Posts Tagged ‘therapists’

A Year Of Challenges

April 2, 2013

I have been thinking about a year ago at this time – I was still in rehab with a broken hip and waiting for the doc to tell me I could have full weight-bearing on my right leg.  When Feb. 24th came around, I wasn’t sure I wanted to think about it as an anniversary, but what would I call it?  Marking of a milestone or event?  Still haven’t figured it out yet – fortunately the world won’t come to an end if I don’t have a name for it.  The other weekend Eddie and I were on  Pacific Highway South, we passed Stafford and his comment was “I don’t ever want to think about that place again!”.

I had a different feeling about it – I think of it fondly because of the people I met and who were so good to me as I began to recover.  I think about my room on the first floor – all my own, not having to share with anyone.  It had a view west and I saw Puget Sound and Vashon Island across the way; plus I saw the planes landing from the south and taking off to the south.  There were lights on at night, plus I looked down on Pac Highway South and saw the traffic and the lights.

I was the first time in a long time the focus was on me, healing, therapy and just doing normal personal things.  I was alone in my room – I had books and writing material but somehow I was too tired to touch any of them.  I was tired all the time but still was able to laugh with the aides, the therapists, the staff in the dining room as well as the doc and nurses.  I still had to deal with stuff for Mom and for Eddie as well – plus listen to him complain about dealing with Mom as if I had no idea what it was like.  I did spend a lot of time in my room with the door closed, it was great.

One thing I learned was that when I ask for something, make sure it is very specific because I don’t know what will show up otherwise.  I kept thinking and saying, I need a break – I see now I needed to say 2 weeks in a spa because I ended up with a broken hip.  In some ways it was a bit of a spa but not in the usual way.  I remember when I went up to therapy there was the smell of newly baked cookies – they had a jar on the front desk for anyone who wanted them.  It was easy to recognize the peanut butter cookies, but not always other kinds.

What I remember most are the aides who were always there for me.  Eleanor usually came in to help me get dressed – a tall, well endowed black woman not only chewed gum but also snapped it quite often.  I thought that would drive me crazy faster than anything.  Strangely it didn’t.  Eleanor was like a mama bear, she took care of her charges and defends them , even going up to therapy to make sure they weren’t terrorizing her charges.  She had a great sense of humor and we laughed a lot.  I think she was from the South somewhere – for some reason Alabama comes to mind.  One day she was helping me put on my bra and  I said something about “the girls” were in all the way.  apparently she had never heard that expression before and found it funny.

She didn’t suffer fools gladly but if I needed her, she was there for me.  About three weeks after I arrived, I woke up with a terrible flare-up, I hurt all over and she came in and found me crying on the john.  She was a very comforting mama bear and was so good to me.  When I went upstairs to therapy, I was still having a miserable time, so Carol, my OT, put on hot packs for shoulders and dipped my hands in paraffin.  It helped and as usual, by afternoon I was more comfortable.  It wasn’t the only time I had trouble, it wasn’t until I was able to take the Methotrexate again for three weeks before I began to feel much better.  They had stopped it so my incision would heal well.  I don’t remember the doc telling me that, though I was pretty doped up in the hospital for a bit – not sure I remember very much of that part.

I remember one time when I was working with Sabrina, a PT, and I was having problems that day.  I finally told her “I don’t mean to be uncooperative, it just hurts more than usual”.  Her reply surprised me – “Uncooperative!  You have never refused to do anything we have asked!”.  They could tell  when I was really having trouble and not just dogging it.  There were times when I was there and someone would refuse to do things, kept saying it hurts.  Or refuse to work with a particular therapist, though no one was sure why.

I am forever grateful to every one at Stafford, they made it possible for me to leave on my ow two feet and a wheely walker.

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Hugs and High Fives

September 15, 2012

With all the stuff happening with my Mom, I hadn’t really paid much attention to how I am walking and what’s going on with my hip.  I am pleased to say that I don’t use my cane much, though I do have it in the car in case I go somewhere unfamiliar or with a lot of people around.  Most of the time I don’t use it – Wow! that is so cool!  All the hard work over the past few months has really paid off.  This week as I was coming back from the adult family home to pick up papers to sign, I decided to go visit my friends at Stafford Health Care.  I have planned to do it, but my goal was to be at a point that I could walk in there without my cane and be about the way I was walking when I fell.

When I walked in, it felt very familiar, as if I had come home.  I went over to the therapy room first and surprised the therapists.  Most of the ones I worked with are still there, Tony left to be a substitute at different centers Consonus contracts to; Sebrina has moved to Florida.  But Carol was there – we spent many hours together and she  devised new games to help me stretch parts of me that weren’t working as well.  I forgot to ask her if she is doing “Tape My Butt” with any one – she had a great time doing it with me.  And it worked.  Marilyn is still there and I had a hug from her; Michael is still there and showed me pictures of his daughter, now 6 months old.  Marion who was my occupational therapist was there and was pleased to see how well I am doing, plus a couple of therapists I hadn’t worked with but know me.  Arthur is now full time – he was a substitute and was away for a bit.  When he came back, the other therapists wanted to surprise him because they kid him about his mustache.  So someone found some stick-on  mustaches and had them all on when he came back to the therapy room.  I was the only patient there and they gave me one as well – was he surprised to see us all with hair on our upper lips.  He laughed and was up for a group picture as well.  They did a lot of kidding around but they also did a great job of helping all of us improve so we could go home.  It felt good to hear them say I am one of their success stories.

I went down tot he first floor to see Eleanor, she was my aide most of the time and a wonderful woman.  She had to do everything for me in the beginning and took wonderful care of me.  As I got better she began to tell me “You can do ti, I’m not doing it for you any more”.  yet when I had that terrible flare up and she found me bawling my eyes out sitting on the toilet, she was a warm loving Mama Bear comforting me and helping me to do things.  She doesn’t suffer fools gladly, but when you need help, she is there for you.

I was so glad she was working that day, so I went down the hall until I heard her voice.  I found the room she was in and stood in the doorway until she saw me.  Then I stepped away a bit so she could finish with her patient in that room.  I got a big hug from her and she was delighted to see me walking without a cane.  She did her job well and I am so very grateful to her.  She too said I am one of her success stories and it was lovely to have such a warm welcome.  I also stopped by the nurses station and said Hello, most of them I recognized and they recognized me.  I felt so at home there – though I have no desire to go live there again.  I have said I would miss seeing all my friends when I left to go home and it still feels that way.

I didn’t see Katrina because she was doing showers on the third floor and I don’t think LeAnn the nurse was working that day, nor did I see Theta – I was sorry not to see them and give me hugs as well.  But I plan to go back again ever once in awhile.  They said very few people come back to visit – I wonder why.  In spite of the pain and difficulties during those 8 weeks, it was a very positive experience for me, all those wonderful people made the difference.  I am so glad I went to visit, I was delighted to see them and it was wonderful to have such a warm welcome.


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