Two years ago, yesterday, according to the On This Day Facebook app, Keith shared the above photo of me on my four-hour tour of our house during my second furlough, as they called it, from the nursing home, Country Villa Sheraton. Furlough, as if I were getting out of prison. Country Villa was far from the Sheraton, but I was receiving desperately needed physical therapy. One of my most difficult exercises was to stand. That was it. I would just barely struggle to stand up, over and over again. "That's ten," Denise, the occupational therapist, would say. I would rest a bit, then she would say, "Let's do another set." It was like musical chairs without the music...or the fun. The prize was that I would be able to get up from a chair without help. It was utterly exhausting for me--that's how weak I was. Only a month before I could barely lift my head from the pillow.
I have many more readers than the last time I wrote about this, but this previous post makes a good primer about what I went through as I struggled to walk: A Journey of a Thousand Miles. As it details, another physical therapist confided to me that the other therapists thought John Silva, the main physical therapist helping me to relearn how to walk, was rushing my walking.
|John Silva helping me on my first walk outside the nursing home.|
During that first furlough, I slipped and hit my head on the toilet because I wasn't used to a four-wheeled rollator. Don't worry, I wasn't hurt; I have a hard head. I'm lucky I didn't crack the toilet. John had instructed me to sign out a walker to be used during my furlough, but he was off for the weekend. A tightly wound physical therapist who disagreed with John's methods refused to allow me to sign out a walker (though this was a common practice). Without John there, I was at her mercy. So Keith went to a large local drugstore to buy one for me, but they only had four-wheeled rollators. The kind of walker I had been using had only two wheels, with rubber stopper ends on the front legs. I later learned that four wheels aren't recommended for people with little physical control. But Keith didn't know that either. If that therapist had allowed me to take a walker with me, I wouldn't have hit my head. As I said, I was okay, but that was a lawsuit waiting to happen.
|After I returned home, I tricked out the walker with a tote and a cupholder.|
The second home visit went smoother because Keith had ordered a two-wheeled walker from Amazon, which I continued to use until I was strong enough to handle the rollator. To the right is a photo taken on one of my first rehab walks using the walker Keith bought. And below is a photo taken on our first rehab walk at Vasquez Rocks, when I was finally strong enough for the four-wheeled rollator. The rollator opened up areas like Vasquez Rocks that would've been too difficult to manage using the walker, which created a lot of drag, even with the ski glides we put on it.
|I wasn't walking fast; it's really windy at Vasquez Rocks.|
|Handing out candy and toys to the trick-or-treaters with Joella the day after my return.|
Last year, I was strong enough to carve two pumpkins and I wore the jester costume.
|Last Halloween with Joella and her dog Sadie. Traditionally, I hand out the toys and Joella gives out the candy. Sadie handles the sniffing.|
This year, I will have fuller hair, but more importantly, I won't need to use a cane. I only use it now when I'm out to provide stability. Everyone needs a bit of stability in their lives. I would've benefited immensely from a few extra weeks in the nursing home, but it was certainly nice to be home.
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