Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Rehabilitation - Rewind, Relearn, Redo

It was no time after talking to the Ortho Docs about Rehab that a Rehab Doc was in to evaluate me.  The correct term for a doctor specializing in rehabilitation medicine is "Physiatrist ."  Well, of course the one who came to evaluate me looked just like Hillary Swank.  I kid you not, she was her younger version for sure.  Very nice as she took a pin and lightly poked me with it up and down my legs and feet to determine my sensation levels.  Yup, a regular safety pin.  By this time I had been so poked and prodded what did I care?  I just wanted to get on to my next steps in my recovery so if this is what needed to happen go for it.

I was moved to the Rehab floor on day 5 of my stay in Harborview.  When they have a bed for you on another unit these folks are serious about getting you moved.  They breeze in and say, "were moving you to Rehab" and I am saying ,"OK, great, my hubby will be here shortly to help," but they come in with a bed, a cart and they are moving me and all the stuff I have accumulated - flowers, books, general stuff.  I wondered if the hubby would find me in the maze of Harborview?  Off we go to Rehab.

My room on the Rehab floor is "Small "and it is a shared room.  Geez there is barely room for all of my stuff!  The hubby shows up and he does not like it I can tell.  With a bedside table, a walker, a wheel chair and a chair for visitors it is not the best use of space.  I am just happy to be there so I tell him to chill. 

I meet my roommate "V" who had a stroke and has been there for over a month.  She is nice and gives me some tips on what to expect.  I won't officially start rehab until the next day, but I am excited to be there even if I feel like I have gone from staying at a Westin in a suite to a Days Inn.  There are certainly different levels of accommodations as you move through the various levels in health care ICU to Medical to Rehab.

The Rehab Docs show up again and I meet my "Resident" Doctor - Doc "M"and the Head of the Unit- Doc "C"  Both, young and very nice.  The Resident - Doc M is making his rounds through the various units so he is doing his stint in Rehab now.  He gets to do the Pin test again and he pokes me all over from the waist down.  Ugh, do we really have to do this, but I guess so.  The day is filled with tons of people coming in and out of my room explaining the process.  There is a schedule posted on a white board that tells me what I need to be doing and when.  I literally have a team assigned - Physical Therapists, Occupational Therapists, Therapeutic Recreation, Psychiatrist, Social Worker, and Nurses to make sure I get the full meal deal.

I am still having tons of pain mostly in my feet.- it is nerve pain which is incredibly painful and the pain meds barely take the edge off.  I was fitted with a brace while on medical floor that I have to wear it  any time I am out of bed - sitting, standing or walking where I am at 90 degrees.  So, I pretty much have to wear it all the time other than when I am sleeping.  It is called a Jewett Brace and it will keep my spine and torso supported and keep me from flexing forward and twisting - all not good for my healing back.  I cannot bend forward at the waist so I cannot pick anything up, I can't put on my own socks or shoes.  I really feel trapped without the brace. The worse part is at night when they take the brace off and I have to use the rest room.  I am like a turtle stuck on my back and at the mercy of the nursing staff.  The first few nights they didn't put it on to get me up and instead out came the bed pans.  I hated those things and was determined to get cleared so I could get up on my own.  Goals are an incredible thing to motivate you - Lesson Number 4 always have Goals- Write Them Down, Look at Them Often and Commit to making them Happen. 

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