A much better morning this morning, no problems at all so it was a simple case of half dress then in to chair and wash. With this done it was finish dressing and off for some cereal for breakfast. The nurse gave my meds although the likely hood is that I will be self medding as soon as it is signed off by my consultant. Tasha, one of the nurses from my ward, has said that she sees no reason for me not to self med and is looking to square it away. She is not in today as she is doing a college course and so worked extra yesterday to help to compensate, but should be back tomorrow as far as I can remember so I will ask her how things stand tomorrow when she is in.
So today then; another busy day to be honest. First there was the fastball for me to go first thing this morning to x ray for them to get pictures of my spine. This was done really quickly too, I think that as I am an inpatient they are able to get me in before business really starts so there is no waiting or fuss. I immediately returned to the ward having completed the x rays as a nurse was going to watch and help if needed, me transferring from my chair on to a toilet. This may not seem like much of an important thing to many of you, but it is one step even closer to feeling more `normal`, and also will eliminate the need for me to take the shower chair every time I stay away from home. Getting on to the loo was easy, the way the toilets have been set up though does cause problems. I was actually quite shocked at how it has been set out. I would imagine that the spinal unit would have had people in to ensure that it was designed correctly but it has actually been a classic fail from what I can see. I am going to try to explain why I feel this way.
If you are unable to transfer to the toilet you would be on a shower chair which you would position over the lavatory. This is how I have had to do it. What I do is to put the chair in place which is an effort as the arm rest gets stuck against the sink. Once in position and brakes applied I transfer to the shower chair. Here is problem number two, my knee is unable to fit under the sink and therefore pushes my legs together. The toilet roll holder is almost behind you and needs to be further forward. There is no requirement for the sink to be there, a dispenser of wet wipes would suffice as there is a sink on the opposite wall. There is a drop down rail which will drop down to your left, this is tits on a fish as your other wheelchair is in the way for you to drop it, not that it would gain you anything anyway. Next to be able to transfer back to your chair you need to have something to push yourself up on. Unfortunately the only thing available is the bloody sink which I would guess would not be strong enough for a fat boy like me to weight bear on to. The drop down bar would be better suited to drop down across the front of you which would give you a perfect place to bear weight on to and be of massive use to help to transfer back to your normal chair. From here then you could simply go to the other sink which is already there to wash your hands. I have to say I am shocked that it has been set out this way, but it is just an observation and some constructive criticism.
With me successfully completing the transfers it was agreed that as I would not be going home for the weekend, I would do more of this as it would be a little quieter with less people in need of help. So far a really good start to the day. After talking to the nurse about various things it was time to grab some lunch, time had certainly got away from me with one thing and another and so I quickly headed to the cafe to get my food and wolf it down so as not to be late for my physio appointment with Jo. I was quite impressed with myself as I rocked up with around 3 minutes to spare, and so went in to the gym area to meet up with Jo and find out what we would be doing today. The first job or task of the day was for me to show how I transferred in to a car. They have a Corsa here for you to practice on. I have obviously only taught myself and so I wondered what Jo would make of how I did it. She told me that if I had genuinely figured out for myself how to do the things I could do, which she did not doubt, then I had done extremely well. The next thing I had to do was strip the wheelchair and stow it in the car ready for my journey. Here is where she took over and I listened to how she was telling me to do it. This was something that my Wife and I had been talking about just prior to my leaving for the Spinal Unit. I was going to try different ways of getting the chair in to the car at home on the driveway but unfortunately we had not managed to do it. I followed Jo’s instruction and had the chair in the seat next to me after a short while. The next step was to reassemble the chair for me to get back in to. We tried a couple of ways, one which worked reasonably well and then one that I tried to do thinking it would give me more balance while doing it. It did indeed give me more balance but prevented me from lifting the chair, an epic fail! Finally with me in the chair again we headed inside, Jo simply told me that I could practice as many times as I was able in my own time and that we would also revisit the task in one of my sessions.
