Monday, September 22, 2008

A day in the life of Physical Therapy

So, when you go undergo rehab with Steadman Hawkins. You get to be treated to top end physical therapists at the Howard Head Clinic. Each of the joint teams have developed rehabilitation protocols for each of the specialized surgeries the doctors' perform. They work with all walks of life and levels of rehabilitation, from ordinary folk to elite athletes. I am always amazed, and motivated when working the staff. I have had the fortunate position to work with some of their top PTs, and I attribute a lot of my recovery, good humor, and subsequent ability to move through the surgeries to the Physical Therapy team.

Going to PT is an everyday job. For the first 3 weeks, I went everyday, including Saturdays and Sundays, two times a day. That was exhausting. Now, I go 4 days a week, for a couple hours a day. I am expected to do other structured strengthening exercises in the later part of the day, along with some activities on weekend. It is still exhausting and rehabilitation is an everyday job. Talking about nose to the grindstone.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Patience of Being a Patient

Being a "patient" has many challenges, mostly related to patience, with self, for others, and sometimes for the self. it is an especially challenging experience for everyone directly involved in the "recovery process" both for those of able body and not so able. Sounds like we are cleaning up after a "natural" disaster, and in many ways the very first weeks of recuperation requiring a lot of cleanup, especially, for those mobile helpers that have to bear so much burden. Without Larry's indefatigable help, albeit, occasionally grumpy, I would not be in as good of shape and out of a bad slump.

It is hard to realize, unless you have the experience of being laid up, how much we take for granted that we do for ourselves each and every day, from the simplest of reaching for a glass of water, throwing something into the garbage can, being able to walk into your bedroom to grab a sweater when you are chilled. I bet that we perform those mindless acts without thought over one thousand times a day. You only realize how much you do those things we you are "laid up" and having to rely quite heavily on someone else to essentially throw out your dirty tissues, and be your arms, legs, etc.

This is a really big challenge to negotiate between partners and loved ones, between laid up one and non-laid up ones. Patients (at least me) go through this difficult convoluted process of deciding what is too embarrassing to ask for. And, at the same time, they are stuck in bed screaming inside wanting to just be able to get up and pick up something. There is this terrible balance between being patient for things, able to request something, and not over requesting."Honey, can you get me a glass of water?... Oh, and I need a straw... Can, I have some crackers with that?.. Oh, can you reach for me that blanket?...I need more ice in the ice machine, the foot pumps stopped working..." It goes on and on, then there is the gratuitous stuff, like staplers, and highlighters, and magazines.

Friday, September 12, 2008

6 days Post OP -- Ok so now it is 7 days -- now it is 14

Well, this has been a long haul. It is hard to believe that just over 6 weeks ago, I/we were put in the position to make the decision to come back Vail for and unplanned surgery. This was quite a surprise for someone who nearly schedules their life around surgery. Sad but true. On the left is what the livingroom looks like in the morning after I "scrabble" out of bed to head to PT. It has turned into central recuperation station.
In synopsis, the shit hit the fan July 18th. 

So since then, we (Larry and I) have been grappling and scrambling with many complicated issues from setting up the house to be taken care of, along with Enzo, addressing changes in the kids visitation weekend, getting a house sitter, fixing the frigging leak in the pond, blah, blah blah, getting a gardener so that I don't loose the garden I started.  It was like being squeeze through a tiny hole that neither of us were small of enough to go through. But, thankfully, despite multiple hiccups we made it through and I am here 6+ days post op and doing fairly well.  

We literally left California, on August 18th, 1- not knowing if my disability payments would continue and 2- whether the surgery would be covered. (That was stressful). Thankfully point 1 was resolved, only because I was having surgery. Apparently one of my many doctors actually submitted a report stating I was capable of sitting continuously for 6 hours a day. And, to top it off, he charged me an arm and a leg ($800) for one office visit, of which he will not write off any amount. That is insult to injury. The insurance battle is one left for me to address once I am a bit more clear headed.  

We arrived in Vail nearly 2 weeks ago, Monday. I had four days to get the condo -- 2 + multiple loft bedroom and 2 bathroom condo together so that it was functional and less cluttered. One of the challenges of moving into a fairly high turnover unit is that there is chaos in the kitchen and furniture is packed in. Additionally, there were many other mechanical issues we needed to address so that we could have a dining table and chairs that would hold together -- for that we worked with Ellen Eaton, one of the owners of  Smith Eaton Real Estate who is on the ball and responsive. I would recommend her. And, since I am particular and need a certain feel to the environment I could not rest until things were workable, down to setting up a makeshift office space. We went to the Thrift shop, Walmart, and local consignment shops to setup house just so. And, we made it under the wire, when I got on my bike Friday morning to get to the hospital for surgery.  

Now, ten plus days later, any many physical therapy sessions later (2xs a day seven days a week). I am beginning to be more clear headed and able to do something other than be attached to machines all day long, which is currently mostly the case. 

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