Rehab: Relapse – Back to Square One

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Back
to rehab… Back to square one… Those infections triggered a
relapse and everything I had worked for in rehab was undone just like
that. Once again I rested for a couple of days and got right back
into my program, maybe a tad slower at first since I had just
relapsed.
Now
I was working on breathing exercises with an inspirometer which
basically measures how much air you can inspire, or, breath in, and
how smoothly you could do so. I did not like this thing very much but
I didn’t dislike it as much as I disliked not being able to breath…
I was also seeing someone about stress management. She hooked me up
to a computer via a heart monitor on my finger that also measured
perspiration or something like that. The program worked like this: I
had to control the computer by managing my stress level, by keeping
my heart rate down. The computer measured my heart rate and skin
perspiration. If I did well I could make things on the screen change
like making a staircase slowly appear into the heavens.
I
don’t recall exactly when this happened on my rehab timeline
but one night I was in horrible pain. It was my upper abdominal area,
It hurt so bad! At the time I thought it was a gastrointestinal issue
but now I think it was probably just the MS hug. Anyways, I woke up
in so much pain one night, it must have been around one in the
morning, I was gripping the side rails of my bed nearly in tears. I
kept pushing the nurse call button but no one was coming. My stomach
was so night, I finally threw up, since I couldn’t move much I had a
hard time turning over an not drowning in it… Nice. I almost
stopped breathing and now I almost drowned in my own vomit… Life
was good. They gave me some Norco and that barely took the edge off.
Of course they could only give me two 5/325’s so that pretty much did
nothing. It eventually went away on it’s own…
After
a while my breathing improved but it was still hard to laugh as I
learned when my friend came to visit me. I have lost many things but
never have I lost my sarcastic sense of humor so we still had some
laughs. I had one other friend visit me and I also had some family
come down a couple of times. I got cards in the mail even from a
friend from my MS support group who lives all the way in Ireland (not
my other friend from Ireland)! I got cards and flowers, all of which
I still have, the flowers I dried and put in a small glass container
which now sits on my entertainment stand.
After
a while I caught back up to where I had left off. I was doing better
with swallowing, I could stand, and even “walk” around a little
with the walker (supervised of course). Also, getting around my room
was much easier since I could transfer on my own again from my
wheelchair to my bed, the bathroom, and the couch. I had been there
for so long that I had junk building up on my desk, I had made myself
cozy, I even had my laptop and camera with me. Everything I needed
and wanted from home except my actual home. At least I could safely
use the shower now.
I
almost forgot. Yes, I had my camera, I took lots of pictures, all of
which I was saving to post on these very articles which I was
planning on writing all year. When I went on my recent trip to LA to
meet my friend from Ireland, I got my laptop wet, the laptop that had
all my rehab pictures on it. That hard drive broke and now everything
that is not on Facebook is gone which is why I don’t really have any
pictures… UGH…
So
I spent most my free time on my balcony eating my meals, snacks,
listening to music, watching the sun set, watching the daily lives of
people walking around the hospital grounds, and then of course going
back inside and watching Storage Wars on TV. I would do that till I
had another session with one of my therapist. Therapy felt like real
therapy now, I was using those thera-bands in much more challenging
ways, the medicine ball, 1 pound weights (they were heavy at the
time), I was working on walking, using some wooden stairs to practice
stepping, doing exercises to improve my gate, my standing up
strength, arm strength, lots and lots of assisted stretching, I tried
writing my name a bit, brushing my teeth, getting dressed, doing
visual exercises, and anything else you can think of that involves
using any physical aspect of my body.
I
also went to a speech group everyday where I got to meet and interact
with other patients and work on memory games. Most of the patients
there were stroke patients but there were a few of us that had
something a bit different like cancer or MS. Funny, I have horrible
memory but if it is something that I sit and try to dedicate to
memory I don’t forget. There was a game we played. We all sat around
a table. The first person started with the first letter of the
alphabet, the next person got the next letter, and we went all the
way around the table: A, B, C, D, etc… When it was our turn we had
to name a place in the world that started with our letter and then
the next person had to recite the previous person’s location and add
theirs to the list. I can still remember the order and locations.
Argentina, Boston, California, Denver,
England, Flagstaff, Germany, Honduras,
Ireland, Julian, Kansas, etc etc.
In
therapy I remember a few people like Ralph, a stroke patient who lost
so much. He had such a hard time talking. Another stroke patient
who’s name I can not remember, he had a shirt that said “I’m the
Boss”. He cooked and even had his own cook book. The lady with
cancer (I think) had a halo, there was a girl who just had a baby in
the hospital down the street but I can’t remember why she was there,
also an older lady with hardly any memory, and a man who didn’t seem
to have any mental issues just physical, he was in a wheelchair, but
his own, so what ever he had he had lived with for a while, I think
he worked with computers. Quick note, I learned very quickly that I
did not like music group and that I would not be going back to that
because there was too much noise, too much stimulation!
I
was finally doing pretty good, I could stand, take some steps with a
walker, get around on my own with the wheelchair, use my hands and
arms, dress myself, kind of tie my shoes (after much struggle), my
speech was much better (as it was slurred most the time), I could
breath pretty well, I could swallow OK, and despite the fact that
they wanted to keep me for another month, I was ready to just go
home. I felt I had got what I needed out of rehab, from there on out,
everything would have just been reinforcement, I could do that at
home, I wanted to leave, I wanted to sleep in my own bed, I wanted to
take a long shower, I wanted to rest without someone coming into my
room every hour at the least, and I wanted a decent meal. It was
going to be hard but seeing that I may have to live the rest of my
life like with such a disability it was time to start adapting.

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