Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Transferring closer to home

Once the back brace had been fitted, I was returned to the local hospital pretty swiftly.  In fact, I think it may have been the same day.  We were very happy with this as it meant less travel for the family as well as being a more familiar setting.  However, by the time I got there, the night shift was just coming on and they didn't quite know what to do with me or where to put me!  So getting settled was a bit of a nightmare: getting the right bed (I need an electric one), the right medicines, being put in the right place - but by the next day, everything was sorted and I was in my own room with my up-to-date, correct drug chart and a perfect bed.

The hospital staff were all brilliant.  They are so kind and caring and, despite being so busy, did as much as they possibly could for me.  They all learnt how to deal with the brace.  At night, I had (and have) to be laid completely flat and log rolled out of it by four people.  I then must sleep straight and flat on my back.  In the morning, I got (and get) log rolled back into the brace and that meant I could start to sit up.  It was really weird at first, having been flat on my back for over two weeks; the dizziness was the hardest to overcome initially.

Once I had got used to sitting up, it was time to start to think about mobilising.  Apparently, one's muscles start to forget to work after just eight hours - which is why legs may feel wobbly in the morning!  I had no idea.  So after a few weeks, my legs were completely gone and I needed the hospital's physiotherapists to help me walk again.  I don't remember how long this process took, from being stuck in bed to being able to sit out in chair.  Apparently it was a few weeks, but to me, it's a bit of a blur.  But with the patience, skill and kindness of the physios, I was finally able to get out of bed and shuffle to a chair!

Sitting out in the chair
From here, it was a matter of starting to properly walk again which took practice each day - but each day, I was walking further and further with the help of my lovely trolley walker.  My first big outing was to the hospital's reception, where we could sit, chat and people watch.  This was lovely after having been stuck in the one room for however long!  And the other thing I needed to practice was stairs - again, which took some time, but I did it.
My trolley walker.  I still haven't pimped my ride.
Once this was under control, we were finally able to start to think about getting me home.  I had a day trip home with the hospital's Occupational Therapist to check what we had, what was needed and how best furniture and equipment could be arranged to ensure I was mobile but safe.  The only hiccup was getting a care agency to come in at an appropriate time with the right number of people to log roll me; this delayed the discharge process for over a week, which was very frustrating but luckily I was allowed day trips home in the meantime.  However, a great agency was found and finally, I left hospital at the beginning of April 2013.  I had been in hospital for seven weeks.

Again, the support I received from friends and family was my lifeline. The visits I received made my days, as well as all the kind messages and contacts via the internet and phone. It all meant - and means - so much to me.

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