With us back inside the gym it was time for me to try a split level transfer. This is where you go from one level to a higher level, something I am able to do….my way, this I had to show. I have to do it in two stages with the way I have taught myself but this can put your skin in danger of being marked and potentially putting you on bed rest for a period of time or risk serious problems. Now would be where I would start to have problems. I would now have to forget what I have been doing for two years and learn a whole different way to prevent me from injuring myself. Jo showed me where I had to place my hands and the technique to allow me to lift which I copied and tried. It became apparent to me that this was going to be really difficult for me to do. I kept trying to resort back to the way I could lift and move which was not the best way for me to do it. Essentially I am trying to use the same muscles but in a very different way. I place my hands and push down which creates the lift. Now I have to put my head down and tuck my chin in, straighten my arms and then push my shoulders down and away from my ears to create the lift. Sound easy? Try it, it is like someone telling you now that you are walking wrong and having to change it, trust me it is difficult.
Jo left me to practice while she had to talk to another physio team member but kept looking over to check on my progress. I was unable to fall as there was also a plinth in front of me, and another physio just in front of that but it was good to know she was paying an interest in my trying to achieve what had been set for me. When she came back I was sweating, it really was hard work, but at least by the sweat I knew that I had been doing it properly, had I been doing it wrong it would have been easier. The physio session ended and it was back to the ward as I had a meeting with my new consultant, we entered a room for a bit of privacy and he ran through some things. He is happy with the x ray, MRI scan and ultrasound. My kidneys are fine and although the metal in my back is a little bigger than he would have liked he has said that it is very stable and not causing any problems. I guess that different specialists have their own ways and views, he is obviously happy with the work done and I am certainly happy, after all, the surgeons who put the rods in way back in August 2011 when I was in a coma did a hell of a job. He has told me that we will stick to the plan we made when I first met him just before my admission date came through and that he would basically be leaving the staff to it and just monitoring how it is going. I have been told to ask to see him if I think I need to but that there is actually no need for him to be too involved as the plan had already been made.
With this meeting over and my questions answered, I was very happy with how things were going. Next was an appointment with a lady about other personal matters regarding married life and amongst many other things, “junior and the twins”. Sorry Laura, but I feel no need to go in to the conversation that was had but it was very informative and actually a bloody good job I did as there is something that should have been addressed before I left hospital in 2011, consequently I have had to go to another department to ask for an appointment with another member of staff. After this meeting I was introduced to the dietician. She is coming to see me on Friday to discuss ways of me losing this bloody circumference if possible but more to get my BMI down. I am officially, on paper, from the BMI chart, with no bells or bows….A FAT BAST**D. (Just so there is no confusion on that!)
Tea was nice, sweet and sour pork with veg. The portion sizes are a lot smaller than you would get normally but I guess that this is to prevent people from getting like me…FAT! I hope that with the small portions and my having three meals a day, mixed with the exercise and working to practice lifting etc I may be a little leaner than when I came in. Lara came to visit tonight, my sister Andrea called earlier on today but I was in physio and unable to answer her call and when I returned her call it went to answer phone. Instead of her coming in to see me as earlier she was only just round the corner but I was obviously unavailable, Lara called in on the way home from work in London. She arrived at around a quarter past six and with us chatting and drinking copious amounts of coffee, (gonna suffer for that later!), time ran away and it was almost ten o’ clock before we realised what the time was and she had to go.
Now I am finishing off the Blog entry for today and looking to get myself in to my bed. Steve in the bed next to me, (not right next to me obviously, but you know what I mean), is in his pit and will be getting his head down ready for tomorrow. I don’t want to disturb him, it isn’t like I can shut the door as there are only curtains between the beds and I have my bedside light on, so to that end I am going to finish up. So that was my day. As I said previously it has been another busy one and I hope that the rest will be the same. Jo asked me if it would be a problem if I were to stay longer than the three weeks if we had not accomplished everything to which I said that it would not be a huge problem. I would need to cancel Cyprus but she did say that actually that would be a good break and then come back to it. I am going to work my ass off while I am here so I may well not need to come back but I can not explain to you just how good it made me feel inside knowing that they don’t just want for me to be able to do things roughly and go, they actually want me to be able to do the things safely, properly, efficiently and confidently. This is how rehab should be…FULL ON.
I would just like to take the opportunity to congratulate my friends Laura and Andy on the birth of their first child. I have been a little pre occupied and although I have congratulated them by message I want to congratulate them on here too, so well done you two.
Well that is it for today. Assuming I am not going to be climbing the walls due to a coffee overdose I am going to hit the sack now ready for tomorrow’s activities.