Saturday, November 10, 2012

SPINE FUSION - Occupational (and vehicular) Therapy

I've always thought occupational therapy would be teaching me to run a drill press, or just get the round pegs into any of the holes with injured fingers.  Instead, the occupational therapists (OTs) are taking me seriously about living alone. 

The shower in my room's bathroom has been studiously ignored by everyone.  Now I'm in the wheelchair with a pink basin in my lap.  I had learned about NO-rinse soap at the first hospital, due to the wonderful "shampoo cap."  Now the basin contains some warm washcloths with no-rinse soap on them.  I wash the top half, and get the sputum basin to brush my teeth.  I'll wash the bottom half in the bathroom.

Attempts to do my flossing and brushing standing up have lasted less than five minutes.  The therapist saved me from melting down onto the walker; she said five minutes is enough standing at first.  I did the Barbie bend for the teeth brushing, of course.

And a nurse gave me this spray bottle to use as a sort of portable bidet.  Of course, if I drop it, I'm out of luck since I don't bring  The Grabber to the bathroom.

After lunch, a bit of clandestine vehicle-therapy.  Someone has left my wheelchair unlocked!  (I'm supposed to be able to use it as long as I don't get up when alone, but one lock is too tough for me. )I swivel the food/beside table out of my way.  The area on the sides of the bed are too narrow for all the equipment in this room, but I am Highly Motivated.  By backing up and practicing a bit, I get all the way around the bed, get some of my possessions off the wonderful wide window ledge. 

Luckily my walker is on this side.  Using it for balance, I'm out of the wheelchair and into the "guest chair."   It seems to be upholstered concrete.  But the excitement of freedom is wonderful--this is how my baby brother must have felt escaping from his crib at night and fixing crackers and milk in the dark.  From now on I'm on the hunt for another wheel chair, though I know I won't need one at one.  Probably.

Of course, I have to back the wheelchair out and around the bed to get back to the starting point with minimum damage to the wall.  I'm too chicken to go into the hall for fear they will double surveillance in future.

Later the OT gives me a peek into the room where there are a few therapy items.  There are some home-made stairs and a home-made "curb" for practicing.  We practice getting into and out of the only furniture in the building where my feet reach the floor, a mushy sofa.  I know I won't be allowed on the backless piano bench.  I hate how hard it is just to get out of this sofa.  

I've been here a few days before someone remembers the foot rests on the wheelchair can be raised so my feet don't turn blue, and to avoid some of the pain from the too-tall chair.  So much for avoiding blood clots.

I plan how I really will manage in the shower at home, so I can sound ready to go.  It has shower doors, and no grab bars.  I had refused a shower stool in the other hospital because I hadn't seen it.  Now I will have to buy one.

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