Every day for months started with the cute active PT girl. It always started with the same question. What is my name. I never remember. But that wasn’t the only problem, because I knew my name, but couldn’t say it. I could only say one word and still don’t know why, it was football. So, every day for about 2 weeks the day started off the same way. She asked me her name, I said nothing, she put me in the wheelchair and wheeled me to the gym, or more specifically the damn standing machine.
I had improved, I was now able to bear it for 15 minutes. I had to do a Sudoku or a crossword to keep my mind busy or I would be controlled by the hurt. The stretching part was easy, but there was a problem. The stretches didn’t do me much good. Every day when they started stretching me, I was no more limber than I was yesterday or on the first day in the gym. Did they quit trying? No, I think they got more pleasure, seeing me try to act casual for my few minutes on the standing machine.
Finally magic happened, when she asks me her name, I know no reason why, but I blurted out “asshole”. Had now doubled my vocabulary. I didn’t feel right about what I said, but she didn’t seem offended. She joyfully transferred me into the wheelchair and off to the gym. Upon arriving she announced to everyone that she had confirmation that she was doing her job as expected. First thing this morning, Bill called me an asshole. Everyone clapped, except me because I was about to be put on the standing machine.
After a few more weeks I could stand on the standing machine for 30 minutes. A time to celebrate by moving on to more complicated things. The parallel bars and trying to take steps. I wasn’t a star here either.
Back in the room. My sister, from Columbus and her husband had returned. Their main task was to help my wife find me a nursing home. We were getting strong signals that both the social worker and the insurance company wanted me out of there. I was a lucky one, I was retired, and still insured by the company I had worked at. The bill was over $200,000 and that was 19 years ago. The nursing home was good because I was in no shape to go home. They found me a quality home a few miles north of the hospital.
I spent 81 days in the hospital and my wife visited me every day. What I should also tell, is that she doesn’t drive. A neighbor friend spent her time on the phone getting friends and neighbors from all over the community to volunteer for a day to drive her to the hospital and back. The list also had volunteers for at least the next 14 days. Often many of the friends and neighbors took her to dinner or some place interesting. Would this continue as I moved to the nursing home, 12 more miles away?
I was taken there by ambulance on July 6, 2002. You might ask yourself, “how did he remember that, or did he make it up.” Well, most people, including me, would say he made that up. But no, it was a very special day, my 65th birthday.
This had special advantages, back then, but probably not now. Once you were 65, Medicare paid a big share of your expenses, for 45 days. And again, each calendar year, if a doctor puts an order in for you.
Did my wife visit me every day in the nursing home? Hell no, this gets very boring and tiring especially when it lasts for about 3 months. She visited all the first days but started slacking off near the end. I’d make an educated guess that she was there only 98% of the time.
The nursing home that was picked for me was probably the best in the area. They had a fine dining experience where your visitors could join you for breakfast, lunch or dinner. I ate there until someone found out I was only to take nourishment by peg tube. About 1 night a month they had a small beer party. I was allowed to join. I guess that wasn’t nourishment. But I got caught the next month.
Also, they had some good policies. They advertised they would turn you every 2 hours. That was true, I just didn’t understand it right. When I rang once at night and asked to turn me from my left side, they replied “can’t do that you’ve only been there 1 and a half hours’’.
After being there a few days, I recommend you never go there, or send anyone to any nursing home unless you absolutely must.
Once my 45 days were over my wife got me out of there even though I wasn’t ready.