This morning, March 1, four months after my injury. I will be returning to work.
I think would be a good time to put *How I Spent My “Fall” Vacation* finally to rest and tell you about my return home and the progress I have made in my recovery.
Going back to Episode 73, you all know I checked out of the hospital and arrived home at my townhouse on the afternoon of January 11.
Aided by my wonderful neighbours, Pam and Dennis, we were able to set up my bathroom with aids that I would be required for my day to day living. When I say “aided” I really mean they did all the work while I hobbled around the house.
After they left, it was time for me to take a shower in my own home, in my own bathroom. This was the only time I used the bath seat I had purchased as an actual chair. I discovered the hardest part was getting back up from the seat. After that I found it was easier just to stand in the shower and used the back of the chair as a bit of a support. I made a point of using all the hot water in the tank in that first shower. It was the first time in over three months that I felt almost clean. It would take a couple of more days for my hair to get that soft and squeaky clean feeling back.
After the shower, it was time for dinner. I had now escaped the disgusting hospital menu and the tyranny of hospital dietician. What did I do? I ordered a pizza, of course! It was extraordinarily delicious that day. I vowed that for today nothing existed and my recovery would begin tomorrow.
You may remember that two of my immediate goals upon release were get the mop on the top of my head under control and to get the claws growing at the end of my feet back to normal. I made an appointment for Tuesday for the hair and my dear friend, Allana, hauled me off to her aesthetician for a mani/pedi the following Sunday. I finally felt human again with my short cropped locks and pink, sparkly nails. BTW - Tanya, thanks for the offer! :-)
My recovery and rebuilding could be split up into three separate components; physical, mental and emotional.
The physical component is the easiest to deal with. The biggest hurdle I had is that there are thirteen steps leading from the main floor of the townhouse to my bedroom and bathroom and the same number from the main floor to the basement and laundry room. To start with, I always required my cane and the hand rail; taking one stair at a time moving my left foot up then bringing my right up to the same stair and using the opposite going down. I’m still using this slow method most of the time although I rarely use the cane. Also, carrying anything was extremely difficult. I could only take a small weight each trip; carrying it in a small shopping bag. This has gotten a lot easier now because I have at least one free hand especially going upstairs.
One ordeal I still have is getting my laundry baskets up and down the stairs. Luckily, I have more than most other straight guys have even though there are an inordinate number of pink and purple golf shirts. At least this means I don’t have to do laundry that frequently.
The other most difficult thing I have had to conquer is getting up from a seated position. I overcame this originally by stealing the cushion from one armchair and doubling it up on the other as well I had three throw cushions stacked up on my dining room chairs. Getting up from the bed was a little easier because the mattress already sits high but I originally required the cane as a brace.
Speaking of braces, I threw the left leg brace in the closet the day I got home and have not worn the right brace at all for at least two weeks.
I still use my cane when I am walking any distances outside and it comes in handy as a sympathy tool.
I am still going back to the hospital as an outpatient for physiotherapy twice a week where, Leslie, my physio beats me up pretty good each day and each day I can do more. My left knee is almost at fighting strength while my right still has quite a way to go. The highlight last week was when Leslie got me on the mini-trampoline and had me jogging on the spot. This brought me joy because it gives me hope that I will be able to run again. This is important to me because running the trails below my house clears my head and I get best writing ideas cruising along side the creek. This is good news (or maybe it’s bad news) for you my loyal readers because I will find more things to blog about.
On top of my lower body rehab, I’m going to have a few other health issues to deal with now that I’m out. I lost a lot of weight while inside and I will have to continue my struggle to keep it off and burn a few more pounds off as well. I will now have to also work on keeping my blood sugar under control with the aid of exercise, diet and medication. The third issue is a little more complex. It was discovered while in the hospital is that I have a vitamin B12 deficiency and could lead to anemia. I’m treating this right now with supplements and may eventually be forced to eat more beef. This does not get me that excited because beef and I don’t get along that well. I’d rather have a slab of salmon than a juicy steak.
The mental component struck me shortly after getting out of the shower when I saw the huge pile of mail sitting on the dining room table and realizing the place had needed a thorough cleaning even before I went into the hospital. There were also all kinds of regular maintenance that needed to be done around the house. I spent a lot of time tossing and turning in bed that first night thinking about all the things that needed to be done.
Waking up the next morning, I realized that I would just have to take everything in baby steps doing just a little bit at a time. This was the same approach I was taking physically. Once I realized that my anxiety levels dropped quickly. I worked at dealing with all the paperwork a few minutes per hour and then resting rather than tackling it all at once. I took this approach with cleaning up the place as well. There is still a lot of work to do around but I’ve now taken the attitude of looking after myself first and worry about the house later.
One big mental block that has come up and still occurs is the idea of standing up. As I said before this is one of the most difficult physical things I have to do. There is also a mental component because every time I get ready to stand up I know there is going to be some pain so sometimes I have position myself and then I will think about what I’m going to do for several seconds and occasionally it will run in to minutes. I’m still having some of these difficulties.
The emotional component has become a little more complicated. Several of you know that awhile back, someone special had walked into my life or rather limped into my life. (Actually you could even say she rolled in if you include the gurney she arrived on into room 621) This would have been the purveyor of the “...er...um...sparkling apple juice” on New Year’s Eve that I told you about in episode 62. She was there to understand and share all those simple small victories and feel the pain from the setbacks as well. She made the tough seven weeks that I had been home so much easier to deal with and she had made me happier than I had been in many years. The storybook ending would have been her becoming Version 3.0 and we ride off into the sunset. Sadly, the “happily ever after” isn’t there at least for now. She felt that she had some emotional healing to do on her own and that I wouldn’t be able to help her along the way. I cannot bear her any ill will because she is a beautiful woman inside and out and she made me extremely happy for that tiny sliver of my life. I can only hope she can resolve her issues and she finds peace. Perhaps she’ll realize her happiness was right in front of her all along and that would be n***. Regardless, I know she knows at least she will always have a loving friend in me. Thank you, C, for a few weeks of happiness; you will always own a piece of my heart.
Thank you and enjoy the rest of the day here in the Magic Kingdom...Oh crap, wrong theme park! ;-)