Surgery Thursday

Freaking OW!

Send all the love and care you can.


Something In the Air …

Seemed like there was no shortage of cranky elders as well as staff. It got on my nerve enough to want to hole up in these four walls. Not completely though, as I had my room window opened to let some of the fresh summer air in.

Light PT with Saeed on the right leg tonight. I also took the initiative earlier (aka I got tired of waiting), and wheeled myself back to my room from lunch, using only my right leg and occasionally steering with my good arm. I stopped a few times to rest but I did it. 🙂

Finally got to use the pot instead of the bedpan. I was highly motivated because its hard enough to do #1 on a bedpan and clean up after that! Ugh! Progress, indeed .. not once but twice! The assistants need to be taught those techniques to help people from the wheelchair to the pot. I repeat that the people who do this sort of care/work should be paid well. They compare employee turnaround to revolving doors as many people leave after collecting their paycheck. I don’t wonder why. It can be dangerous as well as back straining work. Even Belle from PT said her back was strained after a patient failed to follow through on “3” (1, 2, 3 go!), and another aide had to see a dr after being attacked by a combative patient.

So a lot of “stuff” in the air overall, it seems.

Maybe it’s the gooey crap dripping off the current political climate; maybe it’s the moon, the upcoming mercury retrograde, the eclipse or even the meteor shower! Whatever it is, this day is nearly over, and we’ve survived and even thrived amidst the hell storms.

Probably a good thing surgery isn’t until tomorrow. I landed wrong transferring from the wheelchair to the bed and hurt my neck and shoulders. No need to push anything!

Surgery seems like an easy in and out, or at least outpatient. I’ll be returning to W.L. after all, going to a “better suite”. Guess I just adapted to the slow flow and timing and I wasn’t getting an answer from TNWL. It just seemed less problematic to remain.
It would crack me up though if I woke up post op on my way to TNWL after all! 😂

Oh …. And I know I’m not alone, even when I was sulking earlier. I thank Spirit for the vivid signs from across the Bridge. It was startling and wonderful. #alwaysandforever


Tuesday Wrap-up

Finally made it out into the geriatric population at lunch time. Been a while since I was the youngster in the room. I sat with two gentlemen that were very quiet despite my attempts at small-talk. It’s ok. I’ll join the rest of “the kids” and text at the dinner table or read an e-book.

It was great to get out the confinement of my room. Outside of my four walls the decor is actually nice, though it’s a bit old school. I think it probably appeals to the general population of WL. I’ll call it “mainstream hotel”, all the way to the particle board footboard that is hanging lopsided on my bed.

Before lunch I had physical therapy for my good arm. The PT Belle is vibrant and very strong for a woman her size. She might weigh 100 pounds, rain-soaked. She got me through a rough start to my morning and actually is behind the get out the room endeavor. Very likable and obviously good at what she does.

After PT and a quick tour of the (relatively) younger rehabilitation wing where I was shown my new larger and brighter room, should I change my mind and remain with WL, I went back to my room. Belle went to grab bags for me to pack my things, seemingly assured that I was going to stay here. I thanked her and let her know I was undecided, which by this time of the day, I actually was at the point of reconsidering.

On the way to see my orthopedic surgeon I called TNWL to ask them specifics about physical therapy and how active they are with the complementary therapies. That really has become the deciding factor for me because here at W.Lake or TNWL, the key is going to be overall care including marks for personnel, and particularly favorable the methods to achieve the PT goals. I find value in the PT I have received so far, and I’m sore enough to know my muscles are waking up! But alas, I’m going forward with the transfer and feel good about that decision.

After setting up the ankle surgery for Thursday (shoulder surgery is now postponed until mid-October), the transfer to TNWL will take place after I am discharged from the hospital.

As I close out my Tuesday, I smile to myself as I recall the early afternoon sun on my skin and the refreshing summer breeze blowing through my hair.

