Saturday, September 10, 2011

Time Flies When You're Having Rehab


You may be wondering how I can have no time to write when I am sitting at a skilled nursing facility with only 2 sixty to seventy-eight minute of scheduled physical and occupational therapy Monday through Friday.

Me too. I should keep an oral diary of how I spend the minutes of every day, but I would be afraid to look at the results. I know that they will wake me at 7:30 each morning to ask if I will be coming down to breakfast. Usually I am awake two hours by then.  5:30 the pain often wakes me and I spend the time it takes the sun to rise trying to unwrap myself fro the coil of sleeping without crying or moaning. One morning when I gave in too loudly, I had 2 CNAs at my door thinking I must have fallen.

So from 5:30 am to 10:30 pm when I have settled in bed for the night is 17 hours. Where do they go? Here's a schedule from memory of one typical day:

5:30 to 7:30- Waking up, sublimating pain, wishing someone would guess oe sense I need pain meds and bring them to me. I don't squeeze my call button because I like to think of myself as stoic. It takes part of that time to hurtle myself off the bed toward my walker  for the three steps and turn shuffle that gets me to the bedside potty chair. The potty chair has an invisible call button on it. I know this because someone always knocks on my door as soon as I sit on it.

7:30 to 8:10 Dressing, transferring to wheelchair and wheeling down to the dining room. Pulling up my pants consumes the greatest part of this time. I can't stand up to pull them up yet because it means I have to let go of the walker, reach around and tug--a destabilizing act. I have to wiggle, rock, and tug left right and middle to get them up to my waist. A dip at the back center seam worthy of a plumber is the common result of this system.

8:10 to 9:10 Breakfast:  Most of this time is spent waiting for the meal to be served. Officially the dining room opens at 7:30 but nothing is ready to serve at that time, not even the coffee. This meal is you choice of a combination of eggs, bacon, sausage, juice, coffee, tea, and bread of some kind. You can add a hot or cold cereal. You can have it all or just one item. Fruit is scarce except for the juices, raisins in the bran or a banana which they will grudgingly fetch from the kitchen for you if you are not on the "no banana" list as I am.

9:10 to 12:30 Therapies:  I know this is 3 hours and I am scheduled for 2 to 2 and 1/2. The leftover time is taken up by vital sign checks, meds, and rest which the therapists are very generous (some might say too generous) to give you between exercises.

12:30 to 1:15 Lunch:  Back to the dining room. This is the main meal of the day. Since Wednesday this week, we have a posted menu--state inspectors are here, more on that in another post--but often before that no one knew what we were having until it arrived from the main dining room kitchen.  Lunch consists of a protein, a starch, a vegetable, a bread, and a dessert.  An alternate protein is usually available.  Typical menus are fish, (or ham) potatoes, broccoli and a bowl of canned apricots; or chicken breast, (or shrimp) potatoes, mixed vegetables and apple crumble.  The other day someone complained at a meeting with the state inspectors that there should be a choice of dessert for diabetics.  Boooo! Up till that time I fooled myself into thinking all the desserts were made sugar free, otherwise why were they giving them to us diabetics.  That noon, after the meeting that broke up at 11, the diabetic alternative appeared. Pineapple cake was stripped of its sugared pineapple topping and given to us plain.

1:15 to 5:00 Free: A large expanse of time. I should write. Instead, I call friends, text my sister, read magazines, play angry birds, work puzzles, and sometimes entertain visitors.  On somedays, without notice, the therapy schedule flip flops to the afternoon. This makes the freed morning time useless because you never know when your therapist might pop in to take you to the gym giving you both morning and afternoon sessions.

5:00 to 6:00 Supper: a lighter meal than lunch. often a sandwich and soup. or a salad and chips.  Usually the dessert is pudding or a fruit cup.

6:00 to 10:30 Free: One more ample allotment of time. I should write here. But my sister visits almost every evening and how can I ignore her to do that?

10:30 to bed where I lie awake until 1, 2 or even 3. Another time to write. Instead I watch TV

There you have it. My schedule where I find time for writing here at rehab but I don't do it. Rehab is not unlike home in that way. I did not include the time I spend moping, dozing. sometimes crying.

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