Monday, August 29, 2011

Physical Rehab Day 1 (Sorta)

The bloodsucker came at three AM. She left behind her telltale sign, a cotton ball held in place with white  tape. When I peeked beneath this morning the puncture below was tiny and dry. From this draw the lab will be able to tell what I'm low on, what I'm high on (potasium, blood sugar, bad but not illegal) and what adjustments in medications I will require. It's my first Monday here in physical rehab, it's 8 AM and I think they forgot me.

I'm here because of severe lower back pain that has gradually immobilized me over the past few months. I'll give more details of my back story as I go along, for today I'll stick to current events. After Friday evaluations and a treatment plan meeting set for 2 PM, I expect physical therapy and occupational therapy to start in earnest shortly.  There should be a finger stick, morning meds, a vitals check and breakfast in my room before then. Nothing has happened yet. They are not big on letting you know ahead of time around here.

I woke before 6, stiff and twisted in the position I fell asleep sometime after midnight. The blue leglifter device was still around my right ankle. This thing looks like a stiff dogleash, the kind mimes use to walk an invisible dog. I used it to lift my right leg over my left so I could turn on my side last night. Sleeping on my side is a privilege I've not had sleeping in a lounge chair in my lower level family room for the past month. It doesn't feel that good on this hard bed, but a change of position is highly recommended to prevent bedsores or skin breakdowns as they more delicately call them these days.

Too stiff to reach the leglifter, I slowly pushed my leg toward the edge of the mattress. It moved until I could sit up enough to manually push my left leg in the same direction. I could have raised the head of the bed except that remote had popped off the hand rail some time in the night. There is a potty chair at right angle to my bed, just a few steps and a half turn away. I reach it by walker and pain, a feat I could not accomplish without human support Friday when I arrived.  I do it on my own now with no less pain and fear of falling but less indignity. One visit often takes me an hour with decision making holding me back coming and going.

I just rang the call button to remind them I'm here, so things should start hopping soon. I have to stow this laptop somewhere since I don't trust security in my unlocked room yet. Lord knows they pop in on me unawares often enough with soft rap on the door to announce themselves. Last night I was on the potty chair when the male nurse and the local "computer expert" resident barged in to help me get online with the guest WiFi. When they realized my embarrassment they ducked back out.

The nurse assistant answered the button and I asked for my pain pills. I heard her announcing as she left, "Everybody wants pain pills this morning, woman. 502, 509."

Gotta go, back later to proof and write more. Hit publish post