I could write volumes about this experience, but I can tell you one thing -- it would not be balanced as for the good and the bad. This has been a horrendous experience, and one I wouldn't wish on anyone.
So for my first post back, I'll just give a status report:
When I arrived here in rehab, I couldn't sit up in bed without help. I couldn't use the toilet, walk, dress myself (i could do bra and top, but not the bottoms). My ass was full of bedsores and I hadn't combed my hair or had a shower in two weeks. I was on oxygen 24 hours and had four nebulizer treatments a day and a handful of pills.
Slowly I could get up, get out of my wheelchair, walk with a walker and finally it was time for my "toilet training" -- yes, that's what they call it. I couldn't use the toilet until I was trained. That consisted of reminding me to wipe myself and flush. She must have noticed the look on my face since she said, "You probably knew that, right?" and I said Yes.
So toilet privileges was lifechanging. Then I got my first shower. They put you in this white plastic wheelchair and wheel you in. You're left alone in this roll in shower, and I have to say I have given this great thought and either my memory is dim or else this shower was better than the best sex I've had. It was glorious. I remember just taking that handheld shower and holding it to my face, then hooking it over my shoulder so the water would run down my back... clean hair! Smelling good! Now I get a shower every other day and I am basically on my own. Get to the shower room by myself, get set up, take my shower and just enjoy the whole ritual. I asked my PT woman if she would write in my chart that it was crucial to my rehab to have a shower every day. She laughed, but said no, she couldn't do that.
I crossed one more thing off my can't do list last night. That is that I could do almost everything on my own except one -- and that was sitting on the edge of my bed and then swinging my legs up on the bed -- a movement that 99% of people take for granted. What was bad is that I'd have to ring for an aide to lift my legs up and that could involve a 30-minute wait. But last night, I did it myself finally. An aide had told me that is the last thing most people can do by themselves so I am not alone in this.
I have a lovely woman for a roommate who calls me Lady Love. We basically mind our own business, but we watch Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune together. She has MS and fell and is in pretty bad shape -- can't get out of bed by herself and they use this contraption called a Hoyer Lift which means they put you on this piece of canvas with grommets that get hooked into the machinery that lifts you -- here's a picture from Google images -- it looks like a crazy amusement park ride, althought this isn't that amusing.:
I have lots of thoughts about being institutionalized -- being absorbed into an instituion. Karen McClellan had brought me "Orange is the new black" which is the true story of a "normal" woman who ends up in federal prison on a very old drug charge and the similarities are incredible. It's a good read.
So now since the wound doctor came to check out my ass, I couldn't go to PT this morning and so I'm off to there now.