Oh how I love Summer; and I think there’s a pretty good chance that Summer 2018 is going to be not only better, but more than likely, pretty dang awesome.

Monday Morning at the Rehab Facility

I certainly know my medical history well enough. Asked the same questions by everyone, I feel like I should just document it and pass hand-outs around.

I asked to have a basin brought in so I could at least sponge bath. I had the hub bring in waterless shampoo but honestly, is it really cleaning anything without rinsing? I'm just grossed out. I am scheduled to have a "real" shower some time today. Wow that is going to be a treat! It's an adjustment being in a facility like this. I don't have anything to compare to, but I still feel they could do better about many things.

It gets me thinking about the quality of care for rehab patients, seniors and other vulnerable populations. The rescuer in me wonders if there is advocacy, case management, and accountability for all personnel in this field, and if it is present how effective is it? That train of thought can lead to all sorts of places and stops along the way. I think too, that because healthcare is a business, that many places try to keep costs down in as many areas as possible. That is common sense, but quality patient care should not suffer.

The facility I am transferring to (hopefully it's covered or that's a bust) looks good on paper and my husband also went to tour the facility as well. Based on his tour, and what I read on their website and brochure, I still feel that it's going to be a good move for me and that things are just going to go better overall. My gut feeling and certainly my hope is that quality, patient-centered care is the focus and that they meet or exceed what they market about their facility. The ball is rolling and in the hands of the current facility's social worker.

PS. I'm told I am a pretty decent "cook" … it's not unreasonable that the foods are going to lean towards bland in comparison. I'm really grateful for salt & pepper is all I can say about that. 🙂


Sunday Morning Report at Westlake

Things take time to get done around here. The first day I was very disappointed in the response time after putting in a call for pain meds or "other" needs. Turns out this is typical in a facility like this where they employ one nurse and one aid overnight and during the day I think they add a floater who goes between the wings or units.

Physical therapy won't start until Monday. They work 5 days a week. I can't leave this bed until a physical therapist says so.

Although I have learned to adjust the timing of my requests, i.e. don't wait until anything is urgent, it can still be frustrating.

I note the bedside manners of some of the aides varies and I try to keep in mind the work these folks do can be downright nasty and always in demand. These people who do the dirty work should be paid well and recognized for it. The fact that response takes time is not the fault of these workers, but the organization itself for not having enough staff. So I treat the aides with respect and gratitude, because they deserve it, usually. There are cases where an aide is just an asshole and I hope to the Creator the one I got when I was in the hospital is on vacation when I have to go back for surgery.

Tomorrow I am planning to meet with the social worker here to discuss and possibly arrange moving to a different facility. I wish I had researched the rehab facilities on the list that was given to me at the hospital, but I was so eager to get started with physical therapy in a rehab facility that I met with the available rep and just went with his organization. How could I know that there are differences in care and approaches?

Luckily the facility I am considering moving to is within a few miles from here, and so my hub is going to go over to visit it and see what it's like. A few things I liked about The Neighborhoods were the holistic approach of care (body, mind, emotions, spirit), available services, and proximity to the physicians office and hospital itself. I will learn more later today, hopefully positive!

Fingers crossed for the best outcome in care and met needs,


A Dream

First night here at the rehab facility. Well, the first night is not quite over, but I am awake now. I have lingering thoughts and feelings of peace as my last remembered dream was that a visitor came to me and without too many words, we picked up as if there was never a rift between us. It was such a peaceful feeling and I really felt how much missed her. If I could hug her, I would do so with heartfelt love and gratitude for our friendship and the journey that that friendship started. I miss and love you my friend, my sister.


The Ankle Story

Well, the story was yesterday. Heres the ankle: swollen, splinted, but not too sore, as long as they leave it alone!

PS Bedpans suck… or rather, having to use one sucks. And don't try tell me to look at another way. I am sure you can think of "alternatives". You know who you are. 😉

Oh boy! Or … yikes what next?

