After spending 90 days in a hospital or nursing home room it was finally time to be free. I remember parts of the day because it was special. But I don’t know how I got home. An ambulance, someone’s van, or what? When I wheeled out of whatever I left in I saw many of my neighbors waiting to greet me home. I was astounded and when I looked at the crowd I cried. Not something I would normally do, because I was told men don’t cry. Even emotions were changed, I laugh loudly at anything I think funny. But I also cry when I hear songs like “Are there horses in Heaven” or hear a bad thing about soldiers, policemen or teachers; those are the ones I was told to run toward if I was ever in trouble. I still carry these changed emotions.
I moved back into my home and some people stayed to help. They had put a hospital bed into the eating area of the kitchen. I now had a caregiver during workdays for 12 hours a day and 1 coming at night for another 12-hour shift. Weekends were different, I think it was whomever the company could find. I was still pretty much a vegetable and couldn’t talk.
What would these caregivers do for me? I was told they would help me get through my daily routine, help me improve, and teach me things that would be beneficial to me. Nice words let’s see.
Then the state government stepped in and provided me with PT, OT and Speech therapy. Nice thought was helpful but no where near today’s capabilities. The people shared negative thoughts. Some said I’d never get better.
The time was getting closer to a meeting with the Doctor that headed the therapy department. I still couldn’t talk. Could make sounds, do mouth exercises, shake my head, yes or no, but that was about it.
To communicate with my wife, she made a cardboard slate with all the letters arranged a-z. I could point to them to spell words, but it was painfully slow. Before the meeting with the Doctor, I spelled out the following. Finally, please ask can I be part of your outpatient therapy?
At the appropriate date and time, we went to her office, with the help of some county agency that supplied a handicapped and driver to take you there and return you. This could be time consuming, because they had other customers to take care of after they dropped you off and came back to pick you up. But like most people we don’t complain about free services.
I only remember parts of the meeting that happened about 19 years ago. Just the ones that stuck. You had a live changing event. Some things you’ll never do again. Like eat, drive, probably not walk but you will learn to speak again.
At the meeting’s end Barb dropped the bomb on her about the outpatient therapy. She looked dumbfounded and she should, who in their right mind would ask that kind of question. She answered I don’t make that decision my therapy supervisor does the evaluation and handles that. Barb retorted will you make an appointment for us and let us know. We can make it anytime; our social calendar is rather empty.
Now I have 3 new goals. I’m going to learn to eat, drive and walk. Speaking is a gimmie.
We got a call shortly after the meeting. An evaluation next week. I went with my daytime caregiver. The evaluation was great. The supervisor was friendly and explained what she would. Then asked can I stand. I said yes, but only with help. She had me grab the back of her arms and she held me some way and with all my strength and a fart we stood me.
After sitting me back in the chair, she ask me what % was me and how much you. I pointed to me and held up 7 fingers followed by 5 fingers. She agreed but she thought it was 75 her 25 me.
The main thing was she accepted me. Improvement will keep you in level out and we take a break. What is your goal. I made a motion of my fingers walking. She said have somebody write something more specific and bring it back next time.
She then introduced me to Brad, my new PT therapist and we together made up the next 2 weeks schedule.
Next week I introduce you to Doctor Basalama the first bright spot in my new life.