Wednesday, November 14, 2012

SPINE FUSION Acute Rehab. Why Occupational Therapy?

We've pretty much nailed down the possibilities of the sponge bath.  A word has been added to the whiteboard:  independent.  Who are they kidding--I'm not supposed to get out of bed or out of the wheelchair when I'm alone, so I haven't been to the bathroom alone.  By the way, I was the one who suggested letting me use the bathroom.  There isn't much ventilation in there.  I don't want to faint again; I need the door open.  I have met at least one stranger with the door open, but modesty is the first to go in a hospital.

And in the bathroom, here's that latest safety-design, curbless shower that I haven't used.  Am I not cleared by the doctor to shower?  Of course, I didn't get any list telling me to bring shower shoes. . .

But ignore the future or not, I will be going home.  Even if we don't live alone, there are a couple hundred ways to mess up our remodeled spines at home.  The family will be at work or at school much of the time.  All the things we put where we wanted them at home are now things we won't be able to reach with the Barbie Bend.  Or with this delicate "grabber" that will pick up a fried egg, but won't pick up the frying pan off the bottom shelf.

The occupational therapist (OT) is working with me on doing things by myself.  She takes me to the event room/lunch room/toy room.  There is a bathtub.  It doesn't have shower doors, which I'll be dealing with at home.  Luckily talking with my hands is my specialty.  I show her where the imaginary shower doors are, and what I can grab onto at home, like the flat-top toilet tank, so I'll never unconsciously grab for those unstable doors when getting out of the tub.  I even get into the tub to show her I can step that high. 

I make a mental note to buy a strong, long-handled bath brush to scrub my calves and feet.  This toy long-handled sponge I had to buy at the other hospital will last about two weeks.

We do some walking and stepping exercises and again I'm shocked by how fast I get tired.  And of course we practice getting up off the low, low sofa.  She hands me some cute lime green two-pound, Head-Start dumbbells and assures me Target has them. I doubt that Target delivers them.  I enjoy them and I'm glad I can lift something besides my fork. . .

The room here is crowded, and since the wheelchair sitting is part of rehab, something is always moved to make room for it. The meals cart/bedside cart is usually what gets moved away from me.  Or my walker.  The real bedside table is somewhere else,  to make room for all the moveable stuff, so the purse and phone and call button and my book are often in the bed and falling out of the bed.  Often I forget to remind the nurses and aides before they leave that I have to be able to reach my water and hopefully my glasses and my book and a tissue.  Helpless. 

It's hopeless trying to write in bed. 

All along, I notice most hospital folk I meet have not gone through this surgery and they can't really picture what it is like not to be unable to reach  the call button that fell thru the cute plastic side rails and is tangled up down there.  I call "somebody!"  Repeatedly.  Helpless.

I think about that movie, where the doctor recovered from his cancer makes all the newbie doctors take all the nasty tests patients have to take.

It's a blessing that my daughter will come down here to get me started at home.  A big blessing.  (I am unable to think beyond that day, and how I will manage when she goes home.)

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