Spent last night in the hospital. Got home from grocery shopping and when I was trying to step up to the house from the garage, I lost my balance and fell backward to the garage. Well, I knew my foot was going to miss the mark when I was falling but I didn't get it out of the way quick enough and ended up breaking a bone on the outside and fracturing the inside.

I have a broken shoulder on the same side that I actually had scheduled for a shoulder replacement in 10 days. Now that is going to be rescheduled to who knows when.

In the mean time, I am going to a rehab facility where I will remain until I can gain enough strength in the good leg and arm, and the foot swelling goes down so they can operate. I'm back on Norco but they haven't needed to give me morphine since last night.

My husband was out of town getting his father to a rehab, to help him further as he recovers from pneumonia. So much going on I was actually worried for my hubster who has had a plateful of various events over the past few weeks.

Well, onward march. Only thing to do is keep moving.


Update: 4-Weeks Post-Op

This past Friday was 4 weeks post-op. That morning I took my last “regular” dose of Norco. I was still feeling pain and noted most were headaches during the week prior to stopping. When I went to see the neurosurgeon for my first post-op check-in and to get staples removed, he suggested that headaches could be partly due to the Norco and I should start trying to take an over-the-counter pain reliever called Aleve to avoid the long-term Norco usage problem of addiction.

I decided to start taking the OTC in between doses of  Norco because I wasn’t sure how well I would tolerate the pain. I did experience headaches and pain, and truly felt that I was going to need to go back to Norco after my 8 hours on Aleve was up. But closer to the 8-hour mark that Friday, I felt like I could get by.

Over the weekend, I used Aleve exclusively. By Sunday, I decided to take a drive and aside from being tired, it felt good to get out of the house.

I still have balance issues, but the dizziness isn’t so much a problem when I stand. Maybe it was that Norco, maybe it was my body adjusting to the flow of spinal fluid. Whatever the case, I seem to be doing better in that area.

I will need an MRI in 3 months to see how that syrinx is doing. I think it’s going to improve. 🙂

This is my first full day home alone. I thought I would be nervous but instead, I look forward to a few home chores that need tending and getting back to it, as they say.

I’m going to shower without the chair I think. I’ll know how that’s going to go soon enough, after a dose of Aleve.


In the Company of Women

Before the Chiari Decompression surgery, I found myself getting rid of a lot of things, from books to clothes, and odds and ends in drawers, closets, and shelves. I went through most of my photos and distributed them to family members.

As I was going through everything, it was in the back of my mind that I was not only decluttering, but I was also thinking that I was making less work for my family should I not survive the surgery.

As I got rid of stuff, I began to feel lighter, and I liked that. I guess I was also making room in my life for something, though it was and still is undefined.

I am still downsizing as I go through my home doing daily things. Sometimes it is mental, and sometimes it is streamlining an area like kitchen drawers. The thing is, when is it enough downsizing? And there is still a sense of waiting for the arrival of whatever I as making room for.

I’m quite bored waiting here expectantly, especially when I see all the summer activities going on. My mind is often cloudy from the pain meds so learning something new by reading or watching videos on youTube seems tedious. Maybe it’s because it’s not the right fit yet.

One thing feels certain, and that is that I am tired of staring at the blank canvas that is my life. Perhaps I just need to pick up the brush and get that first color brushed, and see what comes of it. So what color will it be? Will it be a literal color on my canvas, in hopes that I find my inspiration and direction to begin stepping towards?

Oh, my head hurts just thinking about it… or maybe it’s my helper’s 5-year-old son screaming at his mother while she vacuums.

The day went quickly and was overall pleasant. We had a good discussion on communities and intentional communities, and talked about personal dreams of land, gathering spaces, and food forests.

It’s exciting to talk about places and events that bring people together in a positive way. I am drawn to people who share visions of community-oriented solutions and of a better world. It stirs my soul and I’m glad to feel that after feeling like a wanderer lately.

Let’s see what’s happening out there in the communities of women.