:00pm – 9:00am).
- On Friday, Jan 29… I’m told that I am no longer 50% weight-bearing on hip (and actually, was released from hospital as “weight as tolerated”) but I am to wear the sling at all times except during exercises, dressing, and showering. This means fewer restrictions for walking (yay!), but more limitation for the arm (boo!).
For someone who tries to be a good patient and follow the rules – it’s difficult to feel successful when the rules continue to shift.
I am still grateful though – and continue to count my blessings.
- I can now practice walking normal – on Monday I will be cleared for stairs – and in a week I will be cane free.
- I have become friends with my physical therapist – not an expected outcome. Her last home health visit will be this coming Thursday and I shall miss her greatly.
- I can almost straighten my elbow (I have about 5 more degrees to go). I am allowed to do as many of these exercises as I please – and I vow I will not regress.
- I will begin arm therapy February 15. While I am not looking forward to this, I do have a goal. I want to travel – and I want to travel independently. I need to be able to carry my own suitcase and store it in the overhead bin. I need full range motion of my shoulder. This travel image will carry me through the pain of therapy.
- Wearing the sling does not prevent me from typing. I can still read and write – my two passions – with no limitations.
- I can now wear jeans (I hate elasticized pants) – and feel like a normal person.
- I can shower on my own – although I do use a bench, just in case.
- I can wash my hair – although I need help drying/styling it. Fortunately my husband is more than willing to help in any way he can.
- I can still teach – although in a different fashion. I taught my first “remote” course on Monday and it was a success! I will continue to teach in this manner until probably the end of the month.
- While I am still limited to one floor in the house – my natural “hermit” personality doesn’t find this at all limiting (in fact, I might even like the excuse…)
- I have so many friends – more than I realized. They have brought food, stayed to visit, chatted with me online, prayed for me, and offered to do anything I need. While I do not enjoy this temporary dependency… I am blessed to have so many willing to help.
- Our wedding vows are for real. Thirty-four years ago when we said, for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health… we did not understand the magnitude of those words. My poor husband has come to my rescue more times than I can count. I am blessed indeed.
I continue to find fun throughout the day, and live life with purpose. Perhaps I am a bit claustrophobic, but that is a small price to pay. Baby steps… each and every day.