Writing, although challenging to see these little fleeting letters, has proven incredibly therapeutic for me up here in Denver. There is NOT a lot to do. I have about three hours of PT and OT a day, other than that, Blake and I fill our time by wheeling around the hospital and finding new little nooks to sit. and. wait. I know rest is a good thing. Right now, my brain gets so overloaded so easily that going to the cafeteria for lunch is a challenge (one I love, but one I do have to recognize). For someone who usually loves to have 18 different things going on all at the same time, this is a huge adjustment. Concentrating on turning a key in a lock during occupational therapy yesterday proved challenging whereas three weeks ago I was: cooking tacos, while folding laundry, dodging Hot-Wheels, studying for a test, moderating a toddler MMA match, listening to music in the background, cats and dog in the mix, and loving every second of it. I am confident in the fact that it will simply take some time to get my brain back in order. I mean when you brake your leg, are you kicking a soccer ball again in a week and a half?
The therapists here are some of the most incredible, patient, kind, observant, and encouraging people I’ve ever met. In fact, I’d like to take some time here to point out the monumental difference any staff member makes on a patients recovery. From neurosurgeon to housekeeper (ours is named Comfort and we are in love with her) their attitudes have had such an impact on my recovery and MY attitude. The times I had supportive nurses, holding my hand, guarding my space when I’d lost all dignity, fighting when they knew I didn’t have the strength, pushing me when they knew I did have it, or simply just being kind, those are the times I remember feeding off of what good I could tell was coming from this. I knew these people meant well and were going to protect me.
Also, Therapy Dogs.
God bless every therapy dog.
I have to say, there were one or two nurses who did NOT protect or encourage, they stuffed me full of medicines I did not need which left me sick and sleepless for nights on end, then, they were irritated when I needed to call them “too often” so I could be sick through the whole night (bed alarm meant no getting out of bed without a nurse and tech present). Those were some of the most scarring times of this entire experience. I don’t believe it’s just because I felt so awful either, it is because I was made to feel awful about feeling awful. I was a whole lot sicker a week ago in ICU but felt supported and strengthened by staff members. The thought of having that same night nurse was probably scarier than not knowing how many walls I’d run into that next day. (I only had her two nights, I’ve slept like a baby since!) On the Neuro floor, my nurse for the majority of the time was pretty new, so he tripped up here and there-thankfully nothing too big-but his attitude about it made it much better. We were friends, and he made sure of it. He made sure that whatever wrongs he did, he made right. When we did have a concern (um, I think you forgot to flush the line), he completely swallowed his pride and dealt with it, thanking US for helping. I am ever so grateful for his attitude, and I believe he will make an incredible nurse. When I was finally stable enough to head down for a post operative MRI, my IV was compromised and they needed to place a new one in order to inject the contrast during the scan. I have crummy veins to begin with, and it took no less that four different nurses and 2.5 hours until we were good to go. (When it was all said and done, I ended up having 19 different IV’s placed, removed, blown, etc.) The people working with me that night were doing everything in their power to comfort me try after try. They kept asking me how I was doing, and even got me some music to listen to at some point. I don’t know if my arms will ever be the same again, but oddly enough, my fear of IVs has not increased too much from this experience.
In physical therapy, they started by showing me how to properly use the walker and gait belt and all these different pieces of equipment, but now I’m doing things like stairs and cobblestone paths (still gait-belted of course). I have to remain in a wheel chair for now unless supervised by a physical therapist, but Blake has been properly trained on how to help me around the room which was MONUMENTAL. No more bed alarms and nurses flying in from every direction if I rolled over to quickly in bed! I feel myself getting stronger each and every day here, and even though I feel weird and clumsy, I believe all my limbs are just fine, they just got jumbled for a minuet.
Occupational therapy is interesting. I can manage most of the things they give me, my strength on the left side could still use some improvement, but the factors of these tasks that I’m struggling with are not meant to be struggled with. I can’t see the questions or the key holes or the puzzle lines. It’s not that they are blurry, or black, or even that I have double vision. Sometimes are better than others, but I just realize, it’s simply not there. Kind of like a sun spot. You can’t usually make them out, you just know they are there and it’s hard or impossible to see though them. Imagine those little buggers getting in the way, moving and dancing all the time however they darn well want. Rude. It definitely gets worse the harder my brain works, and my right eye struggles a lot more than my left, but for now, that is basically the extent of our knowledge. The eye specialist we saw right before surgery is trying to come see me as soon as he can here (could be today) to try and get a grasp on whats going on. Other than that, we wait and get stronger each day!