It’s been a long and emotional 5 weeks since I left work. My world has gotten very small, concerned with getting in and out of bed, and having home health care coming in for occupational and physical therapy. I thought I’d write an update to catch everyone up.
I fell on Sunday night May 25th and had to have the 911 and firemen come and pick me up off the floor. I wasn’t hurt, got lots of padding and things seemed okay. Monday went normal. Tuesday morning, I got up and into my chair from the bathroom and came out to the living room to where I spend my days on the loveseat. Whatever ‘oomph’ you use to rock yourself up to a standing position no longer worked. I tried for almost an hour to get out of my chair and transfer to the loveseat. I finally decided to call 911 and take a lovely ambulance ride to the hospital and have things checked out.
The ambulance ride itself was the worst…it felt like they had no shocks and we were hitting every bump while swaying back and forth like crazy. Extremely uncomfortable. I spent about 8 hours laying on a rock-hard gurney having tests and x-rays done and waiting for blood work. They did chest x-rays and an EKG to make sure there was nothing about the heart to cause my sudden weakness. I had been having some spotting the past few months so had them check that out also since I’m way past menopause. They did pelvic x-rays, a sonogram and a vaginal sonogram. That was exciting! TMI? I also asked them to x-ray my shoulder which had been hurting me for a couple of months. I found out I had dislocated my shoulder and that it was going in and out, but was better. They drew blood for tests and left me there for a while. When a doctor wandered in I asked why they didn’t x-ray the knees since I came to the ER because I couldn’t get up without help. And so they went ahead and took me back to x-ray to x-ray the knees. Of course, nothing was wrong with any of the tests and we already knew I had bone spurs in my knees keeping them bent and that I needed two knee replacements. The doctor came in after the long day and said I had so much wrong with me I should just expect to go live in a nursing home or go to a rehab hospital, but that I probably wouldn’t be approved for a rehab hospital. I just looked at him and thought how helpful and encouraging he was! And then they released me. I asked how I was supposed to get home since I came in an ambulance. They told me I could go home in an ambulance but would have to pay for it myself and it runs about $3000. I said alrighty then and went home in the car. They had to help me off the table I was on, my feet didn’t even touch the floor, and put me in a wheelchair and then help me get into the car. I wore a gown since I had come in my underclothes. It was very exciting. The one good thing about the day was I went home with a catheter so I wouldn’t have to worry about getting out of bed 6 times that night to go to the bathroom (like normal) when I couldn’t walk.
Since then, I’ve had home health care come out 5 days a week. 3 days were physical therapy…exercises for legs and knees, and 2 days were occupational therapy…upper body, arm exercises. I’ve gotten stronger and could tell when I transferred from chair to loveseat or vice versa, I could stand longer without the knees buckling and it was a little easier. I still can’t get up from my bed without a rear-end nudge from my daughter. Most days I can get out of my chair in the mornings to transfer to my loveseat without that nudge, but some days I am totally pulling my weight up by the arm of the loveseat and sometimes still need that nudge. It has been wonderful sleeping at night instead of stumbling from bed to bathroom and back 6 times, which of course I wouldn’t be able to do physically right now. You can imagine the shock of this change from one day of having a job and being sort of self-sufficient to the next day being totally handicapped and more dependent on help. It has been an emotional rollercoaster. Just knowing I’ve gotten stronger and the therapists felt I was improving was what helped me to stay sane…as well as all of the prayers people have sent my way! I started walking a little across my kitchen floor with the walker (the only non-carpet area) to help my mobility, but I am still not very stable. Occupational therapy released me yesterday and won’t be coming any more. Physical therapy for knees and legs will continue for another month and then I will be evaluated again.
I’ve gone to a new doctor, found out I had a urinary tract or bladder infection which explained most of the spotting I was having since the blood showed up in my catheter bag. The visit to the doctor just 2 weeks after my ER visit was traumatic and physically difficult. It set back my therapy for almost 5 days…I was just crippled up after the in and out of a different car and sitting in a wheelchair etc. for a couple of hours. That was distressing to me…I felt like I had made all of this progress and then was back to square one. Well, after the 5 days I had regained my strength again and continued to improve with my exercises. And then the next week I had the physical therapy supervisor come to evaluate me. I had already walked across my kitchen that morning but he wanted to see me get up and into my chair to compare to when he had come the first day I signed up for home health care, and then watch me walk across the kitchen so I had to walk again. And then he looked around and decided I should use my hallway for a ‘race track’ and had me go from the living room, down the hall, turn around and come back as fast as I could in my chair. I did it in 3 min 28 seconds which for me, on carpet, was fast. That day crippled me up again for 4 days and another relapse. I still haven’t been able to go back and forth in the hall that fast since then!
Anyway, that brings me up to today. I’ll be continuing physical therapy 3 days a week, doing my arm exercises on Tuesdays and Thursdays and praying a lot for improvement. I have an appointment with a urologist to see what I need to do about improving my bladder function, or keeping the catheter etc. and another follow-up visit with the doctor. The doctor is trying to get approval with my insurance for a new diet drug to help me lose some weight which would certainly help everything. I’m working on transferring medical records to a high risk orthopedic surgeon and possible appointment about knee surgery. That might take a while. Meanwhile, I still can’t get out of bed by myself and I’m too leery to practice my walking when Doug or Cathy is not here during the day. So…we’ll see what happens in the future. The journey continues…